Tips for finding your rural home's water supply

July 27, 2015

Your rural home needs a safe, dependable supply of clean water. Here's some of your options, and how to keep the water flowing.

Tips for finding your rural home's water supply

Keeping your water clean

  • Wells are the most common source of water in rural homes, but other sources include springs, streams, lakes and stored seasonal runoff water.
  • In the country, individual homeowners are responsible for making sure their water is safe.
  • In wells, the presence of nitrates due to agricultural chemical run-off is a growing concern. In addition, a parasite called Giardia lamblia often shows up in rural surface water sources.
  • To make sure your water supply — whatever the source — is safe, have it tested regularly. Learn from official sources about water safety concerns in your area, as well as the best testing facilities to use.

Try before you buy

  • Once you've identified problems with your water, you can install appropriate water treatment equipment.
  • Water is in short supply for many rural homeowners. Often, lending institutions require well or water system flow tests on rural wells before they will qualify a potential homeowner for financing.
  • Make sure your water supply is safe and adequate before you buy any property.

Locating the tank

If you don't know where your tank is, try poking around. Tanks are usually close to the surface, so jab a metal rod into the ground until you hit concrete or metal. In winter, watch for a spot in your yard where snow melts quickly. If the patch is rectangular, it's probably your water tank.

Drilling a new well

  • Local codes will stipulate how deep your well should be drilled.
  • Wells must be deep enough so that you will have water even during dry periods, and it must be far removed from any sources of groundwater pollution.
  • Look for a driller with a good reputation in your area.
  • You will pay by the vertical foot, so the cost may be surprisingly high or surprisingly low, depending on how quickly the driller runs into drinkable water.

Water pumps and pressure tanks

  • There are two kinds of water pumps. Submersible pumps sit in the water source. Jet pumps suck water up from the surface.
  • If a pump stops pumping, check for a blown fuse or circuit breaker and check wiring connections. If the problem isn't solved, call for service.
  • If the pump is switching on and off too often, the pressure tank may have lost air pressure. Shut off power to the pump at the electrical service panel. Drain the pump, then open a faucet in the house. Close the faucet and the drain valve, then restore power to the pump. Call for repair service if that doesn't solve the problem.
  • Check the tank for leaks periodically by inspecting its exterior. If a leak develops, it'll appear as an oozy rusty blemish.
  • Tank plugs are available, but plugging is only a temporary measure. Replace the tank as soon as possible.

Depending on where you are, different water supply systems may be better for your home. With the right knowhow, you can have safe, clean and dependable water when you need it.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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