Drilling a well is typically a big expense, with the national average cost of drilling a well coming out at around $9000. However, assuming your well provides you with potable water, then you will have free water for many decades.
You can generally expect a well to last for around 40 years, so the money you will save in paying for water means that drilling the well will easily pay for itself. The cost of drilling a well will be affected by several factors.
Here we look at the costs in more detail and what can make drilling a well more cost-effective or more expensive.
What Affects the Cost of Drilling a Well?
The ground conditions on your land are going to play a role in the resulting cost of drilling a well. Land which contains a high level of rocky ground is going to be more difficult and therefore more time-consuming to drill through, and therefore you can expect professionals to charge more for their service.
You should also pay attention to how the recent weather has affected the ground. Very cold temperatures could freeze the ground and make it more difficult to drill.
The depth of the well is going to be one of the biggest factors that affect the cost of drilling a well. The deeper you need the well to be drilled, the more money it will cost. Typically wells on residential properties will need to be between 100 feet and 300 feet in depth.
The minimum depth of a drilled well is usually around 50 feet, while wells that are any shallower than this can be dug wells. For commercial or agricultural wells, depths of around 400 feet may be necessary.
To find out how deep your well needs to be, ask a local contractor who has drilled other wells in your area, or ask your neighbors how deep their wells are.
Unfortunately, you can never know exactly how deep your well needs to be until you start drilling. The hole will need to be drilled until you reach the water table in order to access water and bring it up to your home. The depth of a well can vary greatly depending on your location. Some homes may have water tables relatively close to the surface of ground, while others may be hundreds of feet below ground.
You can expect to pay between $25 and $65 per foot of depth. This means for a 100 foot deep well, the price could be between $2500 and $6500. For a 300 foot deep well, the price would be between $7500 and $19,500.
The diameter of the well is also going to affect the cost you pay to have it drilled. For residential wells, a 4 inch or 6-inch diameter is fairly standard, but for shallow dug wells, you may be able to have a smaller diameter of 2 or 3 inches.
For a diameter of 4 inches, the price for digging a well will usually be between $25 and $40 inches per foot of depth. This means for a well that is 100 feet deep; your 4-inch diameter well will cost between $2500 and $4000. This is the cost for drilling alone, and will not include the extras you need, such as a pump, to complete the well and have it in full working order.
For a well with a diameter of 6 inches, the cost will typically be between $30 and $65 per foot of depth. In deeper wells, a diameter of 8 inches may be required. The cost for this diameter will be between $60 and $100 per foot of depth.
In order to have a complete and fully functioning well, there are more costs to take into account than just drilling the hole on your land. In most cases, the cost of drilling the well will be the most expensive part of the project, but the other associated costs of installing a well can soon mount up.
Before you can get started on drilling a well on your property, you will need to obtain a permit from your local authority. This typically costs between $300 and $700 and needs to be approved in advance of making other preparations.
Permits can vary in time between application to approval, so be sure to apply in plenty of time so your project doesn’t get held up. The cost of the permit will generally include several visits, which will be made throughout the process of drilling the well, to check that it is being done to the required regulations.
You will also need a pump, which is what moves the water from the well, up through the pipes and to your property. A water pump can cost anywhere from $300 to $2000, depending on the size, power, and quality of the pump.
Some wells will require a submersible pump, while others will not. If your well is more than 150 feet deep, then the pump will need to be more powerful and, therefore, will be more expensive.
The degree of decline from the well to the water storage tank can also affect the type of pump you need and, therefore, the cost.
Electrical wiring and a control box will also be essential, which typically costs between $500 and $1500.
The well casing pipe is another necessary expense, which will vary in cost depending on the size of the well. On average, well casing pipe for a drilled well will cost between $250 and $2500. The well casing will support the well walls, and it will also keep dirt and debris out of the water.
The type of casing you need will depend on the type of well you have and the condition of the ground. If your well has been drilled through hard rock, then casing pipe won’t be required; however, for softer ground, it is essential.
Well casing pipe comes in PVC, galvanized steel, stainless steel, or concrete options. The type you need will depend on your location and the level of support your well needs. For earthquake-prone regions, steel casing is required to ensure that it won’t fracture in the event that the earth shifts.
The average cost of a PVC well casing pipe is between $6 and $10 per foot, while galvanized steel pipe is more expensive at between $30 and $60 per foot. Stainless steel casing pipe will typically cost the most, at between $60 and $130 per foot.
An average well will usually require the casing pipe to extend to 25 feet beneath the earth, which means that the cost of this pipe could run from $150 for the cheapest PVC pipe to $3250 for the most expensive stainless steel pipe.
A water heater that warms up the water before it is diverted to a faucet or showerhead will cost between $800 and $2000.
A pressure storage tank that heats water and then stores it under pressure to maintain the heat would cost on average from $300 to $2500, though more expensive and less expensive options are available. A water storage tank that holds 2 gallons can cost as little as $100, while a storage tank for 44 gallons of water is around $700.
The size of your home and the number of people that the water needs to accommodate will affect the size of water tank you need and, therefore, the cost. For example, a small water tank will be inconvenient for a large family in a large house, as the hot water will run out before everyone has had a turn to shower.
Once your well is complete and functional, you will need to have the quality of the water tested. These tests can vary dramatically in cost, on average from $50 to $700.
If you want to save money, you can find DIY water purification tests online for as little as $20 or for a test that is typically more extensive, then use a local government or university lab. These tests will check for pollutants in the water, as well as chemicals, metals, and contaminants.
Results usually only take around 48 hours to come back and will let you know if your water is potable or not. Potable water is safe for human consumption and can be used for drinking and cooking, while non-potable water should not be consumed and instead should be reserved for bathing, flushing toilets, and irrigation.
If the water is found to be of a low quality, then you may wish to install a water purification system or water treatment. This typically runs from $500 to $3000.
Depending on how deep your well is and the diameter of the well, along with the other options you choose, such as the type of pump, having a well drilled and completed can cost anywhere from $2000 up to $30,000.