Buying a house with a well as the water supply

Going through house purchase process now, so I am curious how this works. We are told that all water comes from the well located about 20m from house. Searched the forum and couldn’t find anything fairly recent that was relevant. I am sure we will be told more but I want to get a general understanding of how it might function so I know what to look out for or question.

It looks like a pipe runs from well to a sealed uninsulated cylindrical tank in the cellar. There is an electric pump on the cylinder. Nearby in the cellar is an insulated hot water cylinder.

So I am guessing that the pump is used to bring water into the uninsulated cylinder (Is this likely to be automatic or something that we have to remember to do?) in the first place. From there it will be distributed to the cold taps and the insulated cylinder for heating. I assume!

Is this common?

So what creates water pressure?

How often should water be analysed?

How much water will be in the well? (Sounds a bit like a philosphical exam question!)

Thanks for any advice.


To the best of my knowledge, the water should be analysed to ensure it is safe to drink… and the state of the well checked… before anyone buys the property… if this is, indeed, the only means of water supply.

Would suggest you hold off signing anything until the replies to these enquiries are known.

After that… I believe it’s up to the owner. (unless there is a known health hazard in the local water table.)
Friends are on well water and last had it tested about 6 years ago…

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I have a well at my house, but I don’t drink the water, just use it for all the general household facilities so have never had it anslysed.

When I purchased the house I had what I assume is a similar set up to yours i.e well water pumped to a pressure vessel which then fed the house. This is a common system, with the pressure vessel being pressurised by the well pump. Every time you open a tap, the water runs at a pressure created by the pressure vessel. When the pressure in the vessel drops below a set level, the pump kicks in to take the pressure back up then stops once the pressure’s achieved. I changed my system to remove the pressure vessel and include a storage tank as I was a)a little nervous about the water table in Summer, but this in fact has never been a problem and b)didn’t want the pump continually cycling on and off.

As for water in the well, when it was originally installed they will have validated the water availability, but water courses and tables can change over time for many many reasons. I would ask the owners what their experience has been. Do they live in the house permanently, how many people? If in doubt you could always consult a local company who drills wells for them to actually check the well condition.

Last point, if the well pump fails, they’re not cheap to replace, so I’d also ask how old it is. I’ve had two in almost 20 years - one failed due to storm surge, the other due to manufacturing fault, and both were Grundfos!

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This is an article from 2017 but probably still very much relevant today


It has just had its latest analysis, all good to drink.

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OH has peered over my shoulder… he asks if you have the water tested at the tap. Seems that’s how we used to have our water tested… taken from the well itself and a second sample taken from the kitchen tap…

that way you know that there’s no contamination in the system…


I had a similar system for 5 years It fed the whole house sink washing machine toilet bath shower except summer, the best time to get a ladder out and dig deeper never tested it and never had any illness One problem you may come across will be is the well a long way from the fosse drainage due to its contamination

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