Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Well water is a concern for potential buyers for several reasons. They want to know that the water is safe to drink. They also want to know that the well is functional and can provide enough water. Typically, a well test is conducted by a buyer during the home inspection contingency period. The test will include checking the quality and quantity of the water. You can alleviate these concerns by getting the well tested before you put the home on the market.
The two most important things a home buyer is looking for in a well are strong and consistent water flow rate and clean, safe drinking water.
Well Water Flow Rate
If you ever notice that you lose water pressure or run out of water when using multiple water sources, you have a well issue. While you might have lived with this problem for years most buyers will not! A new home owner is going to want assurances they can take a shower and run a load of laundry without losing water.
As part of the home inspection, a home buyer will often have the well flow rate tested. In NY State, a well must be able to provide 4 gallons of water per minute to pass inspection. If you have had issues with low pressure or have run out of water this will be a test you will want to run prior to putting your house on the market. As someone who just finished selling a home with a well, I can tell you it is easier to fix these issues under your terms rather than having to negotiate the repairs and costs with another party involved.
Clean, Safe Drinking Water
No one wants to buy a home and discover that they do not have a reliable source of clean, fresh, safe water. It goes without saying that buyers are not going to accept a contaminated drinking source. By conducting these well tests before selling, you’ll know they won’t kill your home sale.
Water testing can be performed by a certified well inspector such as Safewell. Water samples are taken from your tap and sent out to an authorized NY State laboratory for testing. Your water will be tested for bacterial contamination like Coliform, E.coli as well as other contaminants like chlorine, sulfur, etc. plus a Total Plate-Count. The lab will test and evaluate the water and a Potability Report will be generated. The report will indicate whether the water sample meets requirements, this data will indicate the contamination level if one does exists. If there's nothing more extensive requested, no further information will be offered by the Lab, only this very basic "Potability Report" will be issued.
It's never surprising when the owner of the home for sale explains to me that they have never tested their well water, they'll mention their water tastes good and looks clear... thinking that because of taste and appearance alone their water is fine. Most homeowners are not aware of the importance of well water testing. It's one of the most proactive things a homeowner with a water well can do... a contaminated well can become a serious health concern. A contaminated water well will also cause nothing but problems at a very crucial point of a Real Estate deal.
One thing worth mentioning is that many standard well quality tests do not check for radon in the water. Often you have to ask for this to be tested. I would highly recommend you do so as many buyers will. Radon found in the water is less common but it is also far more expensive to correct.
Vacant and Seasonal Homes Wells
Wells of unoccupied houses should be flushed to provide a more accurate picture of what the water will be like with normal use. We recommend running approximately 200 to 300 gallons of water from the well each day for 4 days. This will ensure that the stagnant volume of water in the well has been removed. Have the recommended water testing performed only after this process is complete.