If you thought wells were just for country folk, you thought wrong.
Many homes throughout the Topsail area are on wells. Hampstead homes in particular are predominantly on wells.
Those giant decorative rocks that you see in so many front yards? Sometimes they look like a little dog house? That’s a well cover. It keep debris away from your well and protects it from the elements. Those covers are pretty pricey, so don’t let the kiddos climb on them. Even though they scream “I’m a giant rock! Climb on up and declare yourself the king of the mountain!”
If you just purchased or will purchase a home with a well, what does this mean for you?
Where does the water come from?
There is a water table underneath our earth, which we tap into for freshwater when it’s not available through city sourcing. The Topsail area taps into the Castle Hayne Aquifer.
This giant wedge of limestone and sand spans a massive 12,500 square miles. It produces more water than any other aquifer in the state. Thank the Lord for the Castle Hayne Aquifer because just below it, are more aquifers that we can’t use because they are contaminated with saltwater.
Well over 100 MILLION gallons are pumped from this aquifer every day. Residential wells connected to the Castle Hayne Aquifer can yield 200-500 gallons per minute, but can also produce 2000 gallons per minute.
How does a well work?
There are different types of wells and they can be drilled to different depths. But in a very basic way, from a self-proclaimed nerd who is NOT an engineer, here it is:
- A hole is dug in the ground all the way down to the aquifer.
- Pipes go down the hole
- The pipe at the bottom is called a casing (you’re welcome that I gave you that useless piece of knowledge)
- The casing is adhered to the limestone in the aquifer with grout, so it doesn’t shift or shimmy away
- There’s a filtration system at the bottom, like clean gravel or a screen, to help filter sediment.
- A giant straw type device goes in and sits below the static water level
- Water is sucked up the giant straw by a pump – it creates vacuum like pressure that makes the water flow UP the giant straw
- Yes, giant straw is the super official term. That’s what all the well companies call them. Just ask!
- That’s not true. I’m just kidding. They will think you’re a moron. Don’t ask that.
- Water is pumped through underground pipes, into your water tank and then through your house!
What will cost me?
There is maintenance associated with a well, just like with anything useful. One of the most common maintenance issues, is the pressure switch. If it goes on the fritz, you will be without any water randomly, until it completely dies.
This is actually an easy fix, that I have even done myself with the help of YouTube. Of course, call a professional and don’t hold me liable if you screw it up!
Keep an eye on your well gauge to ensure the pressure is about 40 psi. If there are signs of trouble, like low water pressure, call a professional before it becomes a big problem.
Bonus: No water bill! It does use electricity though. If you lose power, you will also lose water.
Below freezing temperatures are the enemy of your well and your pipes. If it’s supposed to be below freezing, make sure you’re ready for it. I clamp a lamp under mine with a low wattage bulb and leave it on all night. Some people throw old blankets over theirs.
If your well pump does freeze, it will usually be back to work when the sun comes out and the temperatures warm. Steady drips of your pipes indoors help too.