How to Troubleshoot a Home Well Water System

Troubleshooting your home well water system is an easy process when you break down your water problems into symptoms and then research to find the cure. Most water symptoms are traced back to only a few simple causes --- some more costly than others. If your well was properly constructed by a licensed contractor, then it's likely the problems you are experiencing can be solved with simple and inexpensive measures such as testing or shocking.

Use the Symptom/Cure Approach

Analyzing the quality of your tap water is the first step in troubleshooting your well.
  1. Make a list of water symptoms. Common symptoms include reduced flow to the house, the appearance of sediment in the water, any change in water quality such as odor or taste, and spurting fixtures that yield discolored water.

  2. Match your water symptoms with possible causes. Reduced water yield is attributed to several factors: low water table, incrustation buildup on the casing and screens, overpumping or poor construction.

    The presence of sediment in your water can mean your casing is failing, there is corrosion present, you are overpumping the well or it was poorly designed.

    Changes in water quality can point to corrosion, contamination or biofouling.

    Spurting fixtures with cloudy water usually mean there are gases such as methane or carbon dioxide present.

  3. Take a water sample. You can buy simple home water testing kits at your local home improvement store. By testing your own water, you'll save money and time. Your water problems may be as simple as installing a filtration system to filter out unwanted elements.

  4. Call in a contractor or plumber to do a well inspection. Your water problems may be resolved by a simple shock chlorination, or the well may need cleaning with brushing, fracking or high-pressure jetting.


  • If you or someone in your house becomes ill, and you suspect your water is the culprit, do not rely on home testing kits. At this point it's necessary to call in a professional, who can test for bacteria or contamination that home testing can miss.
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