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May 20, 2024 15 mins

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Ever wondered what lies beneath the surface of a rural well water system? We've got the dirt, quite literally, as we're joined by a guest expert raised on the Pennsylvania countryside's well water. Together, we dissect the intricate workings of well construction, the mechanics behind pumps and pressure tanks, and the external factors that can leave your taps dry or your water pressure wanting. You'll hear a tale of how a mining operation once swallowed up a family well, underscoring the vital importance of regular well maintenance and the often-overlooked limitations of home inspections when it comes to these hidden water sources.

Navigating well pump malfunctions can feel like a journey through uncharted territory, but fear not—we're mapping out the troubleshooting process with stories from the trenches. Learn the unmistakable red flags of pump failure and gain practical strategies for restoring flow to your faucets, all while weighing the true costs of repair versus replacement. As we reminisce about the switch from Lauras tumultuous well water past to the tranquil shores of municipal water reliability, you'll find yourself grateful for the simple luxury of consistent water pressure and ready to conquer any well system woes that come your way.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:02):
Welcome to the Standing Out in Ohio podcast,
where we discuss topics,upcoming events, news and
predictions with real estateprofessionals and entrepreneurs.
Listen and learn what makestheir companies and themselves
stand out and gain advantagesover the competition and gain
market share.
Subscribe for the latest newsand discussion on what it takes

to stand out from the crowd.
Now here's your host, jim.

Speaker 2 (00:31):
Hey everybody, welcome to the Standing Out Loud
It's Jim with Laura the OfficeGoddess.

Speaker 3 (00:36):
Hello everyone.

Speaker 2 (00:37):
All right, laura, jim , back in the day you were a
country girl.
Yes, I was.
You grew up in Pennsylvania,yes, I did.

Speaker 3 (00:44):
I'm not saying all Pennsylvania is country, but A
large portion of it was where Ilived.

Speaker 2 (00:50):
Where you were so rural.
You had to take hunter safetyin order to graduate high school
, Because they just expected youto all hunt.

Speaker 3 (00:58):
Yeah, it was mandatory and I was so upset
Because I did not want to takeit.

Speaker 2 (01:03):
That is rural.

Speaker 3 (01:04):
That is rural, that is rural.

Speaker 2 (01:05):
So you had a well.

Speaker 3 (01:06):

Speaker 2 (01:07):
Well, systems, these can be consistent, but also
they're a big unknown, andthat's what we're going to talk
about today.

Speaker 4 (01:20):
But first let's listen to this.
Habitation investigation is theway to go for a home inspection
in Ohio.
Trusted, licensed homeinspectors for your needs.
From radon to mold towarranties For a great home
inspection, you really can't gowrong.

Speaker 2 (01:45):
Visit homeinspectionsinohiocom.
Alright, laura, well system.
Basically you drill a hole inthe ground.
Hope you hit water.
Probably like six inches indiameter.
You have a plastic or metalwell casing at the top I don't
know 20 feet.
It's just to help keep sediment, dirt, bugs from getting down
inside the well water.
But you drill this, you borethis hole down, maybe 100 feet,

40 feet, 250 feet, you don'tknow.
Until you like, get down there,drill this hole, they hit water
Then they typically will send apump.
It's a thin long pump.
They put wires to it forelectricity and they hook up a
pipe and they lower that pump onthe end of that pipe, usually a

plastic pipe, polyethylene, andthey just drop it all the way
down there, all 200 feet if theyneed to, all the way down there
And then they hook it all up.
And then they hook that pipe upto your house to get water and
electricity to the pump.
Well, the switch that's in thepressure tank.

So all you have upstairs we'llsay it's in the basement.
They have a basement and a wallpump.
A pressure tank's down in thebasement, okay, so you got your
pressure tank there.
So when it gets low, a littleswitch turns on, sends
electricity to the pump, whichis all the way down 200 feet in
our scenario.
That pumps up the water andyour pressure tank fills it up.

Fills it up, the pressure tankgoes.
Hey, I got enough pressure here.
And then the electricity shutsoff, shutting off the pump,
that's 200 feet down.

Speaker 3 (03:31):
Yes, Now we had some extenuating circumstances with
some of ours.

Speaker 2 (03:38):
Like what.

Speaker 3 (03:38):
So there was a cool mining operation.
Oh, oh, no, that's right.
Miles away, this is not okay.

Speaker 2 (03:45):
This is for you Okay.
This is how pumps areunpredictable sometimes.
First of all, they're buried.
You can't see them unlessyou're going to strong arm and
pull 200 feet of pipe and theweight, and I've done that and
there's water in that pipe.

Speaker 3 (04:01):
Yes, there is.

Speaker 2 (04:02):
That adds weight.
The pump's heavy, Everything'swaterlogged, you know stowed
with water.
You try to haul this thing up.
So during the home inspection,wells are not typically part of
the inspection because you can'tsee it.
Now we can.

Speaker 3 (04:20):
We do some basic things.

Speaker 2 (04:22):
We do really basic things.
If somebody wants to, we canmake a little bit more advanced
tasks where we're looking at thewellhead, checking, the wiring
out, the pressure gauge, howmuch it produces the pressure
We can even calculate thegallons per minute that it's
We can do that, but typicallythere's not a whole lot you can

We'll do the functional watertest where we have the.
Here's the best water test forfunctional pressure.

Speaker 4 (04:49):

Speaker 2 (04:49):
Have the shower going run the sink a little bit, and
then flush that toilet and seeif the shower pressure drops
Right, I've seen it dropcompletely out.
Yes, I've seen times wherenothing happens, but anyway, we
did an inspection the other day.
Water pressure was really low.

Speaker 3 (05:10):
Like as soon as we started testing, as soon as we
started checking the faucets.

Speaker 2 (05:15):
So I mean, things can be unpredictable.
There's a couple of areas wherethey can mess up, and this
house had a whole house filled,so where can?
How does something in a wellget low pressure and water flow?

Speaker 3 (05:28):
so one of the ways that we had a problem was we had
a coal mining operation andtheir blasts were so hard that
it caved our first well in.
So then we ended up having toredrill a well because that well
was gone so here's this is notas common here in ohio yeah you

got somebody's blasting for coal, coal mining, and that cracks
the, the bedrock down below.
It cracks it and the waterleaks out water could leak out
the the soil can collapse in onit.

Speaker 2 (06:03):
So that's one way, which that's one?
Your water, what's?
The other way which you can'tget the water out.

Speaker 3 (06:08):
The water table can change and can drop, the well
can just run dry is one possibleoption.

Speaker 2 (06:14):
Would that be more because of the bedrock changed?

Speaker 3 (06:16):
That could be for whatever reason.
There's many reasons why a wellcan run dry.
The pump could go bad.
There's also a filter on thepump that you can peel off and
clean up, and sometimes thatgets clogged with debris and
then the water can't get intothe pump to get up so you get,

you get the really fine siltright so yeah, there is a screen
over the pump to help protectthe pump.

Speaker 2 (06:44):
But it's fine, fine mesh so you could.

Speaker 3 (06:47):
That can get clogged easily because we had to
actually pull ours several timesto clean off that freaking
filter and ours was likehundreds of feet down there and
the little plastic flexible pipethat bends because you're
pulling it up and you got to letit run out and all the ethylene

Speaker 2 (07:08):
Yeah yeah, it was not fun all right, so you could
have your, your screen yourscreen could be done what, what
else could?

Speaker 3 (07:15):
uh, if you have it set up to a system, maybe
something in the system's goingbad, so like, maybe the whole
house filter, maybe the waterfiltration system has a problem
and it's not doing somethingright, you and I you were with
me we did a special home placeand low water pressure.

Speaker 2 (07:35):
it would start out good, but then quickly would
just go down to a trickle.
We took the bypass the buyerthere's a whole house filter so
he turned the knob on it tobypass the filter and the
pressure was fine, right.
So the whole house filter wasgetting clogged because the silt
or whatever was in the and thesediment and all that yeah.

So that was one and that's aneasy diagnosis for that.
But if the well pump itself isgoing bad or if it's the
pre-screen, I'll call it down bythe pump is filling up.

Speaker 3 (08:10):
You're still going to have to pull the pump to see.

Speaker 2 (08:14):
That's a lot more effort and there's no, and it's
definitely beyond the scope of abasic home inspection.
Even if a home inspector was,somebody added it all in.
Hey, I want you to look closelyat the well equipment.
We could do that.
You still cannot look at thepump, no matter what.

Speaker 3 (08:32):
No, that's not even something you're going to do in
a time frame of a homeinspection, because you're going
to have a couple of peopletaking turns pulling this pump
because it gets that heavy whenit was you and your dad pulling
the pump up.

Speaker 2 (08:50):
How long did it take you to pull it up?

Speaker 3 (08:53):
oh, it took hours, like we had to take turns just
pulling it up, just pulling itup, and then by that time then
we were done for the night.
We just go in and go to bed andthen you get up the next day
and you're finished doing stuff.
So you go the night withoutwater and you know you're going
the night without water.
Well, yeah, you get bottledwater.

Yeah, You'll pee outside if youneed to, but yeah, I mean it's
like all right, it's countryliving.

Speaker 2 (09:22):
Yeah, it sucks, it's not a tragedy.

Speaker 3 (09:26):
Well, I remember the first time I moved out here like
I was early 20s.
I'd lived in like country allmy life.
I'd always had a well and I wasliving in Oregon in an
apartment complex and theelectricity goes out Up near
Toledo Up near Toledo andfriends were over and they said

something about the bathroom andI'm like you can't go to the
restroom, the power's out, wecan't flush the toilet.
I'm like what the heck are youtalking about, woman?
We're not living in the country.

Speaker 2 (09:57):
Country girl, yep, yep.

Speaker 3 (09:59):
And so they laughed at me because I genuinely didn't
But in the city, if yourelectricity went out, you still
had water.

Speaker 2 (10:07):
Yeah, If you live in the city and you have no like
everybody's losing waterpressure, you got a lot more
issues than just lack of water.

Speaker 3 (10:15):
There's something really bad going on.

Speaker 2 (10:17):
There's something major going on in your town.

Speaker 3 (10:21):
If you're living out in the country, it's a couple of
things that you cantroubleshoot, and hopefully it's
not the pump.
But if it is, it's in thecountry.
It's a couple of things thatyou can troubleshoot and
hopefully it's not the pump.
But if it is, it's not the endof the world.

Speaker 2 (10:30):
You just pull it up, swap it out and put it back down
and I know how much is a pumpcouple hundred bucks like 200
bucks oh, I don't know, honey.

Speaker 3 (10:38):
It's been a long time since I've had a.

Speaker 2 (10:40):
Well, I think I I get curious, I would say about five
easily 500.

Speaker 3 (10:46):
Yeah, I don't know if they're in that much.

Speaker 2 (10:47):
No, let me do a search.
So if you have a well andyou're not getting as much water
as you should first of allcheck your whole house filter if
you have one that can clog andthat will slow down the water
that you get.
If it's, yeah, so if you have awhole house, bypass that.

If your flow improves a greatdeal, it's it's your filter.
You need to change out yourfilter and that's probably all
you need to do really deep, wellsubmersible pump is 112 at lows

Speaker 3 (11:21):
Here's another one for $429.
So there's definitely a range.
Yeah, there's a range on it.

Speaker 2 (11:27):
So you'll pay a couple hundred bucks for the
pump itself and you can almostdouble that to hire somebody to
spend hours pulling that thingup.

Speaker 3 (11:38):
Yeah, that has to be done by hand and it has to be
pulled up, because that's theonly way to swap it out.

Speaker 2 (11:43):

Speaker 3 (11:44):
So it is labor intensive and it is not fun.

Speaker 2 (11:48):
So if you have low water flow and you have a well
first, I would bypass your wholehouse if you have it.
Hopefully that fixes it.
If not, I would then go to myfixtures and maybe that little
aerator underneath the faucetthat can get clogged.
A little bit easy to fix, butyou should.
Your tub does not have the tubspot does not have an aerator.

You should get decent flow outof that.

Speaker 3 (12:13):
And if not?

Speaker 2 (12:15):
Sadly enough, it's probably the pump.

Speaker 3 (12:18):
Or something mechanical like that.

Speaker 2 (12:20):
yeah, it's the pump or the pump screen is covered.
Either way, you've got to pullthat up, which is unfortunate.

Speaker 3 (12:28):
Country living.

Speaker 2 (12:29):
These are wells.
I'm glad we're not getting awell at our new place.

Speaker 3 (12:33):
I was really glad when we ended up.
I think we're the last house onthat water line from the area
where we're getting it from.
Yeah, we were the last one.
I was like score.
Yeah, that was fortunate man.
It looks like we're getting itfrom.

Speaker 2 (12:47):
Yeah, we were the last one.
I was like score.
Yeah, that was fortunate.
And it looks like we're havingreally high pressure.

Speaker 3 (12:51):
Yeah, it looks really good.
So at this point I'm very happyI really did once another.

Speaker 2 (12:56):
well, it's like almost 900 feet back to the
house uphill.

Speaker 3 (13:01):
And it's really good pressure just from the wood and
the outdoor spigot that we havefor the field.

Speaker 2 (13:06):
That's good pressure.

Speaker 3 (13:07):
That's very good pressure, that's really good
Hopefully we'll maintain thatin the house.
Yeah, it should.

Speaker 2 (13:12):
Once everything's filled up.
It should be good, but anyway,I think that's it for this one.
Wells man, we wish we couldgive better information on the
wells, but nobody can.
Unless you dig these things upand they will fall, it will
How long do they typically last?
Do you think 15 years of a wellpump?

Speaker 3 (13:32):
I would say that yeah .

Speaker 2 (13:33):
That's about 10 or 15 years.

Speaker 3 (13:34):
Well, and of course, too, it depends on the kind of
water you have, Because ifyou've got really hard water or
water that has a lot of stuff init, that's going to be hard on
that pump, it's going to gofaster.
Stuff in it that's going to behard on that pump, it's going to
go faster.
And here in Ohio the state saidI think it was in 74, that

anybody that drills a well hasto upload data to the state.
It's called like a welldrilling log.
So you can go type in Ohio welllog locator and you should be
able to pull up whateverproperty you're interested in,
look and see when the well wasdrilled, how deep it was, the
kind of sediment that's downthere, and it'll give you all

kinds of good information.

Speaker 2 (14:23):
So I looked at Google and Google said Google pretends
to know all Wells will last 15to 25 years.

Speaker 3 (14:30):
Wells or well pumps.

Speaker 2 (14:32):
Well, I'm sorry well, pumps, okay, so kind of like a
traditional roof Right, justcall it 20 years, and that range
is depending upon how muchdebris, like I mean silt, is in
that water.
So that's it for this one.
I wish everybody well, have agreat week, weekend and contact.
Habitation Investigation forall your home inspections,

commercial inspections and airquality.
Phase one inspections and airquality.
We got the hook up.

Speaker 3 (15:03):
We'll take care of it .
We got the hook up bye,everybody, bye.

Speaker 2 (15:05):
You've been listening to the Standing Out in Ohio
podcast we got the hookup.

Speaker 1 (15:07):
We'll take care of it .
We got the hookup All right.
Yes, bye, everybody Bye.
You've been listening to theStanding Out in Ohio podcast.
Be sure to subscribe on Spotifyor Google Podcasts to get new,
fresh episodes.
For more, please follow us onInstagram, twitter and Facebook,
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company athomeinspectionsinohiocom or
That's J-I-M-T-R-O-T-H, andclick on podcast.
Until next time, learn and godo stuff.
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