At Home With Christie – Country Living Part 1: Understanding the Basics of Wells


Christie Mahany
Christie Mahany

Country Living Part 1: Understanding the Basics of Wells

I live in the country, and always have. Well, except for that brief four-year stint in Buffalo during college, which explains how I inadvertently thought my daughter the “Let’s Go Buffalo!” chant, but that’s another story. I still love living with a little bit of breathing room and love to show houses “in the county” as its referred to here in Erie. Once you get out of the city and suburbs a few things change – water becomes well, sewer becomes septic, and natural gas becomes one of many options, all which usually raise some big questions if you’ve never lived with those before. Let’s dig in!

I could go on for several articles about the different types of wells and what they do and how they’re made, but for this one, let’s stick with the basics – what you would need to know if you were moving from a house with public water to one with well water. We can get into nitty gritty stuff on another day.

How it works:

running-water-WEB Water is collected from an underground source and pumped to your house. That’s actually how it works for everyone. With public water, it is stored and monitored and treated and piped through the city. With a well it is just pumped from the ground and straight to the house. There may or may not be storage or treatment steps in there (things like low flow or hard water or bacteria) and if there is, it’s customized for that particular type of water and just something to be aware of, not something to be afraid of. After all, they don’t chlorinate public water because it tastes good! Most of the time the user experience is the same – turn on the faucet and out comes the water.

How it Works Summary:
Public water: Everything is done off site and then pumped to the house.
Well water: Everything is done and treated (if necessary) on the property.

Cost: Public water comes with a bill. Sometimes its monthly, sometimes quarterly. Some municipalities charge by the amount used and some just charge a flat rate. Well water doesn’t come with a monthly bill, but if something breaks or requires maintenance, it’s on the homeowner to pay for it. This could be as minimal as zero dollars, or could be quite a bit more expensive depending on the type of water and well that is being maintained. In our house we pay a very small amount for the salt in our water softener, and we don’t do much else to it. It’s convenient, and works without much maintenance…as long as the power doesn’t go out.

Cost summary:
Public water: monthly or quarterly bill that is based on either a flat rate or consumption. Repairs are the responsibility of the municipality.
Well water: zero cost after installation, except for any maintenance supplies or electricity to run. Repairs are the responsibility of the homeowner.

Next time I’ll explain what to be aware of when looking at the quantity vs. quality of the water supply.

At home, Christie

About Christie Mahany:

Christie Mahany
Christie Mahany

On any given day I’m a full time real estate agent, momma and chief wrangler of two kids and two dogs, married to a guy who essentially hunts and fishes for a living, and happy residing on the outskirts of Erie, PA. Sometimes I fool myself into thinking I have superpowers, except my cape is usually in the laundry…I hope. It’s all in a day’s work.

Editor note: You can follow Christie on social media at the following links:
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