Well Water vs City Water Cost

It is estimated that more than 13 million households rely on private wells for drinking water in the United States (US Census American Housing Survey 2017). EPA does not regulate private wells nor does it provide criteria or standards for individual wells but using them correctly could save you money in the long run. What is the Cost of Well compared to City Water?

City H2O
EPA tested & delivered-national avg.$72.93 per/mon.
Based-400 gals/home
Subject to increase
Penalties for over-usage

Well H2O
Free H2O-No limit
Inspection $300-500 per/yr.
Testing avg. $50-500 per/yr.
Avg energy cost for Pump-.10-.20 per/hp-per/hr.
Replacement pump & pressure tank avg. $538 to $1,851


Water problems Scarcity and rising temperatures have increased awareness worldwide with populations growing and the lack of water supply prices to deliver and treat drinking water increase the added bonus of having a Well on your property may make the difference for buying a property but how much?

Well Water Cost

By using your Well for potable water supply you’ll save money in the long run as long as the Well is safe and not contaminated. You should be aware because the Safe
Drinking-Water Act does not protect private wells. EPA’s rules only apply to public drinking water systems

The 1 Thing You Need to Know about your House | | Well Water Warranty- MD/PA/DE/VA - Welgard - Well Water Warranty Services There is always a slight possibility of contamination with a well. However, if the well is inspected and properly maintained, the chances of this are greatly decreased.

Nationwide, the average cost of a good inspection is $300 to $500. The price depends on the inspector’s rates, the types of water tests they conduct to check your water quality, and whether they provide a septic inspection at the same time. A Well inspection is a process in which an inspector assesses the condition of a water well and all of its Well’s parts pump, casing, storage tank, vents, etc.

They’ll also look for problems like rust on the pressure tank, low-pressure levels, faulty gauges, strange noises, and cloudy water in Well pipes, and anything that could pose a health risk. They can also check the quality of the well water. Before you buy a house with a Well you absolutely want to have this done along with the condition of the home.

Most Well have water softeners that eliminate Hard Water in the Well. Hard water comes with a large percentage of minerals like calcium and magnesium in the solution. While not harmful to humans, the minerals are harmful to plumbing, fixtures, and appliances, as well as being high-maintenance on your skin, hair, and clothing. City water could have the same problem so you may need a Water Softener whether you have a Well or not.

  • The National average for softener plus installation: $1,000-$2,000
  • The price range for softener plus installation: $600-$2,000
  • The Monthly maintenance and operation expenses: $10-$20
  • Electrical cost for Well pump


Look on your Well pump controller and find out how many horsepowers (HP) your pump is. At current electrical rate schedules, each horsepower costs on average between $0.10 and $.20 per hour to run. This means if you have a 5 horsepower pump and it needs to run 5 hours a day to meet your irrigation and household needs you could be spending up to $5 per day or about $150 a month to power your well pump! You can offset this average price by conserving operating time.


EPA recommends to Test your water annually:

  • The test should include total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. If you suspect other contaminants, test for these also. Chemical tests can be expensive. Limit them to possible problems specific to your situation. Again, local experts can tell you about possible impurities in your area. The Board of Health for your area can help you with most of it.
  • Test after replacing or repairing any part of the Well system (piping, pump, or the well itself.)
  • Also test if you notice a change in your water’s look, taste, or smell.
  • After a Flood in the area

Having a lab test well water samples can cost a nominal fee at government or university labs, or $50-$500 or more for private labs, depending on the lab and the number and type of compounds tested. Water testing by a lab should include a written analysis of the results and clear recommendations. In many states and counties, the Board of Health can oversee and recommend the Professional Labs in your area.

City Water Cost


Water Distribution System Community Water Systems  (CWS) supplies water to the same population year-round. It serves at least 25 people at their primary residences or at least 15 residences that are primary residences (for example, municipalities, mobile home park, sub-divisions). In the United States, 52,110 (33.5%) are community systems. Over 286 million Americans get their tap water from a community water system. This water is monitored and protected by the Environmental Protection Agency EPA.

According to EPA, It is estimated that more than 13 million households rely on private wells for drinking water in the United States (US Census American Housing Survey 2017). EPA does not regulate private wells nor does it provide recommended criteria or standards for individual wells. EPA offers information regarding the importance of testing private wells and guidance on technologies that may be used to treat or remove any contaminants.

This means that daily weekly and monthly testing that is normally done when you are hooked up to your cities water supply won’t be done because it is considered a Private Source that you are responsible for.

The average water bill in the United States is $72.93 a month for a family of four using 100 gallons of water per day per person. After this amount Water Distributor charges penalties according to where you are in the country.

Because the water is metered, this number goes up or down depending on usage, with families that use 50% more water than average spending about $115.50 a month and families that use 50% less water than average spending about $36.90 a month. If you heavily water your grass, have a pool, or have more than four people living in your home, your monthly bill will likely be quite higher than the average.

Water cost around the country (USA) depends on 2 main factors:

  1. Personal consumption
  2.  The cost of water in your area. The cost of the average water bill varies depending on the state, but also on zip code and region. For that reason, your water bill might not necessarily be the same after moving, even if your monthly usage doesn’t change. Your Water Provider sets the price and normally is the only game in town.


According to data collected by RENTCafé, the least expensive cost of water in any state is in Florida, where the average cost of a water bill is $6. Wisconsin and Vermont follow, with average water costs at $18/per month. Alaska has the most expensive water costs of any state at $95 per month, followed by West Virginia at $72.

Generally, Water Permit costs which are paid by the Developer or Builder are based on the length of the water main, which means that the further you are from the water supply, the more expensive the permit will be. The smallest water mains, measuring 200 feet, may only cost $150 for the permit, but longer main permits can cost as much as $1,400 in some locations. These permits are based on new developments if your home is freshly built and hooked up to the communities water/sewer supply lines. Otherwise, you pay your bill according to the meter’s usage.


Maintaining a Well


An obvious negative of owning a Well is the time and money to maintain it. It’s important to learn the proper maintenance and upkeep needed for the health and safety of owning a Well for potable water supply. There are responsibilities that you’ll need to take on if you want to use a Well for your family’s water supply. The risk of having problems depends on how good your well is how well it was built and located, and even more importantly how well you maintain it.

  • Pump & Pressure Tank-On  National average the replacement cost is around $538 to $1,851 depending on the type of pump, horsepower, brand, and well depth
  • Water Softener(optional on City & Well water)
  • Whole House Water Filtration(optional on City & Well water)

Each during the year, check visible parts of your system for problems such as:

  • Smells & Taste
  • like rotten egg smells-gasoline or fuel odors-salty, metallic, chlorine, or chemical tasting
  • Visible Problems
  • Stainings of the water like red or brown-scale scum, foam, or turbidity, cloudy water that contains air bubbles
  • Cracking or corrosion
    – Always check the well cover or well cap to ensure it is intact. The top of the well should be at least one foot above the ground
    – Check for settling and cracking of surface seals
  • Have the Well tested at least once a year for coliform bacteria, nitrates, and other contaminants
  • Inspected for mechanical problems, cleanliness
  • Keep accurate records in a safe place, including:
    – Construction contract or report
    – Maintenance records, such as disinfection or sediment removal
    – Any use of chemicals in the well
    – Water testing results
  • Once your well has reached its serviceable life (usually at least 20 years on average), have a licensed or certified water well driller and pump installer decommissions the existing well and constructs a new well. Get the Well Inspected first because it may last longer.

If you have an independent water source, well water is free. Initialization costs typically are around $5,000 ($15 to $30 per foot of depth), and maintenance typically costs around $300 to $500 annually. And if you buy a property with a previously installed well, you bypass the installation costs.

As long as the well is maintained and tested there are some big costs benefits.


Benefits of Well Water

                     How to Disinfect Your Well With Bleach

If you can use more water than the average user of Public water providers for micro-farming or greenhouse for small businesses a Well system can be an advantage for a property owner and even add value for the future price. A good quality water Well can have that is well maintained can save money on the cost to operate.

Water quality plays a vital role in deciding how much value a well adds to a property. The water can be softened and filtered for drinking when it comes into the house. The majority of well water may not be suitable for drinking may be used for outside crop growing.

If a contaminant is found to exceed health standards in your sample, contact your public health department for specific steps to follow and have your well re-tested to confirm the contaminant’s presence and concentrations.

Some problems can be handled quickly. For example, high bacteria concentrations can sometimes be controlled by adding disinfection to a well, such as chlorine, ozone, ultra-violet light, and electronic radiation. A bottle of standard Bleach will do. Learn to do the Disinfection Process yourself and save money.

The key is to keep on top of the Well’s operation maintaining regular inspections and disinfection schedules that can be done inexpensively with a bottle of Bleach read this earlier post I wrote on MyWaterEarth&Sky how to disinfect your Well with Bleach called  How to Disinfect a Well with Bleach

A Well that feeds a sprinkler system can add value to your home if you choose an irrigation system that is professional and convenient to use. In warmer climates and arid regions, a sprinkler system can increase foliage growth and decrease the likelihood of yellow grass caused by drought. A sprinkler system can help ensure that your home has maximum curb appeal.


With a regular maintenance plan, DIY Disinfecting the system, and annual testing from a professional state-certified laboratory along with yearly inspections, a Well could be beneficial and cost-efficient especially if the homeowner has plans for irrigating gardens and improving the landscape of their property.  

Read my earlier article I wrote here on MyWaterEarth&Sky called How To Disinfect a Well With Bleach to help you maintain your Water Well system.



JimGalloway Author/Editor



References: Moving.comHow Much Does the Average Water Bill Cost?

Center for Disease Control(CDC) Public & Private Water Systems

EPADrinking Water Requirements

Thumbtack-How much does a Well inspection cost?









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