Nationwide, the average cost of a well 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.
For homeowners who use a private well for their water system, a regular well inspection is important to ensure your water supply is safe, reliable, and clean. Well inspections also check the condition of your system to spot mechanical problems like rusting tanks, faulty gauges, or leaking seals that can lead to low water pressure or contaminants in your drinking water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends testing your well annually or any time you notice a change in the smell or taste of your water. If you're buying a house with a private well, lenders generally require this as part of a larger home inspection before writing a mortgage on the property. It's also a good idea to inspect a new well, right after you drill or dig it.
Whether you need a full home inspection before buying a new house, or want to check on the water quality of a private well on your property, this guide will break down the cost and what's included before you hire a professional well inspector.
What's in this cost guide?
The price of your well inspection will depend on the type of water testing you have done, whether or not you include a septic inspection, and any additional fees from the inspector, like a travel surcharge.
Some inspectors will just do a visual inspection to check your water well's condition and make the system works properly. This is the most basic type of inspection and costs the least.
If your inspection includes water testing at a lab, which assesses your well water's quality and checks for contaminants, an inspector could charge another $100 to $300, depending on the type and number of tests.
For example, a Thumbtack pro in Austin, Texas, charges $349 for a residential well inspection that includes water testing.
The cost of the inspecting the well and septic system averages $400 to $650. If you have a private well—whether it's drilled or driven—most inspectors suggest checking the septic system at the same time as the well.
In general, combining your water well and septic inspections will cost less than inspecting them separately. A septic inspection on its own costs between $260-$420. Add that to the $300-$500 average for well inspections, and your total costs for two separate inspections could run you $560-$920.
The national average cost for a water testing add-on to a home inspection is $125. A home inspection costs between $244 and $421, depending on the number of square feet of your home, bringing the total cost of a home inspection with a private well to $369 to $546.
A home inspector may check your water well during a more general home inspection, usually as part of a real estate transaction. However, checking your water and well isn't part of a standard home inspection, and it may cost an additional fee on top of your overall home inspection price.
Even with the additional cost, it's worth it to check a home's septic system and water well system before completing any real estate transactions. Replacing your septic tank can cost a good chunk of change. A Thumbtack pro in Deerfield Beach, FL charges $9,000 to replace a septic tank and it can cost anywhere from $7,500-$25,000 for a new drain field—definitely expenses you'd want to know about as a home buyer. Buyers should also ask about the depth and capacity of their well before purchasing it.
Some companies will charge $1 -$2 per mile if they travel out of their service area.
Home inspectors can inspect water wells, but it's best to hire an inspector who specializes in wells. A reputable well inspector does not do repairs on wells, because it's a conflict of interest for an inspector whose job is to find broken wells to also repair them. If the inspector finds a problem, you'll need to hire a separate company to make repairs.
A well inspection is a process in which an inspector assesses the condition of a water well and all of its parts (pump, casing, storage tank, vents, etc.). They can also check the quality of the well water. A well inspection includes:
A visual inspection will check the well to ensure the system, water source, and area around the well is up to code. During this part of the process, the inspector will check the setback distances, the casing, and the well cap to make sure all seals, vents, overflows, gaskets, and screens are in good condition. They'll also check anything specific to your state or county's code regulations for private wells.
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.
The inspector will make sure the pump is operating properly, and ascertain how much water the well can produce. This step is testing for proper well and pump operation to make sure nothing is wrong with your system.
Not every well inspection includes a water test, and collecting and analyzing well water could increase the cost. This step is important because it checks the water quality and looks for contaminants, like nitrate and bacterium, that could make drinking water unsafe.
In this step, the inspector will take samples of your well water and send them to state-certified lab where it will be tested for microbes and bacterium like E. coli or coliform, and toxic substances like arsenic and nitrates. A water test can also check for substances like sulfate or fluoride, and other contaminants like pesticide and radon (which you'd typically do if the air in your house has tested positive for radon).
Dug wells, also known as bored wells, and driven wells tend to have a higher risk of contamination than drilled wells, since wells created by drilling have a deeper depth (sometimes thousands of feet deep) and are continuously cased.
Contaminants like bacteria, heavy metals like arsenic or lead, or pollutants like pesticides or fertilizer can make you sick. So if you use your well water as your family's drinking water, this is a step homeowners won't want to skip. Knowing your water supply is clean and safe to drink is well worth the additional cost.
After checking your water well, pump, pressure tank, and the area around it, the inspector will provide advice on how to take care of your water well so it keeps pumping clean, safe water. In this step, they will provide tips specific to your well—since a drilled well may need different maintenance than a dug well.
Between annual inspections, homeowners should keep an eye on their well, looking for any issues that could possibly contaminate their water, including breaks in the seal on the well cap, chemicals stored near the well, and any kennels or livestock areas near the well. The ground should slope away from the wellhead and plants should be regularly cleared away.
Wells should be inspected by a licensed or certified water well system professional. Do-it-yourself water test kits are available for $10-$150, but they don't necessarily test your water for every possible contaminant.
A licensed inspector can conduct a comprehensive battery of water tests, work with a lab to determine results, and connect the homeowner with a company capable of cleaning the well water.
Before you hire a professional to inspect your water well, be sure to:
- Look at past projects and reviews to see other types of well and home inspections they have done.
- Ask if water testing is included in their estimate. Ask your inspector to break down the price to get a more realistic estimate on your costs for a well inspection.
- Check their certification. Some states require a well inspector to be licensed through a contractor licensing agency or health department, so check to see if your state does before you hire someone.
For homeowners who rely on a private well for their water supply, a regular well inspection with water testing is essential to ensuring you have clean water free of contaminants and bacterium, and that your well system is in good working condition. Find a water well and home inspector in your area on Thumbtack.