Basic Information About Your Well System

Millions of Americans across the country rely on a private well system to get their water. Most of these well systems use a pump in conjunction with a pressure tank to get the water from the well to it’s final destination, whether it be your sink faucet or shower head.

Types of wells

There are three main types of wells:

  • Dug well – this type of well is manually dug with a shovel until it reaches below the water table. These are typically very shallow (less than 30 feet) and risk contamination from nearby surface sources, as well as drought if the water table goes below the well depth.
  • Driven well – driven wells are constructed by hammering or pushing a pipe into the ground. While these go deeper than a dug well (around 50 feet), they are still shallow and still carry contamination risk from the surface.
  • Drilled well – the deepest and most expensive well is called a drilled well. This type of well is constructed by a machine and requires a well casing to be installed to prevent collapse.

Well systems

In a typical residential setup, a pump located inside the well casing will push water up through a pipe into your pressure tank. The pressure tank is located inside the house and keeps pressure in your water lines that lead to your faucets and shower heads. Depending your well setup, you will have to choose the correct type of pump. Shallower wells may use a jet pump that sits on top of the well. Typically however, a deep well submersible pump is used.

Your pressure tank

A pressure switch is needed to work in conjunction with your pressure tank and pump. The switch will tell your pump when to start/stop pumping, and come in three settings: 20/40, 30/50, 40/60. For example, a 20/40 switch will tell your pump to pump water into the tank until the pressure reaches 40 psi. Then, the pump will shut off and wait until water usage from the tank lowers the pressure to 20psi. At this point, the switch will turn on the pump and repeat the cycle all over again.


Now that you know a little bit more about your well system, be sure to check out our product reviews and some tips on keeping your pump working for longer.

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