Low-Yield Water Well? 7 Smart Moves
If you have a low-yield well, you face a special set of challenges. Often, the well fulfills your basic water needs, but it can’t produce sufficient water to meet peak demand periods.
If your household is typical, you need about 1440 gallons of water a day (1 gpm), but during peak usage you may use 2 gpm or more. In most homes, peak periods occur once or twice a day and last 30 minutes to 2 hours. The first step in managing a low-yield well is to determine when peak periods occur, how long they last and how much water you need. Subtract how much water your well produces during the defined periods, and that’s the shortfall you need to overcome.
These seven smart moves will help you maximize your low-yield well:
- Reduce peak consumption. Implement targeted cutbacks to reduce demand. Spread it out over the course of the day by scheduling showers, laundry, dish washing, garden watering and similar activities for non-peak periods.
- Invest in water-saving upgrades. Replace toilet flappers, faucet aerators and shower heads with affordable low-flow devices. Install water-conserving sprinkler heads or drip irrigation. Invest in a water-smart toilet, washing machine and dishwasher. The right combination of appliances, devices and fixtures can help the typical household reduce consumption by up to 30%.
- Get a larger pressure tank. This may not resolve low-yield issues, but it can help. Roughly 20% of the water in your pressure tank is available for immediate use then the pump kicks on. Replace a 42-gallon tank with a 120-gallon model, and you reduce pump use and boost pressure tank water supply from 8 gallons to 24 gallons.
- Expand in-line storage. Installing an in-line storage tank or investing in a second one can make a big difference in low-yield situations. The total volume of stored water should be able to deliver 100 gallons a day for each household member to meet one full day of demand.
- Increase pump capacity. Pumps usually have a capacity rating slightly below the well yield. Have your pump evaluated to determine if it’s contributing to low-yield issues, or if you need a higher capacity pump to accommodate additional in-line storage.
- Increase borehole storage. Explore options for having the existing bore deepened, widened or both. Expanding the well itself can significantly increase the volume of water stored in the borehole.
- Drill a backup well. You could drill a new primary well if higher yielding water sources are available, but adding a dedicated backup well for irrigation and/or animals might be the solution. Usually they’re more affordable, since in many states the regulations and construction requirements are less stringent.
Try implementing the easier, low-cost solutions first. If that doesn’t solve your low-yield issues, consult with your well driller to determine the specific upgrades that make sense for your circumstances.