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New to Water Wells? 10 Terms to Know

New to Water Wells? 10 Terms to Know

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Millions of American households have private water well systems, but if you’ve never dealt with one before, you’re likely to encounter a number of unfamiliar words and phrases. To help you get started, here are ten of the most important terms to know.

  1. Flow rate / recovery rate. Describes how much water can reliably be extracted or pumped from your well. This figure focuses exclusively on water held in the well, does not include water held in storage and is expressed as gpm or gph.
  2. Gallons per minute (gpm). Defines the volume of water moved each minute, so it’s used to measure and describe well capacity, recovery rate, pumping capacity and more. Some experts use gallons per hour (gph), but gpm is more common.
  3. Maximum demand. Identifies peak water usage based on your household size and routines. Stated as gpm or gph, this figure helps determine well size and configuration and the size and capacity of your pump system.
  4. Pumping rate. Designates how many gallons per minute (gpm) the installed pump can move, assuming an unlimited amount of water. This number is stamped on the pump or its attached data tag, and identified in the pump installation report.
  5. Regeneration rate. Refers to how much water flows into the well bore, which defines the maximum water volume your well can reliably produce. Expressed as gpm or gph, this figure concentrates on water entering the well and doesn’t include water held in storage.
  6. Static head. Defines how much water is readily available when the well pump turns on, after the pump has been off, the well has rested and the water has risen to its peak level.
  7. Water flow rate. Specifies how many gallons per minute (gpm) flow out of a faucet when the spigot is fully opened. Because water flow rate is a function of pipe and fixture sizes and configuration, it’s not an accurate indication of well or pump capacity or performance.
  8. Well depth. Captures the full depth measured from the surface exit point to the well bottom. The figure is usually expressed in feet and detailed in the well driller’s log.
  9. Well quantity total. Identifies the capacity of the entire well system so it includes water volume contained in the well, in well and system piping and in storage tanks, along with the maximum flow rate and the pumping rate.
  10. Well storage. Pinpoints the maximum volume of water in the well and available for immediate use. It doesn’t include additional water that might be held in separate storage tanks.
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