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If you’re thinking about purchasing a house in a rural area, the property may have a well. Some people prefer the taste of well water over city water, but a well has some drawbacks.

Maintenance and Repairs
If you buy a house with a well, you’ll own the well and be responsible for maintenance and repairs. The well and pipes should be regularly checked for cracks and corrosion. A well should be covered to keep out rainwater, animals and insects. Before you build anything near a well, you should check the state and local codes to avoid contaminating the water.

You’ll have to pay for electricity to run a pump. If you lose power, an electric water pump won’t work. That means you’ll need to buy a generator or stock up on bottled water.

With city water, the municipal government is responsible for maintaining the pipes, purifying the water, checking its quality and delivering it to homes. If there’s a problem, the city will pay to fix it.

If there’s a long period without rain, a well can run dry and you may have to buy bottled water or pay to dig a new well. Meanwhile, a city government can ensure that all residents have access to enough water during a drought.

Contamination
City water is treated with chemicals that remove impurities and make it safe to drink, but they can affect the taste. Well water often has a noticeably fresher taste than city water because the former isn’t treated with chemicals.

Sometimes contaminants, such as chemicals and animal waste, seep into well water from the surrounding soil. Contaminated well water can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Well water should be tested regularly and may need to be filtered to make it safe to drink. A change in the taste of well water could indicate that it has become contaminated and needs to be retested. You’ll be responsible for the costs of testing and treatment.

Minerals
Well water has a high mineral content, which can dry skin, clog pores, and cause acne and eczema in some people. Minerals can also react with soap and form salts that can make skin itchy. You can use a showerhead filter or water softener to avoid skin problems caused by hard water.

Should You Buy a House With a Well?
Well water might taste better than city water, but minerals and contamination could affect your health. You also need to consider the costs of maintenance, repairs, testing and a generator. If you’re thinking about buying a house with a well, ask when and how it was constructed, how often it’s maintained, if any problems have been found and how they were addressed, and what the well’s capacity is. Before making your decision, carefully weigh the pros and cons.

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