How to Find a Good Contractor to Drill a Well
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Albert in North Carolina on the line who’s got a well question.
ALBERT: Well, I’m not getting enough water from the well that I have existing on my property.
ALBERT: It’s what they call a “dug well” instead of a “bored well.”
ALBERT: It only goes down 15 feet before it hits the – what they call the “surface water table” here.
ALBERT: But I’m kind of – we’ve been in a semi-drought in my area and if I go to use the water to water the lawn or fill up the swimming pool for the grandkids or whatever, it runs out of water.
TOM: Is this well only being used for non-domestic purposes, like washing cars? Or are you drinking this water, as well?
ALBERT: Drinking it, too. And well, we have had it tested and everything. It’s fine; it’s good water.
TOM: Alright. OK.
ALBERT: We’re up here at the top of the water cycle in the mountains so – that’s what I understand and everything’s fine.
ALBERT: But they said in order to increase the water, there would be no guarantees that the wells in this area – to hit bedrock and hit a subterranean aquifer. There’s anywhere between 85 and 600 feet and there’s no guarantee, once they start …
TOM: Boy, really narrowed it down for you, didn’t they?
ALBERT: Yeah. And there – and it’s very expensive, too.
TOM: Oh, I bet.
ALBERT: I didn’t know if there was any other – I’ve talked to a couple people but nobody else has any ideas about adding additional pumps or digging another well or – I really – and that kind of money is a lot to spend.
TOM: Yeah, well, that’s what I was going to suggest. I wonder if you created – if you dug another shallow well on the property and tried to tap into another piece of this aquifer, whether that would solve it. When the water goes down, do you know that it’s the aquifer running dry that’s causing this?
ALBERT: It really doesn’t run dry; it gets muddy and …
TOM: It gets muddy.
ALBERT: Yeah. And we have filters to take out the mud but the filters get clogged.
ALBERT: And of course, if I let it replenish – just stop watering for a day – it replenishes and we have enough water.
ALBERT: But it still – it’s becoming – it’s irritating and it …
TOM: More and more of a problem, yeah.
TOM: So is there any of the well-drilling companies that will give you any type of a fixed cost? Or is it all going to be on – determined by how deep they’ve got to go?
LESLIE: Depending on how deep you go.
ALBERT: Yeah, it’s how deep and it’s by the foot.
LESLIE: Wow. Has anybody in your area done a bored well and have any sort of recommendations as to how deep they had to go to reach it?
ALBERT: Well, my neighbor, who’s about 100 feet away, they had bored a well all the way to bedrock and hit it at 85 feet.
TOM: Right. OK.
ALBERT: And the well company I’ve talked to said that’s fine but it’s really – they’ve bored wells 20 feet away from existing wells and not hit. So there’s no guarantee.
ALBERT: So it’s kind of strange.
TOM: Yes. It’s kind of a crap shot.
ALBERT: I know. I’ve got to replace my roof. We’ve finally been in this house for 30 years. I haven’t even put new roof on but now I have this well problem come up. I don’t know.
TOM: Yeah, well, if you don’t fix the roof, you can just collect water in buckets and solve your problem.
ALBERT: That might – yeah, that might be an alternative.
TOM: What you have to really think about here, Albert, is what’s reasonable and customary in your area. And it sounds like everyone’s suffering with shallow wells when they start to get muddy. And the solution is to drill the well.
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how much this is going to cost you, so I would suggest that – try to put your energy into finding the most reputable, reliable, reasonable well-drilling contractor out there that’s not going to hold you up for more money or try to stretch you out. And really try to find somebody that’s got a really good reputation. You can use …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I bet you could look on Angie’s List.
TOM: Yeah, you can use sites like AngiesList.com or ServiceMaster.com to find contractors that have had some references. You want to find some that have had some good customer experiences and that those are documented online, as well.
You know, the good news is it’s a lot easier to find a good guy these days, because so many people will just post very generously what their experiences are, good or bad, with a contractor online. I think that you really should focus on trying to find the best pro and then whatever it will be will be.
ALBERT: Yeah, that’s really good advice. I should go online. My wife has one – has signed up for Angie’s List for this roof project and (inaudible at 0:15:38).
TOM: Well, there you go. And that’s a good time to do it. There’s a small membership fee and – but they seem to do a really good job with the site. And if you’ve got a couple of projects that are going on like that, you could really take advantage of it.
ALBERT: Right. Well, I think you’re correct and I appreciate your time.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project, Albert. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
ALBERT: Thank you.