What is the Cost to Drill a Well?

Do you know what the cost is to drill a well? Maybe you’re considering adding one to new land you purchased, or your current one is failing and you need to think about replacing it. Whatever the reason, the cost to drill a well is around $5,500 for 150 feet. This is an average depth, and most well drilling projects will run between $1,500 and $12,000 from start to finish, and this works out to between $15 and $30 per foot of depth. In challenging terrain, this number can easily exceed $50 per foot of depth, and this can cause your cost to drill a well to skyrocket. For a more shallow depth, the cost to drill a well runs between $10 and $25 for every square foot. 

You could be wondering about the cost to drill a well for a large number of reasons. Maybe you’re going to increase your vegetable garden layout, or you have an agricultural operation going that needs more water. Additionally, wells can draw in geothermal fluids, and you can use this to heat your home. If this is the case, you’d use an artesian system or a pump to get the fluids to rise to the surface. 

The cost to drill a well will depend on several key factors, and you’ll almost always want to enlist professional help. Using professionals to drill the well will help to keep your property and everyone on it safe. Additionally, it can make obtaining the correct permits easier. You have to think of the pump, casing, septic system, storage, depth, and the type of well you want when you’re figuring out your cost to drill a well breakdown, and this is what we’re going to do for you. 

We want you to get an as accurate estimate as you can before you start your project, and this post will help you get a great indication of the price based on the well type, different components, and more. By the end, you’ll be able to see what depth and type of well you can afford. 

1 Drilling a Well
When you think of the cost to drill a well, the price skyrockets. However, you could be pleasantly surprised at the final cost. Understanding the factors that play into your cost will give you a good idea on whether or not you can afford it.
Well Drilling by Ken / CC BY-ND 2.0

Cost to Drill a Well

On average, the cost to drill a well will fluctuate between $1,500 and $12,000. On average, most people will spend between $3,750 and $12,000 to install a well at $15 to $30 per foot. The cost to drill a well will largely depend on the well’s diameter, the soil conditions, and how deep you need them to drill it. Typically speaking, residential wells are between 100 and 300-feet deep, and they have a diameter of 4 to 6-inches. Speaking to local companies can give you a good idea on how deep you have to drill it. With proper maintenance, your well can last up to 40 years. 

Average Well Drilling Cost Per Foot by Well Type

For the drilling process only, you’ll pay between $15 and $25 per foot. When you get to the process of installing a complete well water system, this price will go up to $25 to $65 per foot. Geothermal wells will cost between $15 and $40 for every foot of depth, and irrigation wells will run between $50 and $100 per foot of depth to drill. 

Artesian Well

When you consider the cost to drill a well and it’s an artesian well, it’s usually slightly deeper because you have to drill until you hit an aquifer. On average, it costs $35 to $85 per foot, and the average depth ranges between 150 to 450 feet. This means that you’ll pay a grand total of $5,000 to $15,000 to drill and case the well. 

However, there is an advantage to this well. In aquifers, groundwater gets trapped between layers of rock in a highly pressurized body of water. This pressure makes the water flow naturally without having to pump it or use electricity. They require very low ongoing expenses and maintenance, but they do need a specific location by an aquifer to work. 

Geothermal Well

The cost to drill a well of this type ranges between $15 and $40 per foot of depth, and this works out to $3,500 to $5,000 per well. These wells are usually six-inches in diameter, and they can range between 150 and 400-feet deep. If you have a 1,500-square foot home, you’ll need dual 300-foot wells to meet your HVAC needs. The biggest cost factor with this well is sourcing and getting the equipment and contractors to your home as it’s a very small pool. 

To get this well to work, you’ll sink pipes full of an ethanol solution six feet into the ground at the drill site using a drill rig. This acts like a cooling and heating energy source for your home. The solution will bring the heat back into the house, and it’ll remove the heat in the summer and transfer it underground to help you cut down on your cooling and heating bills. 

Irrigation Well

The cost to drill a well if it’s an irrigation or agricultural well ranges from $25 to $50 per foot to drill it. When you add a complete installation, the cost goes up to $85 to $105 per foot of depth. A high-yield commercial-grade well will run between $50,000 and $100,000, including a pump. For residential use, it’ll cost between $9,000 and $15,000 to complete. 

If you need a commercial agricultural well, the cost to drill the well goes up so much because you need a bigger borehole that the company drills deeper into the ground to increase your water movement. You’ll get at least six gallons every minute per acre. You’ll also need a permit that places limits on the amount of water it can pump, and the permit itself can easily cost over $500. 

Residential Well

A residential well will run between $25 and $65 per square foot, and this averages out to between $3,750 and $15,300 on average to finish. The price includes the initial drilling, a pump, wiring, casing, and more. The diameter and how deep the well is are the two biggest cost factors. 

The cost to drill a well if it’s shallow ranges between $1,800 and $3,000. Depending on the depth of the water table, this works out to $5 to $10 for every cubic yard. Shallow wells are between 3 and 10-feet in diameter and 25 to 50-feet deep, and they work best in areas without any bedrock. It pulls water from shallow aquifers, and you line them with concrete, stone, or brick to stop them from caving in. They’re also more challenging to protect from contamination, and they produce less yield. 

Sandpoint Well

If you have temporary water needs, a sandpoint well can help in a pinch. It’ll give you up to three gallons a minute, and it tends to cost between $300 and $3,000. This is one of the most economical costs to drill a well available, and a homeowner can install it. However, it might not hold a consistent pressure, and it has a very low output. 

These types of wells are very similar to dug wells in their depth, and you’ll get a steel pipe that is around two-inches and diameter and 20-feet long to drive it into the ground. There is a screen on the end that filters the water from sand, and the pump pulls the water to the surface. You can get a jet or hand pump, and it’s possible to install a small water tank. 

2 Types of Wells
The deeper the well is, the quicker your cost to drill a well will go up. The type of well and the materials also play into the cost, and everyone will get a different quote depending on their situation.
Well by synx508 / CC BY-NC 2.0

New Well Installation Cost Breakdown

Installing an entirely new well will range from $1,800 to $30,000 and up. The cost to drill a well will depend largely on the options you pick out like the diameter, depth, and the power system. Drilling the well is the most expensive part, and the cost of the pump comes in second. Once the company hits water, they’ll case the hole to prevent it from collapsing in on itself. Then, they hook it up to water lines and cap the well to keep contaminants out. The costs boil down to: 

  • Control Box – $70
  • Control Panel Wiring Kit – $5
  • Cycle Stop Valve – $190
  • Drilling – $15 to $25 per foot of depth
  • Electric Lines – $500 to $1,500
  • Lab Water Testing – $400
  • Permit – $600
  • Pressure Switch – $50
  • Pressure Tank – $300
  • Submersible Pump – $300
  • Water Treatment – $640
  • Well Cap – $20
  • Well Pump – $300 to $2,000

Well Water Pump Cost

One big cost to drill a well factor is the well pump itself, and this can easily range from $300 up to over $2,000 to buy and install it. The cost will depend on if it’s a deep or shallow pump and how steep the incline is from the storage tank. Different wells require different well pumps, and some will sit outside while others get submersed. You’ll need to invest in a stronger pump if there is an incline or if your well is over 150 feet deep. 

Well Casing Cost

To replace or install well casing using PVC, you’ll spend around $6 for every square foot. For earthquake-prone areas, you’ll need stainless steel casing that will cost around $130 for every square foot. You’ll need around 25-feet of casing below the surface, and it’ll cost between $250 and $2,500, depending on the soil conditions of the location. 

You can also choose from steel, stainless steel, concrete, or PVC. The whole point of the casing is to support the wall and keep rocks or dirt out of your water. When you drill your well straight through large, hard rocks you won’t need casing because the rock itself will act as one. 

Water Storage Tank Cost

If you have to factor in a storage tank in your cost to drill a well, it’ll range between $100 for a four-gallon tank up to $700 for a 44-gallon tank. Pressure or water tanks work to draw water up from your well and keep it pressurized. In turn, it delivers your water at a consistent rate right when you need it. 

Well Seals and Caps Cost

Well seals or caps are necessary to keep contaminants out of your water, and they cost between $20 and $40. The water or electrical lines are underground for capped wells. You could have a sanitary cap on a well above ground in areas where the frost line runs three or four feet deep. The power and water lines will pass through a gasket on sealed wells. 

Factors That Influence Your Cost to Drill a Well

There are many different factors that come into play when you’re figuring out the cost to drill a well. The depth, diameter, casing, permits, water volume requirements, ground conditions, and materials are all big. Additionally, you have to consider whether or not you have electricity available and if you need any permits. The company will have to transport equipment to the site, perform excavation and test pumping, and they’ll have to install a water treatment system. You’ll have to send the water to a laboratory to ensure it’s safe too. 

Depth

The biggest factors that will influence your total cost to build a well are the well diameter and depth. On average, a well depth ranges from 100 to 300-feet deep. Shallow wells may only reach 25-feet deep. The diameter is between four or six inches on average. A shallow well will have a 3 to 10-inch diameter, and a sandpoint well uses 1 ¼-inch piping inside the well casing to provide stability. 

If you’re going to dig a deep well, it is usually four to six-inches in diameter that uses a two-inch or bigger pipe inside the well casing. A deeper well won’t go dry like a  shallow one will, and there is a reduced chance of contamination if you install and use it correctly. 

3 Dry Well
While a more shallow well may save you in costs, it can dry out. If it does, you’ll either have to have a whole new well or pay to drill it deeper to hit water.
Dry Well by Paul Ponraj / CC BY-NC 2.0

Ground Conditions

The ground conditions will impact your cost to drill a well because it directly dictates how difficult and time-consuming the process is. If you have a lot of rock, heavy clay, or gritty cactus soil, it’s going to be more difficult than if it was just dirt. Getting a local well driller is a smart idea at this stage in the process because they’re aware of the ground conditions at your location. 

Labor

It is possible to install your well on your own, but it may not be safe. Additionally, if problems arise and you don’t know how to fix them, it could be very expensive to fix. If you want to rent a drilling rig to try and control your cost to drill a well, it’ll cost between $600 and $800 every day. The tubing, pipes, and casing are between $50 and $150 per foot of depth. 

Additionally, pumps, permits, and water tanks will all drive the cost to drill a well up. Hiring a professional well drilling company ensures that you get the correct installation while making your estimates more reliable. It also saves you money on long-term expenses by having the drilling and installation correct the first time around. You should get several quotes from local companies before you pick one. 

Permits

Depending on where you live, a permit can add to your cost to drill a well by $350 to $700. If you get a residential permit, be prepared for several inspections that ensure you drill the well correctly, that it’s correctly connected to the water main, and that it’s capped. If your well is less than two inches in diameter, you most likely won’t need a permit. However, do check with the local county board. 

There will be different permit regulations and fees by county regarding the water testing requirements. The county clerk’s office can give you the correct forms, fee schedules, and tell you your next step when you apply to dig your well. 

Proximity to Your Home

If you choose to install your new well close to your home, this can cut your cost to drill a well because you save on water and electricity piping costs. A water line main will cost you between $30 and $60 a foot to install. If you add a solar-powered pump, it’ll cost between $1,500 and $3,000 while a power line will cost around $1,500. Your well should be 5 to 10 feet from the property line and 50-feet from your septic tank. It should also be between 100 and 200 feet from the utility lines and the septic tank drain field. 

Testing

If you want a DIY water testing kit, it’ll cost you between $20 and $150. For a university lab or government lab to perform professional-grade testing, it’ll cost between $50 to $650 per test. This testing will look for chemicals, contaminants, pollutants, and metals in your drinking water. You should test for bacteria, E. coli, arsenic, fluoride, lead, copper, radium, iron, radon, uranium, nitrite, pesticides, methane gas, manganese, MTBE, sulfur, tannins, and pH. It’s generally a safer bet to pay for the professional-grade test when it’s something as serious as your drinking water. 

Cost to Redrill a Well to a Deeper Depth

If you have an existing well and you think the cost to drill a well deeper will be less than installing a whole new system, you could consider paying to redrill it. It runs between $35 and $84 per square foot, and this works out to $3,000 to $6,000. This is around the same as drilling a new well. You can increase your water flow by hydrofracturing too, and this will cost between $1,500 and $3,000. 

Also, there are no guarantees that redrilling your current well will give you more water if it dried up. Ideally, you’ll only take this route if the well isn’t at least 200-feet deep because this is the point where you can explore hydraulic fracturing. This method has an impressive success rate, and it requires zero excavation. It uses very pressurized water to break up any solid rock at the well’s lowest levels to open new pathways for water to enter. 

Cost to Drill in a Septic System

Installing a septic system by itself can be a very expensive project that has an average of around $5,000. However, the price can easily range from $2,800 up to $8,000. If you want to combine a well and septic system drilling and installation, you’re looking at a price tag that fluctuates between $5,000 and $22,500. It’s also important to note that you might need to pull in two companies because not all well installation companies have experience drilling and installing septic systems. In turn, this could increase your costs along with the project’s complexity. 

Your septic system’s main function is to safely dispose of your wastewater. If you plan to live off the grid, you’ll need to budget for this system. The well will bring you clean water while the septic system works to get rid of it. A soil absorption system and an underground tank are two of the biggest cost factors with drilling in a septic system for your home. 

Municipal Water Systems Versus Private Well Costs

A private well can save you a decent amount of money over time, even if the initial cost to drill a well is on the higher end. Every month, all you’ll have to pay for is electricity to operate the pump. Annual maintenance is another must to keep your well in good condition, and it’ll run between $100 and $250. 

On average, your well will give you 12,000 gallons of water every month. This means that a private well can save you over $500 a year. It’ll stabilize your utility costs too. Even if you have a month or two where you use more water, you won’t pay more like you would with a municipal setup. 

Your septic tank and well’s age will cause their expenses to increase due to normal wear and tear. You’ll replace the existing pump and water tank every 20 to 30 years, and this can cost up to $10,000 per time. However, it’s still widely spaced apart. 

4 Private vs Municipal Wells
 Drilling relief wells by Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / CC BY 2.0

Where to Find Professionals

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does it take to drill a well?

Surprisingly, the labor cost to drill a well is relatively low. To drill a water well, it takes between one and three days. Your drilling diameter, depth of water, weather, and ground conditions will play into it. Transporting equipment to the project site, setting up the pump system, drilling, testing the water, and running electricity can take up to seven days from start to finish. 

2. How much will it cost to maintain your well?

On average, you’ll spend between $150 and $350 per year to maintain your well. This includes regular maintenance from your company. Well maintenance includes a water level check, a flow test, general water check, well equipment check, pressure tank and switch check, and pump motor performance check. It’s a good idea to find out if your contractor includes maintenance in the original price they quote you. 

3. What is the average lifespan of a well?

Since the cost to drill a well can be high, you want something that will last. Luckily, a professionally installed well can easily last up to 40 years. You will have to care and maintain it properly though. A well that is very poorly installed will only last between 12 to 15 years. The water pump will last between 8 and 15 years before it needs a replacement. 

4. Will you get a monthly water bill once you install your well?

No. Once you have a well, you won’t pay a monthly water bill. There are costs for electricity to run the pump, but this is only around $3 a month. Maintenance costs range between $10 and $20 a month, and you’ll have to pay to replace your filters, pressure tank, and pump eventually. However, you can use as much water as you want without worrying about a huge bill. 

5. What are the warning signs that a well will dry up?

When the water level drops below your pump intake, the well will dry up. You can perform an aquifer recharge to bring the water levels back up. There are several warning signs that come with a well drying up, including muddy looking water, the water’s taste changes, and faucets will sputter with air. 

Bottom Line 

The cost to drill a well will depend on a large range of factors. You’ll have to look closely at each one and see which ones relate to your situation to get a good idea on your final cost to drill a well. Call around to local companies to get quotes, and make sure to check and see if they include routine maintenance and upkeep. Using well drilling professionals may be more expensive at first, but it can save you money and hassles in the long run because your well will last for years. 

Cost to Drill a Well 1 Cost to Drill a Well 2

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