All home buyers need and want water and sewer; which can only be delivered either by a well and septic system or by municipal water and sewer.

Working for more than 25 years as a full-time Realtor; half of which was in the Mount Snow ski area of Southern Vermont, I have considerable firsthand experience with both well and septic systems. Working with as many buyers as I do, I've realized that many often have ideas about these that are often somewhat muddled and/or short on details.

Many times I've had buyers tell me they want well and septic so as to avoid having water and sewer bills and while it's easy to understand this thought process they don't understand that while there won't be monthly water and sewer bills, there are expenses they need to consider with a well and septic system. In conversation with my clients over the past 25 years I've realized that many would benefit from a simple guide about the differences both pro and con between the well and septic versus city water and sewer.

If you have any questions about wells and septic systems outside of the info provided below, or you're interested in buying a home in North Carolina in the near future, contact the MY NC Home team with Coldwell Banker Advantage today.

The Main Differences Between Wells & Septic Systems


If you're buying a home that has a well it's critical that you have it inspected by a qualified company as part of your due diligence process. Different areas of the country have different fee structures, but here in the Raleigh- Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina a typical well inspection will cost somewhere between $150 - $250.

The well will be opened up, to determine the static level of the water inside. Samples of the water will be taken and sent to a laboratory to be tested for a variety of heavy metals and coliform bacteria. The inspector should pull a copy of the original well permit which will indicate the GPM (Gallon per Minute) flow rate as well as the well depth. {Often there will be an aluminum band on the well casing with this information on it as well} It's important to understand that the GPM of a well can change over time and could increase or decrease, so if this is important to you as a buyer then you may want to have your inspector pump the well dry and confirm the current GPM flow rate.

The inspector should also inspect your pressure tank which is located in or under the house. This is what creates water pressure inside your home. Water quality can vary dramatically and it's possible that there may be one or more types of filters that will also need to be inspected including a water softener if you live in an area with hard water.

While there are no monthly water bills, homeowners need to be prepared to replace the well pump, the pressure tank and filters (if any) over time. In addition it's possible for a well to go dry in which case homeowners will be faced with either having to have their well fracked to see if they can't get it flowing again (This was the original fracking and while similar in concept is not the same fracking done for gas drilling) or they may need to have a new well drilled. These expenses could easily exceed several years of water bills.

Septic Systems

Septic systems also need to be inspected. There are several different types of standard septic systems, and I'm not going to cover the differences between them in this article. A septic inspection in our area of the country will cost approximately $500+/- which will include having the tank (or tanks) pumped. Having the tank pumped is important as there is no way an inspector can truly inspect the tank if it's filled with gray water and solids. Both the tank and field should be inspected.

Again, when a home has a septic system there are no monthly sewer bills, however homeowners need to expect to have the tank pumped every few years (average cost $200- $300) and depending on the type of septic system they have there may be additional annual costs as some types of systems require a licensed inspector to verify that the system is working properly. Some systems have pumps and these pumps can burn out requiring replacement. It's also possible with septic fields that if they weren't properly maintained over the years that they can fail and replacing a failed system could cost a homeowner anywhere from $5000 - $20,000 depending on a variety of factors.

One last thing to consider is that septic systems are designed based the number of bedrooms in the home, so it's important if you're buying a home that has a septic system to ask your Buyer Broker to confirm that the septic system was designed for the number of bedrooms in the home, as I've often seen instances where a homeowner added additional bedrooms to their home without expanding the septic system which creates a legal issue.

Well and Septic versus City Water and Sewer

I've been asked many times which is better and my answer is that it's not a matter of one being better than the other. In some instances there simply isn't a choice; municipal water and sewer aren't available. Well and Septic has been in use for much longer than I've been alive. Septic system are engineered systems and when properly installed and maintained can give many decades of trouble free use. I've had them in several homes I've lived in and have never had any problems with them.

That said, they aren't truly free as there is regular maintenance that's necessary and occasional larger capital expenditures to replace worn out parts. Wells are the same, and I know many people who prefer well water, but again there are expenses and the risk that you're well could under certain conditions go dry. For myself I'm comfortable with city water and sewer and the monthly bills that come along with them, but I'm also fine with well and septic if I'm living in a more rural area and encourage my buyers who my be considering such a property for the first time not to be fearful.

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I didn't realize that wells needed special permits, or that they need to meet a specific flow rate. If you want to buy a house with a well, how difficult would it be to fix one that doesn't meet these standards? My husband and I do want a well, but if it is too expensive to fix, we will consider installing a new one.

Posted by Callie Marie on Friday, December 18th, 2015 at 11:17pm

Marie, your question is a tough one to answer as different problems might entail different solutions. Generally speaking installing a new one is likely to be more expensive than working with what's there. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my article.

Posted by Larry Tollen on Saturday, December 19th, 2015 at 6:41am

I have to get my well inspected. We think that there is something that is clogging the pump because it doesn't seem to want to work properly. I am really hoping that everything is fine because we will already have to spend a couple of hundred dollars just to have them come out and take a look. I don't really want to have more payments on top of that.

Posted by Zach Thalman on Thursday, January 14th, 2016 at 6:33pm

It is nice that when you have a septic tank you don't have to pay monthly septic bills. I think we can handle getting it cleaned an pumped every once in a while. My parents are thinking about getting a septic system installation and it looks like it would be a good idea now that I read this. Do people tend to prefer having a tank or being hooked to the sewer?

Patricia- In addition to the maintenance costs, it's important to remember and be prepared for additional costs as there are a number of mechanical and electrical componets to a well and septic that over time fail and need replacement. These include things like pumps, control panels, pressure tanks, septic alarms, lines etc. In addition depending on the water quality there could be any number of filtrations systems all of which requier maintenance and replacement over time. While all last a number of years they all have a life expectancy. My own experience is over time it's six of one half a dozen of the other in terms of overall cost. Most buyers water and sewer if given the option as it limits up front expense for installation and in addition offers them options that may not exisit in terms of future expansion with a well and septic. I see no reason to shun well and septic but homewowners not familiar with these systems need to educate themselves so that they better understand how best to use them. Larry Tollen

Posted by Patricia Andrson on Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 at 6:24pm

I have never had my septic system inspected in the year that I have lived at my house. I have never had one until my wife and I moved into this house. I will make sure to set up an appointment to have that inspected this week.

Posted by Jeffrey Goodman on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 at 1:22pm

Is it possible to have both a sewer connection AND a septic connection? If you wanted to have the septic connection as a back-up in case of emergency?

Adam- that depends on your county, and your property in terms of whether you could add a septic. Honestly I've never in my life heard of anyone adding a septic for back up. A sepctic system typically costs $20,000+/- depending on a variety of factors and you'd need some sort of a sewer valve/switiching system that would enable you to direct your waste water to the septic nsteaqd of the sewer. I'm not a waste water engineer, and haven't ever seen anything like this but it seems like it could be done. As I indicated I've never heard of anyone doing such a thing, Sewer to my mind is always my preference though I've lived with septic many times over the years and am not oppossed to it; I just find it limiting.

Posted by Adam on Thursday, April 21st, 2016 at 10:52am

Thank you for the post. I can see the real need to have your well and septic system running at its optimal performance. I think having them serviced regularly can ensure that you won't experience any serious issues. I think it could also warn you to look at building another well in the event your well starts to go dry. It wouldn't fun turning on the tap only to have nothing come out.

Posted by Bob Lowe on Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 at 7:45pm

I think it all comes down to your personal preferences. I don't think that getting city water and sewer is much more expensive than having a well and septic system. Yes, the well-septic system allows you to have no monthly bill, but you still need to pay for its upkeep. I personally think it is good to be off the cities system, but it is mostly just a matter of always having the water and sewer that I need.

James I agree, I personally would choose city water and sewer any tim that option were available.

Posted by James Bergman on Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 at 1:59pm

Thanks for mentioning that both wells and septic systems need to be checked by a qualified company. I just moved into a new place with a new well and the water that comes out of our sink has not seemed very clean. I'll make sure to look for someone to get it checked out and let me know how it is. Also, thank you for posting the average costs- that will be a big help.

Posted by Luke Yancey on Monday, June 13th, 2016 at 9:54am

I'm kind of surprised that the septic system size is determined by the number of bedrooms in the house. I would think that it would be more about how many bathrooms there are. However, I suppose another bedroom means more people in the house using the water. So, is that how septic size is determined, by the maximum number of people that could live in the house?

James- Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. You are correct, the thinking is bedrooms equate to people. Each bedroom equals two people (regardless of how many are actually in it) as far as septic calculations are concerned.

Posted by James Bergman on Monday, June 20th, 2016 at 11:56am

All useful info! Now I understand that septics can be many thousands of dollars! But Do you know the avg cost of hooking up w city water/sewer? Is it also that costly to start up? We have option here but startup cost is my main concern. Bastrop Tx if it matters. Thank you

Judy, This varies by muncipality, but in my experience in genreal hooing up to sewer is half the price or less of installing septic. That said there is a cost and you would need to contact your town/countys sewer department to get a price for hooking up and then compare that to the price of installing a septic system. Sorry I couldn't give you a more specific answer. Thanks for reading the article and taking the time to leave a comment.

Posted by Judy on Monday, July 18th, 2016 at 8:24pm

It's interesting that you mentioned how there are no water bills if you have your own well. Like you mentioned, there is a cost up front, but it's necessary to help you not have costs later on. Keeping the well maintained would be a good way to ensure it lasts a long time without the need to replace.

Kendall, Maintenance helps nearly everything last longer, I'm not an expert on wells, but have been around them for a number of decades and have used well and septic in various homes I've owned. I'm unaware of well pump maintenance, and was hoping you might share an infromation you might have. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment.

Posted by Kendall Everett on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 4:40pm

I've lived in a home with septic for a long time. As long as you perform routine maintenance, there shouldn't be an issue. Sewer is great, love that too, as I grew up with it as a kid. The idea of a septic system was scary to me, but no longer. Sewer is also very expensive where I live; a big negative. Also, sewer issues on your property will not be fixed by the town or county, so still plan on spending money if your sewer has issues that do not originate at the street.

Kerri, Sewer hook up varies by locale. I've lived in a number of places and in most instances (but certainly not all) Sewer hook up is less than half the price of most septic installs. It is true that you are responsible for the line from the street to your home, but again based on almost 40 years of experience problems in these lateral lines are less common than with septic, though nothing is maintenace free or lasts for ever. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Posted by Kerri on Friday, July 22nd, 2016 at 11:26am

I agree that even though you don't have to pay a water bill that you should be prepared for well maintenance costs. You will have to make sure the pump is well maintained which means that you will have a water bill. However, depending on how diligent you are in maintenance I think the water bill will be much lower than if you are hooked to the cities water.

Posted by Ian Johanson on Friday, July 22nd, 2016 at 2:31pm

Is it possible to have a septic system and not have a well? I ask because I'm looking at purchasing a home that has an alternative septic system and public water according to the listing. Is this a normal?

Karla - This is certainly not unheard of. My current home has city water and a private sewer system. While the most common situation is well and septic because the properties are located in an area where neither is available, it's possible to have well and sewer or septic and public water. I've frequently encountered subdivisions where there's a community water system and each home has it's own septic and this may be what you have. There's nothing odd or concerning about this arrangement. Thanks for taking the time to read my article and leave a comment.

Posted by karla on Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 at 9:09pm

We just purchased a home that is listed as public water but having a septic tank. The neighbor used to own the land and gave it to a relative to build the home. This house was built in 1992 and he says it has never been pumped. Is this even possible? Can you have municipal water and separate septic? How would I get the pumping record if there is one? It's a fairly rural area and may have had septic/ well before (neighbor has a well in his front yard), so could it have been changed to municipal water/ sewer years ago? I am so confused.

Posted by Marie on Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 at 10:54am

I didn't realize that with a septic system you would not need to pay monthly sewer bills. this sounds like a great way to save some money if you are diligent with your maintenance. It's also good to know that the size of the tank will depend on the number of rooms. How do I find out if I have the right size tank? Thanks for this information!

You'll have to check with your county's Health Department to find out the specifics of your septic system and if it's properly sized. - Larry Tollen

Posted by April Cook on Thursday, August 4th, 2016 at 1:21pm

We have a well and septic on the land but the previous owners switched to city water...We are wanting to go back to the well water so how do we go about doing this?

Personally I think it would be a huge mistake on your part to give up city water and sewer for well and septic, it certainly will cost you money and at the same time such a move will typically devalue your property.

To do this you'll need to work with a plumbing and septic contractor to reconnect your well and septic and confirm their in working order and up to code. then notify your city water and sewer provider and terminate your account with them.


Posted by Elizabeth on Saturday, August 6th, 2016 at 10:12pm

If you lose power with no back up generator you won't be able to get water with a well. And while on the subject of no power; it's a good idea to buy a house with a gas hot water heater, cook top, and dryer. (Sounds like I just talked myself out of a lot of work!) You will still be able to to take hot showers, cook, and do laundry (yay) with no means of backup generator power.

Kevin, you're absolutely correct, no power means no well and in some cases no power can impact your septic as some systems require a pump to get the waste water to the septic field.


Posted by Kevin (Electrican) on Thursday, August 11th, 2016 at 6:44pm

It is super helpful to know the differences between these things. I also appreciate your information on how to maintain a well or a septic system. When you say that they need to be inspected regularly, exactly how often do you mean? If I just think regularly, it might never happen, but if I have a really number in my mind I will get around to it. Thank you!

Most septic systems require the tank to be pumped every 2 or 3 years to remove the built up solids. Some systems use filters which need to be cleaned off once a year. Some systems (sand filters) require annual inspections and chlorination on a regular basis. As there are various types of septic systems your question is a difficult one to answer without knowing what type of system you might have. You can always check with your county health department who should have a copy of the original septic system permit and design specifications which will give the engineers recommendations for maintenance. If they don't you should have a qualified septic installer come out, inspect and pump your system and explain to you the required maintenance.


Posted by Brooke McAvoy on Friday, September 2nd, 2016 at 5:46pm

This is one of the most informative articles I've yet to read. Thank you so much! One of the houses we are considering has a "shared well". The subdivision, having roughly 20 houses in it, share the same well. in addition to what you've shared so far, what else should we consider? And yes, it has septic as well, which upon looking at the survey, the lines take up the majority of the backyard, which is quite disappointing. Does that pretty much render the yard useless for other things?

Linda- thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I'm very familiar with shared wells, and depending on the size and maintenance/management agreement there's nothing wrong with this arrangement. You might want to speak to some of the existing homeowners in the subdivision to see if any of them have experienced any particular well related issues. It's hard without my seeing the survey/plot map and septic permit to really comment on your septic field. You shouldn't put any structures on top of it, nor plant any species of trees or shrubs that have roots that are likely to clog the field. You can plant vegetable and flower garden on top and these generally tend to do well with the additional nutrients and moisture. Part of what you may be looking at is a replacement area and this can be used with very few issues other than not putting any type of permanent structure on it. As I don't know any of the particulars about the property your considering I can't comment on value, this is something you should discuss with your Buyer Broker. If you don't have one and are in our service area, {Chapel Hill, Durham, Cary, Pittsboro, Hillsborough NC} my partner Andew or I would be happy to meet with you and see if we can't be of assistance.

Posted by Linda G Riddle on Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 at 2:27pm

Thank you for mentioning that you need to have septic systems inspected. In fact, I heard that you should have regular maintenance done annually to prevent problems. I also appreciate the contrast you made between septic systems and wells. It really put everything in perspective for me!

Luke absolutely septic systems should be pumped and inspected every 3-4 years to make sure they last and don't give homeowners any unexpected problems. Feel free to share my Blog if you'd like.
Larry Tollen

Posted by Luke Yancey on Monday, September 26th, 2016 at 10:30am

I learned a lot about septic systems by reading this article. It was interesting to learn that septic systems can help to protect your home. I hope this article can help my mom to protect their home and ensure that their septic tank is functioning properly.

Rockford, Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and I hope the article is helpful to your mother. The My NC Homes Team

Posted by Rockford Johnson on Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 at 1:43pm

I like that you point out that it is critical to have qualified company inspect the home and the property. I can see why this would be helpful in deciding whether or not to buy the property. It seems like a good idea to have a multiple professionals evaluate each portion of the land to make sure you are not buying something that is not in good shape.

Posted by scott on Monday, November 7th, 2016 at 6:45pm

Does having a well and or septic system decrease the value of the home? Or make it less appealing to buyers when you want to sell?

Antonio - If public water and sewer are available then most buyers would prefer these, however there are locations (generally outside of city limits) throughout the country where there's no option but well and septic and buyers looking in these areas understand and accept this.

Posted by ANTONIO SANTIAGO on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 at 10:40pm

It struck me as intriguing to know that septic tanks need to be pumped every few year with and upward cost of $200-$300 to pump it. We are thinking about getting one here soon. We will discuss the if this is the best option for us right now! Thanks!

Jenna- If you move forward check the septic design plans, it will tell you how often the tank should be pumped, depending on tank size as well as the type of system you're getting it may vary.

Posted by Jenna Hunter on Friday, December 9th, 2016 at 6:09pm

Great reading. We are currently (12/2016) looking to purchase a country home in an area that we have always admired north of Houston, Texas. The home has a septic tank. This would be an entirely new experience for my husband and me. I have just learned a world of information from this article. THANK YOU!

Amy - You are welcome and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Posted by Amy on Saturday, December 10th, 2016 at 9:49pm

I glad I found your blog. It's very informative. In spite of everything I have on it, I still have one question. I am in the process of buying a house with "well/septic tank". It's a bit too small for my family. My plan was to add two more bedroom and a bathroom in the near future. How would that be possible? Does it mean I would have to get a new septic tank and a different pump? How much do you think that could cost?
Thank you again. I really appreciate your blog.

For septic bathrooms don't matter, it's bedrooms and both the field and tank need to be large enough. You should be speaking with your buyer broker about this as it may or may not be possible to get a large enough septic and this should be determined quickly so that if you find out it can't you may not wish to move forward. If you don't have a buyer broker you need to have the well and septic inspected by a licensed inspector and your county can recommend some to you. The inspector should pull the permit and can look into whether the county would allow expansion or not and let you know how much.

Glad you found the blog useful and thanks for leaving a comment.
Larry Tollen for My NC Homes

Posted by Jean Alphonse on Thursday, January 19th, 2017 at 12:51pm

Thank you for your reply. Can you also tell me what would be the consequences of having additional person(s) in a house with a septic tank? Let's say a 2 bedroom house was built with a septic tank you turn the house into 3 bedrooms, what would happen?

Jean, You increase the risk of causing a septic field failure which can be expensive. If the system was designed for two bedrooms this means it was designed for 4 people as you add people the tank fills with solids more quickly and will need to be pumped more often. In addition you're running more gray water through the field and depending on the type of field and the under lying soils it may or may not be able to handle the extra water. If you're literally adding square footage to the house, you'll need a building permit and if you're adding bedrooms this will require the septic to be updated; failing to do this puts a home owner in a precarious position depending on the laws of your state and county and how they're enforced. You really need to speak to a county health official, I've given you all the information I can. I'm not in the septic business nor am I knowledgeable in regards to every state and county health laws. Larry Tollen for My NC Homes

Posted by Jean Alphonse on Friday, January 20th, 2017 at 10:35pm

Tell us how well water is better,

Hector it isn't better and in fact could be worse. When wells are used typically there's no city water option. Well water can be fine but it could be contaminated with any of thousands of contaminants and it's up to the well owner to figure this out. There are literally thousands of tests that could be done, all of which cost money. Wells can fail, wells need pumps, adn anyone who insists well water is "better" is either selling you or uninformed. This doesn't mean you should avoid wells, I've lived with well water many times over the years and honestly you don't have to look any further than Flint Michigan to know that city water can also be contaminated. Ultimately it's up to the end user to assume responsibility for the condition of their water. The point of the article was simply to explain how well and septic work and not to promote one type of system over another.

Posted by Hector on Thursday, February 16th, 2017 at 10:26am

You wrote that wells take advantage of natural ground water on your property, and it allows you to enjoy that. My father has a property in a rather isolated area, and was wondering if he should consider getting a well. We're pretty sure there is water around, so we'll have to find a service that could come out and dig a nice well for him to use.

Posted by Rachel Lannister on Friday, February 17th, 2017 at 5:50pm

I have had a well and a septic system for 32 years, and while in the beginning it was expensive to have installed, I believe I have saved money over the years in having spent this money up front. I have had to have my well tank replaced twice, along with a couple of switches, and I have had to have my well pump replaced twice, but that is in 32 years. The well pump runs about $500-$750, and the well tank and switch runs about $400, not including the labor to have the work completed. I have been very fortunate with my septic system, because my property percs so well, I have not had to have any work performed on my septic system.
You know, I believe it is just a matter of preference. In the summertime, living in the South in the U.S., you have to be very mindful of water conservation, because you can run your well dry. I have never had mine run dry, but only by the grace of God has that happened.
If you have the money upfront to get a well dug, typically can run a few thousand dollars, depending on how deep they have to dig, and if you have the money to install a septic system, typically again a few thousand dollars, then by all means, go "off grid". You don't have the worry-free mindset that you could have with being on city water and sewer, but you don't have to pay for this relief every month when you pay your water and sewer bills!

Priscilla I think you've summed things up pretty accurately. There's no one right solution for everyone and often there's really no option for water or sewer in many rural areas. One thing buyers should understand however is that there are differing types of septic and some can be both expensive to install and maintain but depending on the soils may be required. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I'm sure many readers will find them helpful

Posted by Priscilla Cowart on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 at 9:40am

What is your opinion on the purchase of lots? We are looking at lots in area where most have city sewer available, but half have city water available while the other half require wells. I understand the cost comparisons when the well is already in place. But how much money are you saving by selecting a lot that has city water available? (Immediate savings and estimated number of years before the two options balance out would be fantastic!)

Anna this is a question for a local Realtor. I don't know anything about water costs, well costs etc in WI.

Posted by Anna in WI on Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 at 10:34pm

I'm especially interested in your statement above "You don't have the worry-free mindset that you could have with being on city water and sewer, but you don't have to pay for this relief every month when you pay your water and sewer bills!". Ah, but I do! I'm in New York State a few miles from the Vermont border and am being charged $60 quarterly by the town for water and sewer because I'm in the water district. However, I have a dug well in my cellar and a septic tank. I wrote my assemblyman in NYS and as a result got a letter from the town manager the gist of which was to go on town water that is very expensive. To me, this is a sort of taxation without representation since I'm paying for services I don't receive -- or want. I'm thinking of a petition but the Attorney General's office can't tell me anything about the matter. I can't find info as to how many signatures are needed to send a petition, and to whom?

D.J. I'm only a Realtor in NC , can't really help you with your issue, though from the sounds of it I agree that you're being charged for a service that you're not getting which is absurd. I'm surprised that your assemblyman and the town manger weren't more helpful. perhaps a call to your Congressman?

Posted by D.J. Miles on Monday, April 17th, 2017 at 12:51pm

We recently built a house on acreage with no options for city water or sewer (although gas was available at the street). Our well cost about $5,000 (because we had to go 200 feet deep), but the average water bill in our area is $1,300 a year, so I think (long-term), the well is actually the better value for us. Yes, we may need to repair/replace the pump at some point, but a new well pump is only about $500. We do have a back up generator for the well pump (because the biggest disadvantage of a well in my experience is no water if there is a power outage). We also like the fact that we aren't drinking water that contains traces of chlorine, a mix of pharmaceuticals or fluoride. We do test our water for contaminants as well to make sure it's safe, but so far no problems.

Anne- I've lived with well and septic many times over the years and my article isn't meant to promote or decry either, simply to offer a simple and hopefully clear explanation of them and things any home owner should consider. Sounds like you live in an area with very high water costs so the well is definitely attractive. Just continue to annually monitor the water for basic contaminants and you're in great shape. Thanks for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts.

Posted by Anne on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 at 10:33am

What happens when you find out that the actual well is being used as a septic tank itself?

Sam- I've never heard of such a thing, are you certain this is true? If so I can assure you it's illegal and extremely dangerous to the health of anyone drinking the water.

Posted by Sam on Thursday, May 11th, 2017 at 3:01pm

That's neat that septic tanks don't require you to pay monthly sewer bills. I just bought a home with a septic tank. I've never had a septic tank before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Posted by Leviticus Bennett on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 at 1:34pm

We are interested in purchasing land and building a home but the property does not have access to municipal sewer lines and new septic tank systems have been prohibited. Do we have any alternative options at all for this problem? The land is incredible but, naturally, this predicament makes us feel like we would just have to hold onto the land until municipal sewage is offered? Thanks, in advance, for your expertise.


In a situation such as the one you describe, m suggestion would be to make any offer on the land contingent upon the seller securing either septic suitable for the number of bedrooms you want the home to have or access to municipal sewer.

The onus needs to be on the seller to deliver a viable property not on you; the buyer to assume the risk that the land remains unable to be used for a residence. Hope this helps, have a wonderful Memorial Holiday.

Posted by Katherine on Saturday, May 27th, 2017 at 3:40pm

Our well collapsed and we live on Leesville Rd where wells are deep and costly. City water and sewer run past our house, who do we contact to tap into the lines. What is the price for this?

I'd suggest contacting the City Water and Sewer Department 919-996-3000 to inquire about hooking up. As to cost, it varies depending on a variety of factors but you could be looking at between $10,000 - $20,000+

Posted by Karen on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 at 5:31am

I want to make sure that I get the right well for my home. It makes sense that I would want to make sure that someone inspects my property to see if it's possible in the first place! I'll do that soon, since that's an important piece of my home planning puzzle.

Bill, You should speak with a licensed well installer. They can answer your questions, give you estimates and discuss well options with you. Basically options come down to possible submersible well pumps, pressure tanks, and possible storage tanks if there's reason in your area to be concerned about running out of water. (Typically these are only used when the Flow Rate is low) Hope this helps.

Posted by Braden Bills on Thursday, June 15th, 2017 at 12:25pm

In a rental situation, does the tenant usually have to pay for septic inspections or issues with the well?

No this is an owner expense. The landlord must supply water and a functioning septic or the house isn't suitable for occupancy.

Posted by Will Fitzpatrick on Saturday, June 17th, 2017 at 5:53pm

I like how you say that you want to weigh the benefits of having a water well. It would be really nice to not have to pay a water bill, but the replacement parts may end up costing more. My sister is looking into installing a well on her property, so she'll have to consider the costs and benefits as well.

Gloria, Not only replacement costs over the years for the pump, pressure tank and possibly filtering equipment, but the actual cost of putting a well in is likely to cost between $5000 - $8000 at a minimum depending on how deep the well needs to be. In addition wells can run dry over time and depending where you live there might be concerns about contamination from gas fracking.

Posted by gloria durst on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 at 9:38pm

I like that you mention how it's important to inspect septic tanks and field in order to keep it in good condition. If you have it professionally inspected, it could help you keep your residence safe and avoid problems. In order to do this, it would probably be a good idea to meet with potential inspectors so you can choose one that is able to provide you with the best results so you can make sure your septic tank is properly cared for.

Posted by Tiffany Locke on Thursday, August 24th, 2017 at 11:30pm

Our water comes from a well, and we've only had to replace the pump once since 2005. It turns out that repairing a well pump is much more complicated than it looks, so you should get outside help if you're not sure what you're doing. The last thing you want to do is damage your well.

Jeff we couldn't agree more, install a well or replacing a pump is for professionals.

Posted by Jeff Evans on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 at 7:34pm

I'm so glad you talked about getting your well inspected when you buy a home that has one. I never knew that this is so essential, but my husband and I are about to close on a home that has a water well in the yard, so we will need to do this. I guess it would probably be best to check something like the BBB to find a good water well maintenance specialist in this area, so that is what we will do.

Raisa, glad you found the information in our article useful. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Posted by Raisa Delima on Saturday, September 16th, 2017 at 6:30pm

I appreciate that you recommend to get the well inspected by a qualified company. My parents are thinking about buying a house with a water well in their yard. I'll have to remind them of this when I go see them.

Scott, Glad you found the article useful. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Posted by scott on Monday, September 18th, 2017 at 7:05pm

Thanks for your column. Here is our concern: Residents of our rural road have always been on wells and septic. Most of us love the wonderful water and don't mind the $300 fee for pumping our septic tanks every 3 years. It works out to $100 a year. Our municipality approved water/force main lines up our road to feed a large new development. Water will eventually be available to us for the hooking up costs of approx $15,000, but sewer is not available. This, then, would be labeled "partial services." We have been researching everywhere and cannot find an answer to our question. If we hook up to municipal water, will this treated water have an adverse effect on the biological breakdown system within our septic tanks? It is mindboggling we cannot find a direct answer, despite dogged research.

Donna, We're Realtors and not septic specialists, this is actually not an uncommon situation and I don't beleive there's any impact on the septic systems performance.

Posted by Donna on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at 8:51am

I have a complicated situation with my sewer: my house is on a hillside and was built in the 1940's and permitted then to connect to the existing sewer line that ran through a not-so-busy street in front of it. Over the last 70 years, the street in front of my house became a busy parkway and my neighbor and I are the only residential houses left on it. The city (Cincinnati) has not updated the sewer line due to the fact that the residential neighborhood is nearly gone. Now, MSD there is saying they don't want any connection to this outdated sewer line. So, even my existing house is in non-compliance. They are letting me use the line with my house as-is, but if I apply for even the most minor addition (say a detached garage), they will not approve it, and I will not be able to get a building permit (I'm trying to renovate the house). I've had a septic tank firm come over to assess whether I could put in a septic tank - they told me that I cannot. I don't have enough square feet of level ground and the soil type is wrong.

The issue with the sewer line is that it connects down the line to an overflow area with a stormwater line and if there is a very large amount of rainfall, the sewage could overflow into the stormwater area. So, they prefer that I not be connected to it. But, I don't seem to have a choice. Have you ever come across a ruling about a residence that had a permit to connect to a sewer then had that taken away? Do you know of a septic system that would work on a hillside?

Marc, We're Realtors, not septic engineers, so I'm not sure about what type of system your property might require. I will say I've not heard of a situation where the municipality withdrew permission to connect to the sewer. I would suggest speaking to a local attorney about this. The My NC Homes Team

Posted by Marc Gleason on Thursday, September 21st, 2017 at 6:03pm

That's good to know that wells need to be inspected. My wife and I went to an open house the other day and the house had a well so we'd need to have it inspected if we decided to buy it. Thanks for the advice.

Glad you found the article useful. If you're buying a home in the Research Triangle Area, we'd love to help you.

Posted by Brayden Brade on Friday, September 29th, 2017 at 7:49pm

It's good to know that when it comes to deciding on our water system that there are some things that need to be considered before deciding if we will be using the cities water or building a well. I like how you mentioned that if we are comfortable with paying monthly bills then the cities water are the best for us. This is something that we will have to remember when it comes to making the final decision.

Posted by Harper Campbell on Thursday, October 12th, 2017 at 10:33am

Hi! Great article! We are moving from Florida to Macon County North Carolina at the end of December and most of the homes we are looking at in Franklin/Otto do have a shared well and septic system. Having grown up in the area 50 years ago I'm familiar with what we had for a well and septic, but I'm sure times have changed. I now realize that the well and septic should be inspected prior to a home purchase and paid for by us. We just weren't sure. Can you address is meant when a property listing says it has a shared well? Or in some instances a community well? It makes us wonder how repairs and maintenance are handled and what we should look for when reviewing a property that states it has a shared well. Thanking you in advance for any advice you can share.

Betty, glad you found the article useful. Shared well may refer to either a community well that is being used by multiple properties within the community, typically these are high producing wells and are required to be monitored by the State or a qualified third party. HOA fees should cover the maintenance of the system. Occasionally a shared well may only be between a couple of neighbors in which case ideally there's a written maintenance agreement that addresses maintenance. If not the attorney who will be representing you at closing could prepare a simple one for the well users to sign. You should definitely inquire as to who is maintaining the well, what fees are any are charged, and how often is the water checked. If it's not checked you should have it tested. Hope this helps. Larry Tollen

Posted by Betty Parrott on Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 at 11:50am

Thank you for the post on what you need to know about wells, septic systems, and city water for your home. I like the thought that a properly maintained well and septic system results, or could result in many years if not a decade or so of trouble-free use. However, you are absolutely right, sometimes you do have to replace parts or pay upfront for things like an inspection, cleaning, or fixing broken pieces. I'll pass this along to a friend who is debating on getting a well and septic tank for his new home.

Jacque, I would agree with you a new well and septic system should give a homeowner 8-10 years dependable use. Septic systems are designed to be pumped generally every 2-3 years; which in the areas of the country I've lived tends to run about $300+/-. Other than this and perhaps having to change out water filters there shouldn't be any major expenses.

Posted by jaque christo on Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 at 9:40am

I appreciated that explanation about wells. My husband and I want to have one drilled on our property. It's nice to know that I'll need to be prepared to replace the well pump, pressure tank, and filters.

Becca, glad you found the article useful; Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.

Posted by Becca Holton on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 at 5:03pm

There's a house I'm thinking about buying. I've heard that it does have a water well. I appreciate that you mentioned how it's critical to have it inspected by a qualified company. I'll make sure that gets done.

Becca, glad you found the article worthwhile. You're welcome to share it if you have friends or family that you think would benefit. Larry Tollen for the My NC Homes Team

Posted by Becca Holton on Thursday, February 15th, 2018 at 12:48pm

It's good to know that a septic system should be pumped every few years. You also mentioned that they should be inspected as well. I wouldn't mind knowing how often this should be done, especially if it can help a system stay efficient and working properly.

Taylor, Thanks for leaving a comment. We strongly advise our clients when purchasing a home with well and/or septic to have both inspected during their "Diligence Period". There are several different types of septic systems and each has differing requirements in terms of routine inspections. Some are required to be inspected annually others can go a few years in between inspections. Regardless homeowners are wise to have their septic systems inspected by a qualified professional at least every 3 years to make sure everything is operating as intended.

Posted by Taylor Bishop on Tuesday, February 27th, 2018 at 3:41pm

My daughter put a bid on a house outside Baltimore that has a well and septic system. The house has been unoccupied for 2 years.
The bid was accepted but the well tested positive for lead. What remediation can be done (reverse osmosis, filtration system) or, if you were her realtor, would you advise her to withdraw her offer?


I'm not qualified to answer your question. There are certainly filtration options but I don't know what to suggest as the best, what the costs might be and or how effective they may be. I think you'd have to contact a local water filtration company to get these answers.

I do feel this is something a seller needs to address, once they receive a copy of your daughter's report they are legally bound to disclose this information and lead in the water is a potentially very serious issue.

I hope this helps. Larry Tollen

Posted by Lisa Brown on Wednesday, May 9th, 2018 at 11:19am

My brother moved onto a farm property, and he's considering adding a well for his water usage. Your article was great for helping me understand how these systems work, and I especially like how you mention that all wells must be inspected for heavy metals and bacteria to make sure its potable. Thanks for the useful article, I'll be sure to pass this advice onto my brother to help with his well construction.

Posted by Jocelyn McDonald on Friday, May 25th, 2018 at 8:36am

It's great to know that one benefit of using a water well pump is that there are no water bills to worry about. We are planning to have a custom built home and we want to have our own source of water. Knowing of this benefit, I'll consider getting a well pump for our soon to be home.

Posted by James Anderson on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 at 4:02am

It sure is nice to know that one benefit of using well pumps is that it eliminates the need for paying a monthly water bill. I believe that for people who want an uninterrupted supply of water and are not at the mercy of their supplier, well pumps are a great option. I want to experience this also, which is why I'll get the experts to have this installed in our home right away.

james, glad you found our article helpful. As I point out in the article there's pros and cons to any water system. Having owned properties with wells and with municipal water my own experience is that over time the overall cost is about the same, but there's no denying many people prefer wells so that they do have personal control of their water source.

Posted by James Anderson on Monday, June 4th, 2018 at 10:49pm

It sure is nice to know that when choosing to have a well pump installed, one should consider the gallon per minute flow rate of the well, as this will determine the amount of water that can be used in a given amount of time. I want to have a well pump installed in our home so that we have an alternative source of water. To know if this form of water service is right for our location, I'll have it tested by a contractor first so that if the GPM is enough, we'll have it installed immediately.

James- as you point out knowing your wells flow rate is important. Having built many homes that use well water there were instances when we had to install polybutylene holding tanks to make sure there was always adequate water supply for the homeowners and their guests. Typically this was only done on very large homes where 10-12 people at any one time were common. These were typically vacation homes and the owners would regularly bring guests.

Posted by James Anderson on Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 at 12:12am

There's a well being drilled in my town near where I live. I didn't know much about wells before so I decided to try to educate myself a little bit. I had no idea there was a difference between well water and city water, or the well water is more common and available.

Heidi, glad you enjoyed the article. Not sure whether well water is more common but in many rural areas, it's the only option.

Posted by Heidi Bookenstock on Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 at 1:18pm

My husband and I just moved onto a property that has a skeptic system, but we aren't sure how to care for it, as we've never had on before. Your article had some great information about septic system, ad I liked how you said that septic system can save you on sewage bills, but needs to be regularly inspect and pumped to maintain health. Thanks for the help; we'll keep this in min when learning how to to deal with this septic system. Jocelyn, Glad you found the article helpful, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

Posted by Jocelyn McDonald on Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 at 10:14am

My husband and I just moved onto a property with a septic system, and we could use some tips for dealing with this, as we have never had a septic system before. Your article had some great information about septic systems, and I liked how you mentioned that septic systems have no monthly bills, but will need to be inspected and pumped every few years. Thanks for the help; we'll keep this in mind when learning how our septic system works. Jocelyn- Glad you found the article useful. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Posted by Jocelyn McDonald on Monday, July 30th, 2018 at 1:33pm

My husband and I just moved onto a property with a well and septic system, and we could use some tips for using these things as we've never death with them before. Your article had some great information about septic systems and wells, and I liked how you said to keep in mind how the septic system is connected to the number of bedrooms. If we ever want to add a room, we'll keep t your tips in mind . Thanks for the post!

Posted by J. M. on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 at 11:02am

Hey, you know what? I didn't know we had to go through an inspection even if we had a well in our house. I am about to purchase a new house and my wife and I would like to thank you on letting us know such an important consideration we had to include while purchasing a new house.

Glad to hear you found the article helpful.

Posted by Cherry Zhou on Saturday, August 18th, 2018 at 11:42am

I do like that you said that water well won't require you to pay for monthly water bills but will ask you to replace its well pump over time. My husband and I are looking for ways to lower our water bill without changing our water consumption. Our family is getting bigger, so it's best for us to find a cost-effective solution to our high water bills. I will make sure to consider installing a water well soon.

Posted by Lavinia S. on Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 at 2:00am

I really didn't know we had to go through an inspection even after having a well. Trust me, your article has really helped me in knowing that inspection is a must whether or not we have a well. Thanks a lot for sharing all this info with us, mate.

Posted by PuriTeam on Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 at 8:10am

Thanks for talking about how it's necessary to get your well inspected by a professional if you have one. We are planning to move to a home that has a water well in the backyard, so that will be important for us. I also don't know when the last time the previous owner's had it inspected was, so I'd rather not take any risks by letting it go unchecked any longer. We'll have to find a company that could look at it for us.

Posted by Malia Davis on Friday, September 21st, 2018 at 12:58pm

I never knew that a tank needs to be pumped in order for septic tank specialists to do inspections of the tanks. I guess that makes sense, though, because if the tank is filled up, there is no way they would be able to see everything they need to see. We haven't had our tank pumped or inspected in over 6 years now, and I think we need to get it done soon. I'll have to get a specialist that could do both for us now rather than later.

Posted by Jensen Mott on Monday, September 24th, 2018 at 3:02pm

Hey Larry and Team! After reading this VERY informative article, I have a few questions. (NC Homebuyer seeking RTP, Wake Forest, Garner, Clayton.. well... a "Raleigh" region home. Definitely Wake, Nash or Johnston County.) Thanks in advance for any response!!
1. Do homeowners, sellers, ever get inspections prior to listing the home? As in, what's the probability of me viewing or purchasing a home that has had a recent W&S inspection?

2. If the seller HAS had a (seemingly recent) inspection, how much would you trust that inspection?

3. If said home has well and septic(W&S) but also has tap water availability, would it be worth having the water source transitioned although we would have to keep the septic system? Should we wait until there are septic and sewer options before converting the water system? Doesn't matter?

4. This one is a long shot, but: Let's say the home was built in the early 2000s. Chances are they haven't completely replaced or updated the W&S systems. There may be no huge faults but they're obviously getting into the latter of their life. At this point, or soon to come, the new homeowner will be debating about a new system installation or city connections. Knowing this prior to purchasing (and not looking forward to dealing with it), is having the water and sewer system connected to the "city" something negotiable when buying a house? I'm sure its just as costly as having a new W&S installed and some would be grateful for just a few thousand dollars off the price BUT what about others whom don't want to deal with the actual project? If that were needed prior to purchasing the home, is the Seller responsible? In short, am I able to say "Hey we want to buy the house but only if you do XYZ."?

5. LBNL: If you haven't already answered this along with one of the other questions: (NOT in connection with #4 but in regards to homes that DON'T have the tap water option) What obligations do sellers have as far as repairing W&S or lawfully does it have to be in certain standards before selling?

You've got a lot of questions, I'll try my best to answer them. Would love to assist you in you purchase and hope you'll give us a call. Here's some answers:
1 - Statistically improbable. You should plan on getting your own inspection including having the tank pumped. In our area figure somewhere in the range of $800+/- for a through well and septic inspection.
2 - Up to you. If your satisfied with the quality/quantity of your well water there's no real reason to do this. Wells can go dry, can become contaminated with various things and ultimately the well pump and pressure tank as well as any filtering equipment that may be there wears out and needs to be replaced. If the current well is functioning properly I might wait until I was looking at one of these issues before connecting to municipal water.
3. Think of water and sewer as separate; no reason to wait on sewer if you want to connect to municipal water or vise-versa.
4- While you can certainly try working this into your offer, for the most part I'd tell you I doubt you'll be successful. Wells and Septic Systems don't generally wear out, as I mentioned above, a well has a few components that have life expectancies, the pump and pressure tanks for well are the two main ones. If there's filtering equipment it too can eventually wear out. Septic tanks can go 50 years or so, or can develop problems related to roots, improper installation, severe weather conditions an inspection will cover this. There are a number of septic "systems" some have two tanks, some have pumps, etc etc. Depending on the actual system type there may be other parts that could need replacement over time. Fields are generally static and again could potentially last 50 or more years with proper maintenance. Hard for me to know whether it's more cost effective to replace/repair a system versus connect to sewer as there's too many unknowns. Site specific quotes would be needed. One of the most significant advantages of sewer is the ability to expand the number of bedrooms now or in the future if this is of interest to the seller/buyer.
5- No specific laws requiring the seller to do anything. Our contracts are "as-is" in that no seller ever has to do anything related to the condition of the house, however during the "due diligence" period the buyer has the right to terminate. Once inspections are done and the reports delivered to a seller they are required to disclose this information should the buyer terminate. While the buyer can walk, the problems go nowhere and smart sellers and buyers should try to resolve the issues so that everyone feels it's fair. Depending on the type of financing a buyer is getting and the specific problem(s), repairs may be mandated by the lender prior to closing.

Hope this helps, if you're not already working with a buyer broker, give us a call, there's no fee for our service and perhaps we can help you.

Posted by Buying Home in NC on Friday, October 19th, 2018 at 9:50pm

We recently noticed that some renovations were being done to an old house that was previously owned by a family member. We have now found out that the buyer is out of country and purchased the and in order to flip the house. We purchased our property about 20 years ago and once a land survey was conducted; we found out that the septic tank system for the old house is on our property line. Now this septic tank has not been used for more than 30 years. A local construction company is doing the renovations. When we approached them with questions regarding the septic tank the project manager informed us that they will be using the same septic tank system and that we would have to allow them to leave it there where it is. We really have concerns because after 30 years of just sitting there; we are not sure if there would be proper drainage, etc. Is it true that the new owners of this old house will be able to use an antiquated system. Wouldn't they have to follow the installation procedure as if they were installing a new system? Also what and how would we be able to find out what options we have. Any advice would be appreciated.

I would not take the contractors word on this. I'd contact your local municipality and ask them as laws vary by location. Depending on the level of renovation it may be required to update the system. It also may be that the existing system is unussable after all this time, the tank could be cracked from roots or settling and the field may also me impacted by roots. Hope this helps Larry T.

Posted by Mrs. V on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 at 1:05pm

It's good to know that we need to have the well of our new home inspected by a professional so that we can make sure everything is working properly. My husband was going to take a look at it, but since he doesn't have the right tools or expertise, I think it would be better to leave it to a professional who knows what they're doing. I really want to search for the right company by their amount of experience because I think that would make a big difference in the kind of work that they do. If they are experienced in doing inspections, I'm sure they'll do a great job.

Jalu We agree with you wholeheartedly, experience counts and often experienced well and or Septic noted nstallers make for great inspection resources. The My NC. Homes team.

Posted by Jalu Sakti on Thursday, October 25th, 2018 at 2:18pm

My husband and I just moved to a home that has a water well on the property, but we've never used something like this and could use some help. Your article had some information about equipment like this, and I liked how you said that we should hire an inspector to look at the pressure tank under the house so we can make sure its in working order. Thanks; we'll keep this in mind when figuring out our water well.

Posted by Jocelyn McDonald on Thursday, November 1st, 2018 at 1:56pm

You got me when you said that it's important to be aware that you may need to replace the well pump and the pressure tank of your water well. This is something that I will make sure to remember because I'm interested in installing a water well soon. My goal is to be aware of how I can care for it because I don't want it to fail at any given time. Kiara, Glad to hear you found our article useful. Larry T

Posted by kiara woodsland on Monday, November 12th, 2018 at 11:06pm

It's good to know that a septic tank inspection and pumping costs about $500. We are trying to figure out a budget of the things we need to get repaired around our new home, and the septic tank is one of them. Now, we can put that cost into our budget and be able to prepare for it so that we can schedule the maintenance at the right times.

Jen- Glad you found the article helpful. My NC Homes

Posted by Jen Davidson on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 at 11:30am

Thanks for sharing this blog. A septic tank is a living filter that separates scum, solids and pretreats wastewater before it flows out into the drain-field for final purification. It takes 24 to 48 hours for this process. Even a good system not cared for may become a neighborhood health hazard and an expensive problem.

Absolutely a valid point. It's a engineered system and must be properly maintained in order to work correctly. My NC Homes

Posted by Vidhan on Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 at 4:03am

I just bought a house and I have a well and city sewer. Since I don't pay for water, how do I pay sewer?

Kat I don't know where your house is. Call your agent or the former owner and they can tell you. You should have set up your sewer bill before closing so you should receive a bill. My NC Homes

Posted by Kat on Sunday, February 3rd, 2019 at 6:28am

It's nice to know that there are no monthly sewer bills with a septic system. My husband has been researching ways to lower our bills, so this seems like an answer to my prayers! I'll look into finding a sewer contractor to help us out with installing one of these systems. Kate glad you found the article helpful, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. The My NC Homes

Posted by Kate Welling on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 at 4:22pm

It sure got my attention when you said that regular well pump maintenance is needed to ensure that it stays resilient and protected from natural elements and weather conditions. I've noticed that my well pump hasn't been functioning well lately. That is why I'm looking for a pump repair service to help me check and diagnose if there are any known issues in my pump. I'll be sure to ask them to conduct a regular check-up and maintenance in the future.

Florence glad you found the article helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.

Posted by Florence Welch on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 at 10:46pm

I see this is an older article thankyou very informative , in considering a move to Maine I have leaned more toward the side of well water opposed to city water due to the number of children I have . 8 children costs a lot for town water about 2500$ a year. But septic scares me a bit having so many in a home.

Jessica, I definitely would think twice about septic with so many people. Depending on where you live however you may not have an option. If you do buy a home with septic be certain you have the tank pumped and a full inspection done as part of your diligence.


Posted by Jessica Bulloch on Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 at 11:24pm

I like that residential wells can allow you to have no water bills and be more self-sufficient. I have been considering getting a well for my new property on the outskirts of town. It would be nice to have the comfort of knowing I am self-sufficient in case of physical or financial emergency later down the road.

Lyla, while there's no water bills, there's the upfront cost of installing a well. which depending where you live could be anywhere from a $3,000 - $10,000 which pays for a lot of water. Wells can run dry or become contaminated, and there's long term maintenance of pumps, pressure tanks, filtering systems etc. I have nothing against wells, I've lived with them numerous times over the years, their the norm in most rural locations. Speaking only for myself if I had a choice I'd take municipal water over well but frequently there's no choice you take what's available. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Larry Tollen

Posted by Lyla Peterson on Friday, September 13th, 2019 at 12:36pm

I'm glad you explained that homeowners that have a septic system need to have their tank inspected every couple of years. My wife and I want to buy a new home and the house utilizes a septic tank. This information you shared will help us to know how to take proper care of the tank.

Dennis, glad you found my article helpful. Keep us in mind if you're interested in buying in the Durham- Chapel Hill area. Larry

Posted by Dennis Sanchez on Friday, September 27th, 2019 at 6:08pm

Thank you for explaining the whole water well testing process in such a detailed way. We just moved to a house with one of those and I wasn't considering giving it maintenance until now. I sure didn't know that these could go dry. Now I only have to find a company that does the required maintenance!

Joel glad you found the article helpful. If you're looking to buy or sell here in the Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham area give us a call. Larry @ MyNCHomes.

Posted by Wade Joel on Tuesday, October 1st, 2019 at 12:14pm

It's true that a well must be inspected as a part of due diligence. However, it's my first time to have a water well drilled, so I'll hire someone to install the well for me. I'll make sure that they do a good job so that I won't have trouble with water quality in the future.

Angela glad you found the article helpful. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Posted by Angela Waterford on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019 at 7:50pm

It's a really good idea for a home. I think your post is really helpful for every people. I like your post because it's a really informative and helpful. Thank you for share about wells septic systems and city water. This type of information very important for me. Andrew, Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Glad to hear you found the article helpful.
Larry @ My NC Homes

Posted by Andrew Powell on Tuesday, November 12th, 2019 at 1:48pm

That's a good point that wells and sewer systems are often a necessity in more rural areas. My husband and I are talking about building a custom home in the mountains where we wouldn't have access to the city sewage and water systems. I think it will be worth the occasional well and septic maintenance to live in a beautiful location and be fairly self-sufficient.

Lyla, All of us at My NC Homes have lived with every imaginable combination of sewer, septic, city water, well and cisterns and been happy. As you point out a little planning and maintenance of your water and sewer system in order to live where you want and enjoy a level of self sufficiency works in a lot of situations for a lot of folks. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Larry @ My NC Homes

Posted by Lyla Peterson on Wednesday, December 18th, 2019 at 10:13am

Thank you for your tip to have your well inspected if you're buying a home with a well. My brother actually just purchased a ranch that has a few wells on it. I'll recommend that he get them inspected and repaired right away. Skylar, glad to hear you found my article of interest. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Larry@MyNCHomes

Posted by Skylar Williams on Thursday, December 26th, 2019 at 6:16pm

We've been doing well and septic work for nearly 20 years and I found this article to be spot on. The information and advice given in this write up are pretty solid but I will say that it is extremely rare for a well to actually run dry.

Doc, Depends on where you live, I've lived in a number of spots around the country and have encountered wells going dry for any number of reasons. An even bigger problem nowadays is contamination whether from Radon or chemicals from fracking, improper dumping or runoff from farms or golf courses, there's a lot more for homeowners to consider when dealing with wells. I'm not at all opposed to them, I've lived with them many times and there's risks with city water as well. Ultimately the best any of us can do is to do our best to make certain that our clients make smart informed decisions. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Larry@MyNCHomes

Posted by Well Repair Mooresville NC on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 at 1:00pm

It's interesting that water quality varies so that multiple filters need to be inspected. My uncle has been wanting to have a well drilled this year and wants to make sure everything is prepared. I'll be sure to help him find a good contractor that can get it drilled. Taylor glad you found the article helpful. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Posted by Taylor Wright on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020 at 11:14am

Thanks for helping me understand what a septic system is and how it works! I'm about to purchase my own home and I had no idea how a septic system works and where it is located. I like how this article mentioned how septic systems are designed based on the number of bedrooms in the home. I'll keep this in mind.

Zachary, Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Always glad to hear that someone found the information helpful. Larry @ My NC Homes

Posted by Zachary Tomlinson on Tuesday, February 18th, 2020 at 7:55pm

You explained the differences between wells & septic systems pretty well. Really appreciate you effort. Thanks for writing this!

Justin; Thank you for the compliment, really appreciate it and happy to hear you thought I did a good job explaining these systems. Larry @ My NC Homes

Posted by justin barton on Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 at 6:52am

I found it helpful when you explained that septic systems need to be inspected on a regular basis. In addition to that, I would imagine that it would a good idea to look out for signs that the tank needs to be pumped. Someone recently told me that if your home smells stinky, that could be a sign of a clogged tank. Henry, Glad you found the article helpful. Thanks for the tip. Larry @ My NC Homes

Posted by Henry Killingsworth on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 at 2:20pm

Hi Larry,

I'm completely new about this subject. If a land has sewer, does it mean that it also has public potable water system?

The short answer is that it could have city/municipal water or it could have well water.

Most often if you have sewer access you will have municipal water but not always. I have seen many properties that have either city water with septic systems and those with city sewer but private well. If you’re looking here in the Research Triangle area we would love to help you. Larry@My NC Homes



Posted by Sandra on Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 at 7:38pm

I'm looking to buy a home that already has a well installed and I'm not sure how to take care of it. It really helped when you said to hire an inspector to check if there are any fee structures or problems with it. It sounds like a smart idea to upgrade the well system if it's an older model. Taylor Glad you found the article useful. As someone who has lived with well and septic numerous times in the past, if your well is working properly there's no need to update the pump. (If it's not broke; don't fix it). Pumps do have life spans (10+/- years is about average) and when it fails then go ahead and replace it. Pressure tanks, filters etc should be inspected and serviced as needed. Larry@MyNCHomes

Posted by Taylor Hansen on Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 at 1:41pm

It's good to know that you need to have septic systems inspected and pumped on a regular basis. My sister and her spouse are talking about building a house in the countryside next year. I will share this information with them so they will know how to maintain their system. Anna glad to hear you found the article helpful. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Here's to a good year ahead for you and your sister and her husband. Larry @ My NC Homes

Posted by Anna Davis on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020 at 12:39pm

Thanks for explaining the difference between a well and a septic system. My parents are looking to build a cabin on some land they inherited. They mentioned that they'd love to find a professional who can install a water well for them. Sam,

Glad you found the article helpful, and we appreciate your taking the time to leave a comment. Here's to a good new year to come for you and your parents. Larry@My NC Homes

Posted by Sam Gibson on Monday, December 28th, 2020 at 1:58pm

The Well and The septic system should be at any rate 100 Feet apart. As examined over, the septic framework can spill, and that spillage can advance into your well water. A decent broad principle is that every framework ought to be isolated from one another by 100 feet or more. So we need to know huge knowledge of it. I know this very well from your post. Thanks a lot for the nice post. Andrew, Thanks for your comments. LArry @ My NC Homes

Posted by Andrew Nelson on Saturday, January 16th, 2021 at 2:00am

Hi Larry,

This is a really important issue that you're discussing and I appreciate the time you're taking to answer questions. I'm looking at buying a home in a Florida beach town. Just about every house is on septic in this municipality. The house I'm interested in notes city water, but says nothing about sewer -- does it follow then that it offers city sewer?



Russ, it's definitely not uncommon to have city water and a septic field. Running water lines isn't quite as complicated or regulated as running sewer lines. Larry @ My NC Homes

Posted by Russ Supplee on Monday, January 18th, 2021 at 6:33pm

I found it helpful when you mentioned that homeowners will have to replace the filters and pressure tanks in a well pump over time. Replacing the pressure tank makes sense because if you have a faulty one, the water in your home is probably not going to flow out of anything very quickly. Getting new filters on a regular basis makes sense because you would want to keep bacteria and harmful metals out of your water.

Posted by Thomas Clarence on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021 at 3:36pm

I find it helpful to know that even though there are no monthly water bills if you choose a water well system for your home, you would still need to be prepared to replace the well pump, the pressure tank, and the filters in the future. This is an excellent piece of information for me and my husband since we plan on having a water well drilled in our new countryside home. If there are any problems with its well pump, we will definitely contact a repair service as soon as possible to fix it. This way, we wouldn't have to have it replaced prematurely. Thanks!

Levi- Glad you found the information helpful. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Larry@ My NC Homes

Posted by Levi Armstrong on Thursday, March 11th, 2021 at 10:40pm

Thanks for explaining the differences between wells and septic systems. My brother and his wife want to have a water well drilled soon. This info should be helpful when they hire a water well drilling service! Rebecca, glad you found some good information in our article. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Larry@ My NC Homes

Posted by Rebecca Gardner on Wednesday, March 24th, 2021 at 2:33pm

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