Are you building a house in a rural area or want to give up city water? The average cost to drill a well varies based on the well depth, diameter, casing type, and type of terrain. For a 4-inch diameter, 150-foot deep well, for example, you can expect to pay around $5,500. These prices will go up if you have to build a deeper well or if you have a difficult terrain.
Wondering how much it costs to dig a deeper well? Do you want to know how much it costs to build a well in your state? Read on to find out the latest average water well drilling costs.
Well Drilling Methods Explained
There are several types of drilling methods used for water wells. The type that must be employed depends on the well depth and a variety of other factors. Let’s check them out:
- Rotary drilling: One of the most popular well drilling methods is an industrial rotary drill that breaks the soil layers and carries the cutting material to the surface. Rotary drilling is used for drilling wells on muddy or bedrock soils.
- Cable tool drilling: Operates by raising and dropping a heavy drill string into the drill hole. The rhythmic rising and dropping motion helps break sand or clay soils and break up rocks into easy-to-remove cuttings.
- Auger drilling: This type of well drilling method is often used in areas where sand is predominant. Depending on the type of soil, auger drills can be used alone for drilling the entire well or only for the upper portion. In the latter case, a cable tool drill is used for drilling the lower part of the well.
- Hand driving: This method is used in areas where groundwater is closer to the surface, such as the proximity of lakes or riverbeds. Hand-driving requires a simple installation and is inexpensive. However, this method is only suitable for drilling in sandy soils with no bedrock or boulders. Very fine sand, hard clay, and slit are challenging to drive through and require a more powerful drill.
- Jetting: Another simple and inexpensive method, jetting is generally used for drilling wells with a smaller diameter in sandy soil. The equipment is relatively inexpensive, making it an excellent method to use if you want to drill the well yourself.
- Hollow-rod drilling: Also known as hydraulic percussion drilling, hollow-rod drilling is employed for digging water wells with a tiny diameter (2 inches). Occasionally, hollow-rod drilling is also used for 4-inch casings in looser, less challenging soil conditions. The method is inexpensive and easy to do yourself.
- Downhole hammer: Not a drilling instrument on its own, the downhole hammer is often used with a rotary drill for faster penetration of consolidated soil formations. This method is used for drilling wells with a diameter of 6 inches or more.
- Dual tube rotary: Delivering the ability to drill in challenging conditions, the dual tube rotary has a conventional top drive drill that opens the hole in the ground. A lower rotary drive is used to set the casing without additional equipment.
- Sonic drill: This type of equipment uses high-frequency mechanical oscillations to allow faster penetration in challenging soils, including boulders and bedrocks. Sonic drilling may also be required for drilling in saturated sands and gravels, clay, cobbles, and hard tills.
- Directional drilling: This method is used for wells that can’t be drilled with the methods above when trying to reach aquifers beneath land where drilling cannot be done. For instance, you can use directional drilling to access water under a railroad. This is the simplest way to drill wells at an angle.
Average Well Drilling & Digging Cost per Foot
Should you dig or drill a well, cost analysis. Digging wells is less expensive than drilling, but digging is only feasible if the aquifer is shallow (10-30 feet deep). Most dug wells have a large diameter, and their casing can be made of various materials, including brick. Deeper wells between 30 and 50 feet deep are constructed by driving a pipe into the ground.
Both dug and drove wells can be easily contaminated because they draw water from aquifers near the surface.
Digging a well will cost you between $10 and $25 per square foot, on average, depending on the type of soil you have. Drilling is much more expensive, the costs going up based on the well depth, well diameter, and soil type. On average, you can expect to pay between $35 and $85 per foot for a complete system.
Check the table below to see how much you should expect to pay on average for a complete water well system.
|Well depth (feet)||4-inch diameter||6-inch diameter||8-inch diameter|
Well Drilling Price Factors
There are many factors to consider when working out the water well drilling price. Let’s check them out in detail.
Shallow vs. Deep Wells
The well depth is one of the main factors to account for when building a well. As highlighted in the table above, the deeper the well, the more expensive it will be to drill it. Shallow wells may not require any drilling at all.
If the aquifer is located at less than 30 feet from the ground, you may be able to dig it and save up heaps of cash – digging a well rarely exceeds $25 on average. Likewise, drilling a shallower well is cheaper than drilling a deep well.
The type of terrain also matters. Difficult terrains require the use of more expensive drilling equipment, and the process is more complicated. Thus, you’ll pay more by foot if the terrain is challenging.
Digging & Drilling Permits
Depending on your county, digging and drilling permit costs vary between $5 and $500. Not only will you need digging or drilling permits (without which building a water well is illegal), but you may also need residential and irrigation permits.
Most contractors will work with you and assist in the permitting process, but if you want to build the well yourself, you should contact your local authorities and sort out any permits you need before starting.
Distance to Home
The installations needed to bring water from the well into your home also count toward the total costs. Water pipes alone cost between $50 and $150 to buy and install. Besides, you’ll also have to consider the charges of electrical supply lines.
Professional water testing is essential to ensure your water is clean and safe to drink. The costs range between $100 and $500 and are carried out before building the well.
DIY water testing kits are also available (they cost between $30 and $150, depending on how many contaminants they test for) but are less reliable than professional testing.
If your water is contaminated, you can still build a well but will have to filter it before drinking and cooking with it. Water purification options range from water filter pitchers to whole-house water filtering systems which are ideal for treating well water with iron.
Private vs. Municipal Water Costs
Building a water well may seem expensive up front, but you’ll save in the long run. Considering a household consumption of 12,000 gallons per month, municipal water will cost you about $73 on average ($876 per year).
You’ll only pay around $41.6 per month for the same water consumption if you have a well. This means you’ll get to keep over $350 in your pocket each year.
Installation Costs of Well Types
Well Irrigation Systems Costs
Irrigation water wells tend to be more expensive than drinking water wells. A residential well irrigation system is cheaper than a commercial or industrial one, but you can still expect to pay between $5,000 and 12,000.
Larger wells built for farms or orchards can cost as much as $75,000, but this price includes the well pump, casing, electric wiring, electric switch, pressure storage tank, as well as the costs of drilling.
Artesian Well Costs
Artesian wells are built over artesian aquifers. This type of aquifer holds water underground using pressure and generally requires less digging because water is closer to the surface.
If you have an artesian aquifer and want to build a well for residential use, you can expect to spend at least 1,000 less than you would for creating a well irrigation system (between $4,000 and $10,000 for a complete system).
The construction price includes the casing pipe, pressure storage tank, water treatment system, and water heater for these wells.
Sand Point Well Costs
If you live in an area with soft, sandy ground, building a sand point well might save you some money. Sand point wells are driven wells that delve down between 10 and 25 feet. Not only will you pay less due to the shallower depth, but the driving equipment is also less expensive and easier to operate than a drill.
You can expect to pay between $200 and $1,500 for the entire system. Keep in mind that these wells are less reliable than drilled wells, so they should be used as backup supplies or for intermittent use.
Is It Illegal to Drill Your Own Well?
No, it is not illegal to drill your own well. However, the costs could be high. The first thing to do is determine the underground water supply and see if you should drill or drive based on the depth of your aquifer.
Next, you must require all necessary permits. Some counties may not require a license. However, because drinking water is a matter of public health, you’ll likely need some permits for drilling a well. Contact your local authorities and make sure to require all permits.
Some well drilling companies include these costs in their well drilling pricing; that’s why you may save a buck if you decide to hire a pro.
Hiring well drilling or driving equipment is also expensive. A drilling rig costs about $650 per day, and it may take several days to drill the well.
How to drill a water well yourself
Total Time: 30 minutes
Dig Pilot Hole
Dig a 2-foot pilot hole with the post hole digger
Drive the first section
Drive the first section of the well point with the post driver until you left around 10 inches above the ground.
Add An Internally Threaded Coupling
Remove the cap and install an internally threaded coupling, replace the cap to protect the coupling, then add a new pipe section until you’re left with around 10 inches above the ground. Repeat until you reach the water – you will hear a hollow sound when you strike the pipe.
Find The Depth
Use the weighted string to determine how deep you are into the water. Drop the string until it hits the bottom and pull it back up. Check the length of the string that is wet to determine depth. Continue driving the well point until the entire screen is underwater.
Connect The Pump
Connect the pump to the well and check how fast it draws water. Driven wells don’t have the output of a drilled well, but you should still be able to drive at least five gallons per minute.
Estimated Cost: 50 USD
- A well point
- Galvanized steel riser pipe
- Pipe-thread compound
- Post hole digger
- Post driver
Materials: Couplings Drive cap 30-foot string with a weight attached at the end
If your output is under five gallons, continue driving the pump. Reattach the pump after each section (5-foot increments) to check the output. You can stop driving and leave the pump attached when the output reaches or exceeds the 5-gallon threshold.
You can now connect your DIY well system to your house plumbing or collect water in containers or a water tank and store it for later use.
Here is a useful video on how to drill a well yourself which in most cases will be the least costly option:
How About Hiring a Pro?
Hiring a pro might seem expensive when you receive the quote, but it often is more affordable than drilling the well yourself. Most professional quotes include all well drilling related costs, such as permits, materials, and labor.
You won’t have to worry about safety either, and some contractors will even include water testing costs in their prices.
Well Drilling Costs by State
We’ve seen the average water well drilling costs, but how much does it cost to drill a well in your state? Let’s see how much you can expect to spend in some of America’s states.
- Average water well drilling costs in Texas: $30-$55 per foot
- Average water well drilling costs in Colorado: $20-$40 per foot
- Average water well drilling costs in West Virginia: $27-$59 per foot
- Average water well drilling costs in Missouri: $27-$59 per foot
- Average water well drilling costs in Oklahoma: $20-$40 per foot
- Average water well drilling costs in Arizona: $27-$58 per foot
- Average water well drilling costs in Alberta, Canada: $30-$50 per foot
Other Additional Costs
While some companies include additional costs in their prices, others will only quote you for the drilling work. If that’s the case, here are other additional costs you should know about.
|Pressure storage tank||$1,400-$2,400|
|Water treatment & purification system||$800-$2,600|
How Much Does It Cost to Put in a Well and Septic System
A septic system helps you clean and dispose of your wastewater safely. Installing one is necessary if you plan to live off the grid, but having one may also come in handy in case of natural disasters and emergencies.
If you plan to drill a well and install a septic system along with it, you can expect to spend between $5,000 and $22,500.
If you already have a well and only need a septic system, expect to pay around $2,800 and $8,000 for its installation.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Well Pump?
Well pumps draw water out of the well. Replacing a well pump costs between $930 and $2,500 on average. If you don’t mind a smaller pump, you could spend as low as $200. Likewise, you can drop up to $4,500 for a bigger or more performing pump.
Related Reading: Well Pumps Troubleshooting Guide
How Much Does It Cost to Redrill a Well?
While precipitation replenishes aquifers, redrilling a well deeper may be required sometimes. Increases in the depth allow you to access more water and increase flow as well as heating.
The drilling cost per foot remains the same as drilling a new well, but you won’t have to buy a new pump and equipment other than an additional casing. Depending on the depth, expect to spend between $300 and $600 for labor and materials.
Water Well Related FAQ
How Much Does It Cost to Maintain a Well?
Well maintenance costs between $300 and $500 per year, on average. This amount includes the costs of electricity required to run the pump.
How Long Does It Take to Drill a Water Well?
Depending on the weather, conditions of the ground, and water depth, it can take up to three days to drill and install a new well. Redrilling a well deeper generally takes a day or less.
How much does it cost to drill a 300-Foot Well?
Drilling a 300-foot well will cost you between $10,650 and $25,200, on average. Depending on the ground you have, water depth, and the state/county you live in, you may spend more or less.
Drilling a well doesn’t cost peanuts, but the investment is well worth it. Using well water can save you hundreds of dollars each year, not to mention you’ll never be dependent on municipal water supplies—more than enough reasons to consider building a well water system for your home.
Thank you, Andrew. Your knowledge is Miles ahead of others’. Truly, you are a deep well of information. Say “Hello” to your daughter for me.
Thanks John. I’ve been wanting to do a brain dump of all this info I have collected over the years. Glad you found it useful. Will be enjoying fireworks tonight with the fam.
Thanks for the info that it costs between $930-$2,500 to replace a well pump. I just purchased a piece of land, and I would like to drill a well and get a new well pump before the end of the year. I’ll start budgeting and look for a professional that can help with well drilling as soon as possible.
I like that you talked about how using well water could save you hundreds of dollars each year. Having an alternative water supply would definitely be useful, so we want to have a well on our property. So for that, we should probably hire a well drilling company soon.