How Often Should Well Water Be Tested

Every day that you are drinking the well water out of your faucet could be a risk. If you want to have that peace of mind with your well water you should definitely get it tested. How often should well water be tested? Well water should be tested once a year depending upon findings in the water test. However, you might want to consider testing the well water a couple of times a year. One of the best times to test it is right before the holidays when the family is visiting.

Let’s take a look below at why we should test our well water and what we should be concerned about within the process.

Water Quality

As a homeowner, you should be well aware that all privately owned wells are to be maintained by the owner and tested regularly for contaminants. On the other hand, all public water systems are required to follow the standards and regulations set by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Test your water often for contaminants
Test your water often for contaminants

How Often Should I Test

Believe it or not, you will want to test your water at least once a year. However, test more frequently if you have a poor initially tested sample. During a year a lot can happen to your well and groundwater runoff as well as other environmental factors that could change the quality of your water. Using a water softener for filtration is only a small part of the process. In many states, you are going to test for the following:

  • Total coliform bacteria-microorganisms in the water that are potentially harmful to human health.
  • Nitrates-high nitrate concentrations can be particularly dangerous for infants. Found in groundwater due to fertilizing.
  • Total dissolved solids-represent the amount of inorganic substances (i.e. sodium, chloride, sulphate). High total dissolved solids (TDS) makes the water less drinkable.
  • pH levels-measure of the amount of free hydrogen and hydroxyl ions in the water.
  • Sulfate-too much causes gastrointestinal irritation or diarrhea.
  • Fluoride-essential, however, excessive amounts can cause dental issues.

The importance of testing for those items is vital to determining the quality of your water source and ensuring that everyone in the home can drink the water, bathe with the water, and use the water for laundry.

Well full of water
Well full of water

Testing in New Hampshire and Vermont

Testing recommendations will vary by state. Our recommended well water testing meets all New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES) and Vermont Health Recommendations. The test looks at the following analytes: Arsenic, Bacteria, Chloride, Copper, Fluoride, Gross Alpha, Hardness, Iron, Lead, Manganese, Nitrate/Nitrite, pH, Radon, Sodium, Uranium. We can perform a la carte testing too if you just need to confirm something specific.

Your Region and Recommendations

We can also perform special sampling for more uncommon problems, such as many rare inorganic metals, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). If your well is near a monitoring well, landfill, gas station, Environmental Cleanup Site, an industrial park, etc. you may want to consider additional testing for these substances. We recommend that you contact Vermont Health or NH DES to determine if this testing is recommended in your region.

Cost For Water Testing

Checking your water routinely by testing it, is a simple and inexpensive way that you can ensure that your water supply is safe and to protect your family’s health. Some companies may advertise it as free, but it comes with a price.

Although many well water treatment companies will provide you with a free well water test, Twin State Inspections isn’t out to sell our clients any expensive treatment systems. We just want you to have the knowledge so you know how to focus your money if/when treatment is needed. The price is determined by what test is needed and we can provide a quote for you.

Who Tests the Well Water

Well water should be sampled and tested by a qualified, disinterested, independent third party. Water quality tests performed by others should be reviewed by someone else before making purchase decisions.

The rationale is this: Water treatment systems are extremely expensive. Some water quality issues are considered “secondary” matters and do not typically result in health concerns. “Primary” matters need to be treated or addressed and can sometimes be addressed very inexpensively without an elaborate system being installed. For example, Iron and Manganese in water are typically considered secondary concerns. Excessive Lead and Arsenic, however, are primary health concerns and should be treated when over the limits.

You might see brown well water develop and that could be due to iron and manganese, but it could also be rusty pipes or mud in the pump. Testing the water is the best thing to do to find out the culprit and keep the family healthy.

Testing Water on Your Own

If you are financing (or refinancing) a home using a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) backed loan, you can not perform your own well water testing. This is to ensure that the results are accurate and that they actually came from the home you are buying or refinancing (read between the lines here — a few bad eggs ruin it for everyone…). Your real estate agent may not perform these water tests for you. You must use a disinterested third party. We have special well water testing prices only for Veterans who need it for your VA (re-)financing.

Well Water Report: What Do I Do With It

If you own real estate in New Hampshire or Vermont and you have received a copy of someone else’s well water report (such as from a real estate agent, a home seller, a water treatment company), please send it to us for a free telephone/zoom meeting review. We will review your water quality results with you by telephone or over Zoom to be certain that they make sense!

Send the lab report to us at and use the subject line, “Water Quality Report Review Request.”

While you are taking time to have the water tested, you can also pay attention to other things around your house. Checking the yard to make sure that the landscaping is not allowing water to run towards the house. One way to do this is by avoiding negative grading. The yard should slope away from the home so that the water flows in the opposite direction.

Another area to pay attention to is making sure the gutters are clean and the downspouts extend away from the home. The magic number of feet is 10 feet if possible.

Lastly, if you have a sump pump in your basement and happen to be outside and the yard has a lot of water, there could be a problem. The sump pump may be draining in the yard due to a high water table, water pipes rupture, pump rate is too fast, or the drain field is poor.

Classic hand pump well
Classic hand pump well

When Do I Call A Professional

What is going on with your well water? Would you like an opinion of someone who is trained in this area, contact a licensed well water contractor. Hiring a professionally licensed well water contractor can help you determine what’s going on with your well water.


When your well water starts to smell horrible, we get nervous.  Most of the time it isn’t a big deal but it is good to have it tested just in case. It is important to ensure that the well water plumbing is intact and not allowing chemicals from ground runoff into your drinking source.  With this in mind, maintenance and well inspections should be done regularly.  We will take a look at the water coming out of your faucets and how the well is working during our home inspections in the twin state areas of VT, and NH.