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How Much Does It Cost To Drill Or Dig A Well?

National Average
$5,500
Low End
$1,500
High End
$12,000

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Drilling a well costs $5,500 for an average depth of 150 feet. Most projects range between $1,500 and $12,000. Expect to pay between $15 and $30 per foot of depth, or up to $50 for difficult terrain. Digging might be enough for shallow depths, ranging between $10 and $25 per square foot.
You can build a well on your property for several reasons. It draws water for residential or agricultural needs. It can also draw geothermal fluids to heat your home. Fluids rise to the surface through either a pump or an artesian system.
This is a major project that requires the help of a professional. Working with experts helps you keep your property and yourself safe. It can also ease the permitting process for the project.

Average Costs per Foot of Well Drilling & Digging

Digging a well is about $10 to $25 per square foot. Drilling increases that price to $15 to $30. These only include the digging or drilling process itself, not any extra work or equipment.
Digging is commonly used for shallow depths, where the hole does not have to penetrate soils that are more difficult to reach. For depths approaching 100 and more feet, digging isn't enough. Difficult terrain such as rocky soil might require drilling regardless of depth.

Residential Water Wells - $15 - $25 per square foot

Residential projects tend to be less expensive. Drilling costs between $15 and $25 per square foot, before considering additional installation needs. Small wells are more loosely regulated than the systems discussed below.
The process is straightforward. After boring the whole, it needs to be cased and connected to your water lines. Deep holes may require multiple drill bits to account for changing soil and rock types. Casing and water line connection increases expenses, but most pros account for multiple drill bits in their initial quote.

Irrigation or Agricultural - $35 - $55 per square foot

Per foot, expect to pay between $35 and $55 or above for agricultural and commercial uses. These costs are for drilling only but do account for the more complex process.
The borehole must be larger and is often deeper to account for more volume. Water quality regulations vary from state to state and can be very strict, requiring extra purification measures and more.

Artesian - $25 - $45 per square foot

Using an aquifer instead of an electric pump will cost between $25 and $45 per square foot for the drilling. This artesian system takes advantage of rock layers that confine water under pressure. The well releases that pressure, causing the fluid to rise naturally.
Initially high costs are offset by low maintenance and operation expenses. You will not need a pump or electricity to operate it. The process is similar to residential and commercial but needs the perfect location and careful drilling.

Geothermal Well Digging - $20 - $40 per square foot

Geothermal drilling is priced at $20 to $40 per square foot for the initial hole. However, it requires a different process to draw up geothermal energy. A specialized geothermal drill rig will be necessary. The hole must be at least 150 feet deep.
In total, a geothermal heating system installation costs between $3,500 and $12,500, which includes the well. Every 500 square feet in your home will need about 200 feet of depth to heat. For homes above 1,000 square feet, you might need two wells.

Redrilling a Well Deeper

You might be looking to increase the depth of your existing well. This can increase water volume or improve your heating source. Cost per foot tends to remain the same as each of the alternatives above. Depending on the additional depth, a pro can complete the project in a single day for $300 to $600 in labor plus materials.
Consult with a Professional When Choosing a Well
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Water Well Costs – New System Installation

The range of $1,500 to $12,000 makes more sense once you break it into its components. Drilling is only the beginning. You also must consider everything that comes after the hole.
Cost Estimates of a Water Well
Material/ApplianceUnit CostLabor PricePurpose
Well Pump$100 - $1,200$50 - $200pumps groundwater to the surface
Casing Pipe$630 - $2,400$200 - $600protects well walls to prevent contamination
Pressure Switch & Electrical Wiring$50 - $150$160 - $500operates pump
Pressure Storage Tank$1,400 - $2,400$200 - $500holds the pumped water until used
Water Treatment & Purification System$800 - $2,600$200 - $400keeps the water clean and healthy
Water Heater$730 - $1,400*$270 - $520heats water for home use
*Other water heater options: tankless heater ($900 - $2,700), solar heater ($2,000 - $5,300).

Estimate Cost of Putting in an Irrigation Water Well

Agricultural projects tend to be more expensive. Residential irrigation options cost between $5,000 and $12,000. Large, commercial drilling can be as much as $75,000. Price factors to consider include:
Cost Estimates of an Irrigation Well
Material/ApplianceUnitLabor
Well Pump$300 - $1,200$50 - $200
Casing Pipe$630 - $2,400$200 - $600
Pressure Switch & Electrical Wiring$50 - $150$160 - $500
Pressure Storage Tank$1,400 - $2,400$200 - $500
Only low water quality requires a treatment system. You will not need to heat the water in most cases.

Building an Artesian Well

This option ranges between $4,000 and $10,000 in total expenses. Drilling is more complex and strategic, but you will not need electricity to draw water.
Cost Estimates of an Artesian Well
Material/ApplianceUnitLabor
Casing Pipe$630 - $2,400$200 - $600
Pressure Storage Tank$1,400 - $2,400$200 - $500
Water Treatment/Purification$800 - $2,600$200 - $400
Water Heater$730 - $5,300$270 - $520

Sand Point Well

At $200 to $1,500, a sand point option is significantly less expensive than its alternatives. However, this hand-driven option is also less reliable. It's best for intermittent use, not your regular water supply or commercial irrigation.
Cost Estimates of a Sand Point Well
Material/ApplianceUnitLabor
Hand Pump$150 - $500$50 - $150
Small Water Tank$700 - $1,500$150 - $340
Even a small water tank is optional. Some homeowners use this option only to water their gardens or other purposes as needed.
Hire a Pro to Dig your Water Well
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Cost Factors

The wide range of $1,500 to $12,000 shows how many factors influence project expense. You must consider the depth and location, distance to your home, permits, water testing, and other variables.

Depth – Shallow vs. Deep Wells

Because most averages depend on depth, this is the biggest variable. Most projects drill between 100 and 400 feet. If ground water is close to the surface, you might only need a 25-foot depth.
Shallow water sources are more easily contaminated. Local authorities often regulate the necessary depth. Talk to an expert to find the ideal depth for your home.

Geographic Location

The quality of your soil can significantly increase expenses, up to $50 per foot of drilling. Your geographic location often determines that quality. Lower water levels require deeper holes, also raising expenses. Average prices differ by state:
  • California - $25 to $50 per foot
  • Colorado - $ 20 to $40 per foot
  • Florida - $ 15 to $30 per foot
  • Montana - $ 25 to $45 per foot
  • Oklahoma - $20 to $40 per foot
  • Texas - $30 to $55 per foot
  • Washington State - $30 to $50 per foot
  • Wisconsin - $20 - $45 per foot
  • Wyoming - $30 - $50 per foot

Permits

Permit fees depend on your county and range from $5 to $500. This is an essential cost before you start digging. Without a permit, you could risk legal trouble.
Most contractors help in the permitting process. In some counties, fees for residential and irrigational permits differ. Work with your expert throughout this process to get the paperwork right.

Distance to House

Digging or drilling close to your home reduces the price tag. Waterline and electrical supply lines are shorter. Given the average cost to install a water main, every foot closer to your home saves between $50 and $150 for pipes alone.

Water Testing

Testing your water ranges between $30 and $150 for a DIY kit, or $100 to $500 when hiring a pro. It's a necessary first step to make sure the water is safe. You need to make sure your water is safe and clean.
Most pros will include this cost in their initial site inspection. They draw samples and submit them for a lab for thorough analysis. DIY kits typically show instant but less reliable results.

Putting in a Well & Septic System

On its own, installing a septic system costs between $2,800 and $8,000, with an average around $5,000. Total expenses for well and septic system drilling and installation range between $5,000 and $22,500. Some, but not all well installation professionals can also drill and install this type of system.
A septic system helps you safely clean and dispose of wastewater. This option is necessary if you plan to live off the grid. A well gets you clean water, and the septic system disposes of it. Within the overall cost, an underground tank and soil absorption system are the biggest price factors.

Private Well vs. Municipal Water System Savings

The initial investment is higher, but a private well can result in savings over time. Monthly, you will only have to pay for the electricity of operating the pump. You also need to account for annual maintenance of $100 to $250.
With an average use of 12,000 gallons per month, a private well can save you up to $500 per year. Your utility costs are also more stable. Even if you use more water in a month, you will not pay more as you would on your municipal bill.
As septic tanks and wells age, their expenses increase. Every 20 to 30 years, you’ll pay up to $10,000 in replacing the water tank, pump, and more.
Hire a Drilling Professional to Install Your Well and Septic Tank
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Hiring a Pro vs. a DIY Construction

Technically, you can install a well on your own. But costs quickly add up, and safety becomes a problem. If you do decide on DIY construction, expect to pay for a few individual factors:
  • Renting a drill rig: $600 - $800 per day.
  • Casing, Pipes, and Tubing: $50 - $150 per foot of depth.
Other factors mentioned above will also raise expenses. Permit, pump, and water tank all cost extra. Hiring a pro ensures proper installation and makes the price more reliable. Making sure that the drilling and installation is correct also saves on long-term expenses. Get multiple quotes to better understand the prices for your situation.
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