If you’re on a private well supply, you’ve probably noticed that your water isn’t consistent throughout the year.
Here, we’ve covered the seasonal factors that may influence changes to your well water, and how your well water might change from one season to the next. We’ve also shared the best solutions to any changes that may be problematic.
📌 Key Takeaways:
- The yield and quality of water in a private well might change with the seasons.
- Heavy rainfall, changing temperatures, and changes in local land use throughout the year may alter your well water.
- You can reduce any seasonal effects on your well by monitoring your water quality, installing a water treatment system, maintaining your well, and conserving your water.
Table of Contents
🌦️ How Might Well Water Change From Season To Season?
There are a few ways in which well water might change from season to season:
One of the possible changes to your well water during certain seasons is altered taste.
During spring and autumn, when rainfall is higher, and during winter in states that see a lot of snow, a higher concentration of contaminants from the surrounding rocks and soils could end up contaminating groundwater, affecting its taste.
Iron and hydrogen sulfide are two common taste-altering well water contaminants. These contaminants are commonly found in well water because they’re in the rocks surrounding the well aquifer (depending on your local geology).
You might notice that your water takes on a metallic taste if its iron levels increase, or an eggy taste if it contains higher levels of hydrogen sulfide.
Change In Smell
Many of the contaminants that could increase in concentration at certain times of the year may also affect your water’s smell.
Again, hydrogen sulfide and iron are the key culprits, giving water a metallic or rotten egg smell.
Your water’s appearance might be altered by certain contaminants that are present in larger quantities in certain seasons.
For instance, if a rainy season contaminates your well with high sediment levels, you may notice floating particulates in your water, cloudiness, or a layer of sediment at the bottom of the water once it settles in a glass.
Staining is another issue that’s often linked to water’s appearance. Iron causes water to leave orangey-red stains on surfaces. Manganese, another contaminant that may increase in concentration at certain times of the year, leaves dark brown or black stains on your plumbing and fixtures.
🚰 Well Water Throughout The Seasons
Below, we’ve shared how your well water might have changed in each of the four seasons.
A traditional winter is relatively dry, with occasional bouts of snow. Snowmelt may lead to higher levels of sediment and minerals in your well. Of course, you might live in a region that sees mild winters with no snow or freezing. If so, you probably won’t see much of a difference in your well water quality during this season.
Spring is typically a time of maximum precipitation. Increased rainfall in your area will replenish your well supply ahead of a hot, dry summer, which is a good thing – but it may also wash higher concentrations of minerals, metals, and other contaminants into your well water, causing it to take on an altered taste, color, and odor.
Summer is a hot, dry season in most states. For a few weeks to a few months, you may see very little rainfall, resulting in water shortages and possibly prompting your local authority to issue regulations on water use. This lack of water will cause your well’s water level to fall. This could increase issues with water quality due to the reduced volume of water with the same presence of contaminants.
Fall should see more precipitation, giving your well the chance to replenish its water stocks. Unless you live in a state that gets a lot of rainfall, this time of the year is usually the least impactful on well water quality or yield. Your well water will likely be closest to “normal”, or what you’re used to, compared to in the other seasons.
🔎 Seasonal Factors That May Influence Changes To Well Water
Want to know more about the seasonal factors that might influence changes to your well water?
We’ve shared them below:
Groundwater Levels And Recharge Rates
Your groundwater level is one of the biggest factors that influence well water changes.
It’s normal for groundwater levels to fluctuate from season to season due to the local climate and weather. During seasons that see more rain, your groundwater levels will likely be higher, and your well will replenish itself at a faster rate. During hot, dry seasons with little precipitation, your groundwater levels will be lower, and your well will recharge at a slower rate, potentially affecting your water availability.
It’s not just the weather that affects a well’s recharge rate. Soil and vegetation types, geology and topography also affect the flow of water through the ground, and therefore the rate at which well aquifers are replenished.
Rainfall And Snowmelt
Precipitation patterns from one season to the next, including rainfall and snowmelt, may lead to changes in your well water.
When your region is hit with heavy rainfall or snow, a larger volume of water will infiltrate the ground, recharging your well aquifer at a faster rate. Periods of high rainfall may also introduce particulates and debris into the aquifer that weren’t previously there, potentially affecting your water quality.
On the other end, a lack of rain will decrease the groundwater recharge rate, potentially affecting your water quality and putting your well at risk of running low or drying out.
Fluctuations in temperature can also affect your well water volume and quality.
Very warm weather may decrease the water levels in a well, especially since heat is usually combined with a lack of precipitation. Certain minerals and gases are more soluble in warm water, which may lead to variations in your water quality.
Warmer temperatures also increase biological activity, increasing the likelihood of microbiological contamination in your well.
Thankfully, if your well’s construction is sound and there are no nearby sources of microbial contamination, it shouldn’t be affected by pathogens.
Agricultural Activities & Changes In Land Use
If you live in an agricultural area, you’ll know that farmers ramp up their agricultural activities in the spring and summer months.
An increased use of fertilizers in your region increases the likelihood of your well becoming contaminated with chemicals, particularly in the event of heavy rainfall.
Additionally, changes in land use, such as construction and urbanization activities, may also cause contaminants to infiltrate into groundwater, affecting your well water quality.
Seasonal Extreme Weather & Natural Disasters
Some regions are prone to extreme weather and natural disasters at certain times of the year.
Tsunamis, hurricanes, and other events may affect your local geology or lead to flooding, causing your well to become contaminated with chemicals and pollutants from the environment.
An earthquake may damage your well’s structure, causing contaminants from the surrounding land to enter your water supply through a crack or hole in the well screen or casing.
⚙️ What To Do About Well Water That Changes With The Seasons
How can you reduce the seasonal effects on your well? Here’s what we advise:
Regularly Test Your Water
Our first tip is to regularly test your water to monitor water quality.
You won’t know how your well water has changed in quality if you don’t know what “normal” quality is.
Test your well water at least once a year, or whenever you notice a change in your water’s taste, appearance, or odor, or if someone in your household gets sick and you suspect your water supply.
You should test for all the common well water contaminants, plus any contaminants of concern in your local area.
If any new or concerning contaminants are detected in your water, you can establish a solution to improve your water quality.
Install A Water Treatment System
The best way to treat the effects of changing water quality with the seasons is to install a water treatment system that will remove certain contaminants year-round.
Here are a few different water treatment systems to consider based on which contaminants might fluctuate in your water:
- An injection/oxidation system – For water containing iron, sulfur, and manganese
- A water softener – For water that’s high in hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium)
- A tannins filter – For water that contains tannins
- A sediment filter – For water that’s high in sediment (sand, dust, dirt, rust, etc.)
- A UV purifier – For water that’s at risk of microbiological contamination
Even if your water quality varies throughout the year, it’s best to have a water treatment system installed for year-round use. That means you’re protected from season to season against any changes to your water that could affect its taste, smell, or appearance, or even make it unsafe to drink.
Most water treatment systems for wells are point of entry (POE) systems. That means the water gets treated as soon as it enters your home, protecting your plumbing and appliances from contaminants that could stain or damage them.
Maintain Your Well
Your well is less likely to be negatively affected by the changing climate and geology in your area if it’s properly maintained.
Get your well inspected once a year and ensure that it’s properly sealed to prevent sources of contamination from seeping into your groundwater. Check the well for visible damage and repair or replace anything you notice as soon as possible.
Most wells have a 20-30-year lifespan, but some last longer than this with the right care.
Conserve Water When Necessary
If certain seasons put your well at risk of drying out, make sure to conserve your water when necessary.
Some of the best ways to conserve water at home are:
- Fix leaky faucets and pipes
- Take shorter showers
- Flush the toilet fewer times a day
- Use greywater from your showers and dishwashing for irrigation
- Use a bucket of water rather than a hose to wash your car
- Swap your faucets and showerheads for water-saving fixtures
- Don’t leave the water running while washing dishes or brushing teeth
Conserving your water reduces the pressure you put on your well during a dry spell or a drought . It means that, while the well is replenishing at a slower rate, you’re using less water, reducing the risk of the well drying up.
Utilize Another Water Source
Another way to reduce the strain on your well during summer months is to utilize another water source.
You could install a rainwater catchment system that captures and stores rainwater for various uses. A basic water barrel can store water for outdoor use, while a large tank with a pump and filters can be used to provide water to your whole home.
You can even use captured rainwater for drinking (as long as you treat it to remove possible contaminants).
A rainwater catchment system can collect water throughout the year, so by the time the summer comes around, you should have a good stash of water to use during the warm season.
🔚 Final Word
It’s perfectly normal for well water to change with the seasons. But that doesn’t mean that you necessarily want your water quality to alter from one season to the next.
There’s no real solution to protect your well from seasonal changes, but you can at least monitor your water quality, install a water treatment system if necessary, and take steps to conserve your water during hot, dry summers.