The well casing is one of the most important parts of your water well. Your well’s casing is the long tube-like structure that forms its structure.
What Does the Water Well Casing Do?
The water well casing provides a sealed pathway for the water to flow to the top. It prevents sediments, dirt, and other contaminants from entering the water supply.
The casing supports the wall of the well, preventing loose rock fragments and unconsolidated gravel through which the well has penetrated from collapsing.
A residential well casing usually measures between 4-6 inches. The commercial well casings typically tend to be a lot wider.
The well casings are usually topped with a plastic or aluminum cap to keep insects, dirt, dust, small animals, and debris out. The cap has a vent to help control the water pressure during pumping.
Some common materials used to make casings include plastic and steel (can be carbon or stainless).
Earlier steel casings were the preferred choice for well owners; however, PVC casings are steadily increasing in popularity, thanks to improvements in strength, durability, and corrosion resistance of PVC.
Choosing the Right Water Well Casing Material
When choosing casing material, some factors to consider are local regulations, the type of equipment used to construct the well, and the cost involved.
Your water well contractor will also consider water chemistry and geology. If your well water pH is below 6.5 and its alkalinity is also too low, it may be corrosive.
Because PVC is resistant to pH corrosion and is also not susceptible to galvanic corrosion, your contractor may consider PVC pipes.
Similarly, if the well water has high levels of dissolved solids, it may be corrosive to steel pipes resulting from the galvanic current.
When installing a casing, the contractor must avoid excess bending or vertical movements to prevent casing materials from cracking or deforming. A damaged casing can do more harm than good. It can affect the well’s structural integrity and make it extremely difficult to install pumping equipment or remove equipment for maintenance.
Common Causes of Casing Leaks
Over time, cracks can develop in a casing. Cracking can occur when the ground shifts during a natural calamity such as an earthquake or due to shock waves created by blasts at a nearby construction site.
Stones or other objects that press against the casing can also damage it. If your well casing has splits due to defective or welded seams, it will be unable to prevent groundwater and contaminants from getting in.
If lightning strikes the well during a bad storm, the well casing can get damaged. It can cause leaks to develop.
If you have a steel casing, it can corrode, leading to leaks over time.
To steer clear of issues, inspect your casing regularly and remember to check the part that sticks up above the ground for leaks and damage. This part is exposed to the elements and is particularly vulnerable to cracking.
It’s also possible for the part to crack if you or someone else accidentally hits it with a lawnmower or any other equipment.
Some Common Signs of a Leak
A cracked well casing is a recipe for disaster. If the cover on top of your well casing gets damaged, insects and small animals could crawl inside.
If they die and decompose, harmful bacteria may get into your water supply. Drinking contaminated water with elevated levels of bacteria is a leading cause of gastrointestinal problems.
Many homeowners know the importance of maintaining their casings; however, they fail to notice the signs of a well casing leak.
Spotting a leak is not easy, especially if it is below the surface. Watch out for these signs that may indicate that the well casing is damaged.
- A decrease in the water flow (usually gradual)
- Sand, dirt, sediment, or other contaminants in your water supply
- Water filters need frequent replacement
- You discover a new contamination problem
Contact a well contractor to get your well inspected and maintained once a year. During a maintenance session, your contractor will check the casing for leaks and other issues. They will either repair or replace a damaged casing to prevent problems.
How Is a Well Casing Repaired?
Once you notice a leak, reach out to your contractor immediately. The professional will lower a camera into your well to carry out a thorough inspection.
Once your contractor gets to the root of the problem, they will determine the best course of action.
The course of action will depend on whether you have a single leak in a small area or a major or multiple leaks.
Minor leaks are often easy to fix and are usually repaired using a repair sleeve or well liner. A repair sleeve is compact enough to fit in the casing without causing any disruption.
After placing the sleeve over the leak, your contractor will seal it to make sure it holds.
Repairing a large section of a well is not as easy as fixing a smaller one. If your well casing has corroded, it may be impossible to place a sleeve over the leak.