Having a pool is the dream of many homeowners. Some folks plan on installing one right when they buy a house, and others include it in their long-term plan before moving in. One complication that many prospective homebuyers face is whether or not you can have a pool in the same yard as a well.
There is a lot to unpack in this question. If you're considering putting a pool into a yard that also has a well, or if you're considering filling a pool with well water, this post will contain everything you need to know. Whether you are a prospective homebuyer or already own your home, the Boyd Team has you covered.
Complications of Building a Pool Near a Well
Wells utilize a complex structure of tunnels and pumps underground, and it is true that building an in-ground pool can put this system at risk. The gallons of water that fill a pool are extremely heavy, and it is important that a pool sits on firm, full ground. Any pool installation company that you work with will likely be able to find the right spot in your yard to put a pool.
While the actual soil of your yard can dictate where your pool should go, the local government also has a say. Many local governments impose restrictions on where pools can go, what types of pools can be installed, and more. While it is your own private property, many governments still have a say in what you put on it!
Regulations About Building a Pool Near a Well
Since building a pool near your well can put it at risk, most counties in the United States actually regulate the distance between your pool and your well. The minimum distance will vary greatly depending on the county. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect the county to say the pool needs to be at least ten or fifteen feet from the well, but often much further.
We wrote about this in our post about putting a pool near a septic tank, as county regulations tend to be very similar on both issues.
In-Ground Pools vs. Above-Ground Pools with a Well
Logistically, there is a bit of a difference between in-ground and above-ground pools when you have a well. Above-ground pools clearly need to abide by all local regulations, but at least they do not require much digging, if any. In-ground pools, meanwhile, require full excavation that can interfere with your well.
Another huge difference is that in-ground pools are permanent, while above-ground pools can be moved. If there is a well-related local regulation that you are unaware of when you purchase your pool, it is a hard thing to remedy if your pool is dug into the ground.
Can You Have a Hot Tub with a Well?
Since you can have a pool with a well, you can absolutely have a hot tub with a well. As long as you follow the local regulations, having a hot tub is fairly low maintenance and causes little to no disruption to your well. Since hot tubs are much smaller than pools in most cases, you may even be able to fill one using your well without any issues.
While the amount of water may not be an issue, the quality of water might. Be sure to read the section on filling a pool with well water to learn about potential water quality issues that might arise by using well water to fill a pool or hot tub.
Can You Fill a Pool with Well Water
If you have a well, it makes sense to want to use it to fill your pool. After all, it would be much cheaper than bringing in an external water source to do it with city water! Pool owners can absolutely use well water to fill up their pools, but there are a few major complications that should be considered.
Pools Require a Lot of Water
The first major complication to think about is that pools require enormous amounts of water. Most backyard wells do not contain enough water to fill a large pool. If you install an average-sized pool in your backyard, you will likely need thousands of gallons of water to fill it. Thousands!
An average 12'x24'x4x pool requires over 8,000 gallons of water to fill. Depending on your well's water level, that is simply an impossible amount to use. This factor alone is a major reason why people with wells call third-party vendors to fill up their pools.
It is never a good idea to run your well dry. There is only so much water in your well, and running it dry means having very little water left to drink, bathe with, and cook with. You should check your well's water level before you try to fill your pool to make sure this doesn't happen, as running a well dry can also damage its pump and other structural components.
Well Water Is High in Minerals (Not a Good Thing)
The biggest argument against using well water to fill your pool is water quality. Murky water is often a product of high metal content, which is one of the most common problems with well water. This cloudy water, or hard water as it can be called, is bad for your skin, body, and pool itself.
If you're considering using well water to fill your pool, it's a good idea to use test strips to test the water's calcium hardness. This is the easiest way to know whether or not your well water is suitable for a swimming pool and should always be the first step you take. A healthy swimming pool is one with clean, clear water, and this can't be the case when you use hard water supplies.
If you are adamant about using well water to fill your pool, you might want to look into a water treatment system. Water softeners work to reduce high amounts of minerals in your water supply. Water softeners are especially important for people with private wells, as most municipal water is already treated before it is funneled out to homes.
Using Your Well to Fill Your Pool Will Take a Long Time
We already mentioned the amount of water needed to fill a pool as a major barrier. However, another thing to consider is how long it takes to pump that much water, even if you have it! Unless your garden hose has an incredibly high flow rate, filling your pool will take hours or even days. Obviously, the size of your pool greatly impacts the amount of time it will take to fill, but if your hose has a low flow rate, this process could take an eternity.
Your Well Pump May not be Strong Enough to Fill a Large Pool
Even if you have enough water in your well and enough time to wait, your well still might not be capable of filling an entire pool. Running your well's pump constantly for so many hours can cause a lot of damage to it. If the pump sustains damage, your well's flow rate will likely deteriorate rapidly, requiring a replacement. Some common signs that you have damaged your water pump are that your water pressure and water flow are diminished.
Overusing your well's pump is like trying to drive up a steep mountain in too old of a car. If you push it too hard, it can just stall out and die. This is why the strength of your pump is one of many important considerations that goes into the question of filling a pool with well water.
How Much Water Does a Pool Require?
To determine the amount of water a pool requires, you need to calculate the pool's volume. The volume formula for a rectangular pool is length x width x height. The volume formula for a circular pool is pi (3.14) x r-squared (the radius of the pool, squared) x the depth of the pool.
Whatever number you calculate is the number of cubic feet of water you will need to fill your pool. Clearly, we don't measure water in cubic feet! To determine the number of gallons, take this number and multiply it by about 7.5.
So, if your rectangular pool is 10' by 10' by 5' deep, you will need 500 cubic feet of water to fill it, which is about 3750 gallons. To make things simpler, you can simply use this online pool volume calculator.