Well Water vs. City Water: Pros and Cons

Well Water vs. City Water: Pros and Cons

When buying a home, you must decide about whether they are comfortable with well water, city water, or both. Those who are used to having their water supplied by the city have certain preconceived notions about well water. Likewise, those who are used to well water, are suspicious of city water. The truth is both well water and city water can be great options for your home. To help you make the best decision, here are the pros and cons for well and city water.

Well Water

When a home is supplied by well water, it means that they get their drinking, bathing, and cleaning water from the private well on their property. Wells are built by drilling into the ground and accessing an underground aquifer. That water is then pumped into the house. A house with a well can either be connected to the city’s sewer system or use a septic system.


  • You won’t get a water bill. If your water is coming from your own private well, then you won’t get a monthly water bill. If you are using a septic system, you won’t be getting a monthly sewer use bill. Having less bills is normally a good thing.
  • Well water is normally fresher, high in nutrients, and high in minerals. Because well water is coming from the aquifer underground, instead of run- off or surface water, it tends to be cleaner and fresher. Groundwater is also high in healthy nutrients and minerals that are good for the body, including children. Also, well water high in minerals often tastes better.
  • Well water is usually protected from contamination during a natural disaster. Natural disasters, like floods, tend to disrupt a city’s ability to distribute healthy water to homes. Wells are typically immune from this problem, unless the disaster is particularly bad and widespread.


  • Well water is dependent on electricity. Well water needs to be pumped out of the ground. If the electricity goes out, then your pump will stop working. If your pump stops working—no water. You will want to make sure that you have an alternative source of electricity (generator, solar), or be prepared to go without water if the electricity goes out.
  • You are responsible for the quality and quantity of your water. If your well runs dry it isn’t the city’s problem. Because the well is on your property, you are responsible for any maintenance, repairs, or additional drilling needed. Depending on the repair, it can be quite expensive. You are also responsible for the quality of your well water. It is up to you to have your water regularly tested to verify that it is safe to use.
  • Well water can become contaminated. Chemicals, sewage, and dead animals are all potential pollutants that can contaminate well water. Runoff from farms, septic systems, nuclear power plants and a dead animal falling into your water source can all impact the quality of the water in your well. 
  • The primary sources of nutrient pollution are fertilizer, animal manure, sewage treatment plant discharge, detergents, stormwater runoff, cars and power plants, failing septic tanks and pet waste.

It is clear, if you have well water it needs to be tested regularly. Making sure the water is free from pollutants like chemicals, heavy metals, bacteria, and parasites is your responsibility—and you should take it seriously.

The good news is, with regular testing, and/or a whole house water filter, you can rest easy that your water is fresh and healthy.

City Water

If water is supplied to your home by the city, it means that the city collects the water, puts it through a purification process, and then delivers it to your home via pipes. Like well water, there are some pros and cons


  • The quality and quantity of water is the responsibility of the city. When you turn on your tap, you don’t have to worry about the last time it was tested. You can rest assured that it is continually being tested by the city, and that it meets or exceeds EPA quality guidelines. Many people prefer city water for this reason—it is one less thing to manage and take care of. The city is responsible for getting safe water to your home. In addition to making sure the water is safe, the city also adds healthy nutrients and minerals (that were lost during the filtering process) to the water to safeguard the health of the public. If you are ever concerned about the quality of your water, you can always ask the city to test your water. In addition, the city is responsible for providing yearly reports on water being provided to homes.
  • City water is available in most places. Unless you move to a very rural area, there is a high chance that city water has been connected to your home. In order to access that water, you only need to ask the city to turn it on.
  • Mortgage lenders prefer city water. Because well water can be unpredictable, and city water is more regulated, mortgage lenders offer better rates to homeowners with city water.


  • City water is less fresh than well water. City water is collected from run-off and surface water. That means (normally) it has come into contact with more pollutants and chemicals than the water sitting underground. Also, because city water has been put through extensive filtering and chemical treatment, it might not taste as refreshing as well water.
  • City water can be expensive. Nationally, cities have been raising water bills. As water becomes more polluted it has become harder to treat. While it is very convenient to have water managed by someone else, it is also beginning to be a very inconvenient bill. Homeowners should start to think about the future of water in their city and realize that it is a very important resource that is under threat. Clean water is worth every penny, because we can’t live without water.
  • City water can be turned off by someone else. Because the city manages the water, they can turn it off. If you can’t make payments the city can turn off your water. If the city needs to unexpectedly treat the water, they may turn it off without warning. Turning off your water supply for treatment is a rare occurrence, but still it is something that you don’t have any control over.
  • City water can become contaminated on a large scale. Natural disasters, like floods, can cause large-scale contamination of the city’s water supply. Because the water, the pipes and equipment need to be treated it can take a long time before the water is safe to use. Boil water advisories should ALWAYS be followed for as long as they are posted.

Whole House Water Filters

Bottom line, we all want water that is clean and healthy. Whether your water is coming from a well or the city, you can rest easy knowing that your water is the best it can be by using a whole house water filter. No matter where the water comes from, or what is in it, most whole house water filters can make sure the water coming out of your sink is safe and tastes great. If you are at all concerned about the quality of your water don’t hesitate to give Reichelt Plumbing a call at (219) 322-4906. We can test your water, let you know where you stand, and provide you with the best options for your budget and water needs.


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