For any property owner considering a water well for their water supply, capacity will be a vital theme to keep in mind. All properties have some level of water needs, and ensuring your well will have an adequate supply of water to meet these needs is one of the single most important factors for your selection process.
At Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC, we’re happy to help with these and any related questions for all our clients. Our comprehensive water well drilling and installation services include a keen eye toward well capacity, ensuring that any client we install a well for will receive robust quantities of water to meet all their property needs. We’ll also assist property owners looking to calculate their water use needs, plus some important terminology and themes to be aware of as you’re making these calculations for a well installation. Here’s a primer on estimating water use and well capacity needs in a few different settings.
General Use Needs and Fixtures
From a very broad perspective, standard homes use between 50 and 100 gallons of water per person per day. This is a very wide estimate, of course, because not all homes and people use water in the same ways, and this number can vary pretty significantly.
Getting a bit more specific, how do various appliances or fixtures on your property use water on a typical basis? Here are some of the most common such appliances, plus their general rate of water usage:
- Kitchen sink: 3 gallons per minute
- Bathroom sink: 2 gallons per minute
- Garbage disposal: 4 gallons per day
- Standard dishwasher: 7-14 gallons per load (depending on the model)
- Energy-efficient (economic) dishwasher: 4.5 gallons per load
- Top-loading washing machine: 43 to 51 gallons per load
- Front-loading washing machine: 27 gallons per load
- Standard toilet: 5 gallons per flush
- Low-flow toilet: 1.6 gallons per flush
- Shower or tub: 5 gallons per minute
- Outdoor half-inch hose: 5 gallons per minute
- Water softener regeneration: 50-100 gallons per cycle
While your precise appliance water usage might vary slightly from the above numbers, these are pretty solid estimates. In our subsequent sections, we’ll go over the proper way to use these numbers to calculate your property’s well water needs.
Total Daily Use Vs Peak Demand
Using the numbers we just listed, and also with the help of resources like your monthly water bill, you can fairly easily determine your total daily water use – as the name indicates, the total amount of water used on your property on an average day. However, as our well experts will tell you, this number is less important than finding your peak demand needs.
This is because, in the vast majority of properties, most of the water used is actually utilized during a very short period of time – usually just a few hours, and mostly in the morning and evening. For this reason, the general recommendations for planning well water capacity are these: Calculate your estimated total daily use, but then plan to install a system that can meet this number within a two-hour period. That is, your well water system should be able to meet your full day of water needs all within two hours, so you know it’s reliable enough to handle peak needs, even those that are at the very tip-top of your need threshold.
When referring to how much water can actually be delivered from a well to your system, this is known as the yield. The calculation for water well yield will be expressed in terms of flow rate, which is derived using gallons per minute of water usage (GPM). Technically speaking, well yield equals the maximum rate of GPM a well can be pumped at without lowering the water level in the borehole of your well, which is found below the pump intake.
Flow Rate and Room Numbers
Generally speaking, the standard recommendation for minimum flow rate in a single-family home water well is 6 GPM. This level will provide 360 gallons of water per hour to the home, which is almost always enough to meet the peak demands of a standard household – if you have a particularly large number of water-use appliances, however, you may need a slightly higher flow rate.
However, you can get more specific than this if you want. Here are some basic recommendations for water well flow rate based on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home:
- Two bedrooms: 1 bath = 6 GPM; 1.5 bath = 8 GPM; 2 bath = 10 GPM
- Three bedrooms: 1 bath = 8 GPM; 1.5 bath = 10 GPM; 2 bath = 12 GPM
- Four bedrooms: 1 bath = 10 GPM; 1.5 bath = 12 GPM; 2 bath = 14 GPM; 3 bath = 16 GPM
- Five bedrooms: 1.5 bath = 13 GPM; 2 bath = 15 GPM; 3 bath = 17 GPM
If your home has more than five bedrooms or more than three bathrooms, speak to our pros about capacity and flow rate needs when installing your well.
A Word on Farms
As farmers or those who spend time on farms were likely well aware of before this point, many of the above details change significantly for farm setups. From animal care to irrigation, equipment and several other areas, water needs for farms simply don’t compare to those for standard single-family homes – and your well installation needs will differ as well. While we won’t get into specifics here, our team of well drilling and installation specialists will be happy to detail any of these areas for farmers interested in our services.
For more on water use needs and water well capacity, or to learn about any of our water well drilling and rehabilitation services, speak to the staff at Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC today.