FAQ

Yan Fréchette
Yan Fréchette

Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section!

This section groups to together questions most frequently asked by our customers so you can learn more about artesian wells and make an informed decision. Take a few moments to read them. Do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions whatsoever. Simply click the Information request tab.

How does an artesian well work?

An artesian well is used to collect confined groundwater in rock. A steel sleeve is inserted into the rock and anchored firmly in place to prevent surface water and/or contaminant infiltration. Then, the rock is drilled until we find enough water for your needs. Finally, we install a submersible pump in the artesian well to pump water to the pressurized tank located in your home where the plumbing system will supply your different water outlets. 

What is a good flow rate for a well?

The Ministère de l’Environnement estimates household water needs at 55 gallons/person/day. For a family of four, the average consumption is 220 gallons (1000 litres) per day.

Puits artésiens Fréchette offers a base guarantee of 400 gallons minimum (1500 litres). It is also possible to increase this quantity based on your needs.

Make sure that the well digger you choose offers you a written water guarantee. We can guarantee you water in the long term.

Is water quantity guaranteed?

Water shortage is one of the costliest problems:

  • Is hydraulic fracturing of the well required? (cost: $1,500 to $2,500) 
  • Must the well be deepened? (cost: $3,000 to $6,000)

It is VERY rare that a well runs short of water in its first year of use. Like most products, problems arise after a few years of use. Of course, a water guarantee exceeding one year can help you avoid nasty surprises and unforeseen costs following a shortage of water. It is important to understand that an artesian well is influenced by nature: water channels that become blocked, water channels that dry up … these are events that can occur anytime in the service life of an artesian well. They are completely unpredictable.

If this option is VERY important to you, make sure that the well digger you choose can guarantee a minimum quantity of water specified clearly in the contract - and not just on the back of the page. (Do check the back page … where it is often indicated that the “quantity of water is not guaranteed”).

To protect you from unforeseen costs and unpleasant surprises, we can GUARANTEE YOU WATER IN THE LONG TERM based on the option chosen. If we do not find water, you will not pay one penny. If you do experience a shortage of water during our warranty period, we will return to the location with our equipment and provide you with the guaranteed flow rate at no extra cost. 

Is the quality of the water guaranteed?

Unfortunately, it is impossible for anyone to know with accuracy the type of water your well will supply.

However, by properly carrying out our work, we can maximize your chances of obtaining good quality water. This way, we can reduce the risk of having to install costly filters at purchase time ($2,000 to $5,000), and annual operating costs.

We are proud to say that less than 1% of the wells we have dug have required the installation of this type of filter. This means less future costs for our clients!

We are affiliated with a firm specializing in water treatment for the occasional client who requires such services. We choose to focus on what we do best: artesian wells.  

My well is short of water: should the well be deepened or is hydraulic fracturing the best option?

Based on your needs and history, both options are possible. Personally, we recommend deepening a well only in the three following cases:

  1. The well is not deep enough for hydraulic fracturing. A minimum of 200 feet is considered necessary to obtain valid results.
  2. Hydraulic fracturing has taken place on several occasions and the results obtained have failed to meet the demand.
  3. You want to develop an extra reserve. Since each additional foot will give you an additional reserve gallon, this alternative is suitable for large reservoirs located in basements. The main advantage is that the water will always be fresh and not stagnant in the tanks.   

For all other situations, hydraulic fracturing is, in our opinion, the best option for the following reasons:

  • In 99% of cases, we obtain conclusive results with this technique.
  • Work is carried out quickly and no excavation is necessary. You can use your water the same day.
  • The final cost of hydraulic fracturing is known in advance and less costly. When a well is deepened, there may be additional costs. Will the pump still be suitable? If we install a pump much deeper, will the existing electrical wiring suffice, or must it be changed completely. Will hydraulic fracturing be necessary despite deepening the well? These are questions for which no final answer exists at first glance. They can also have a huge impact on the final invoice. 

 

What aspects should be considered when choosing a hydraulic fracturing contractor?

Hydraulic fracturing can restore your initial flow rate and even increase it considerably. The choice of contractor is vital to obtain conclusive results.

  1. The type of equipment will certainly have an impact on the asking price. However, a machine operating at pressures of 3500 psi will not offer the same results as a machine limited to 2000 psi.
  2. The quantity of water injected is what will provide long-term results. The more water is injected, the less the risk of having to redo work in the future. A minimum of 2000 gallons of water should be considered in most cases.
  3. The distance under the steel sleeve where hydraulic fracturing takes place is of capital importance. If the minimum distance of 60 feet under the steel sleeve is not respected, or worse still, the packer is pressurized in the sleeve, little in the way of results will be obtained and the water obtained will probably be of poor quality.
  4. It is also important to ensure that the contractor has the equipment needed for hydraulic fracturing at depth. Sometimes the packer must descend to 400 feet to obtain optimal results. Many companies are not equipped to do this work at great depth. Find out!

The contractor who meets all these criteria will be able to solve your water shortage problem, generally without compromising its quality. 

Are there standards or laws to comply with when installing an artesian well?

The contractor who digs your well must be fully aware of the standards, laws and regulations applying to artesian wells. The regulation respecting groundwater catchment implemented in 2003 by the Ministère de l’Environnement du Québec provides the framework for establishing an artesian well. Following is a brief summary:

  1. Well location

    The well must be located:

    • More than 30 metres (100 feet) from a non-watertight wastewater treatment system (leaching fields).
    • More than 15 metres (50 feet) from any watertight wastewater treatment system (septic tank).
    • More than 30 metres (50 feet) from a parcel of land under cultivation.
    • Outside a flood zone.
  2. Sealing the well

    The well must be sealed in the following cases:

    • If the rock is less than 5 metres (16.4 feet) from the surface of the soil.
    • If the well is located less than 30 metres (but more than 15 metres) from a non-watertight wastewater treatment system.
  3. Disinfecting the well
    • Once work is completed, the contractor who has prepared or modified a water catchment must clean and disinfect it to eliminate all contamination.
  4. Protecting the well
    • The owner must ensure that the well cover remains intact to prevent any infiltration of contaminants.
    • The well casing must exceed the ground surface by at least 30 cm.
    • The owner must ensure that landscaping around the well prevents water stagnation and the infiltration of water into the ground.
  5. Water analysis
    • Between the second and thirtieth day of the well pump start-up, the owner of a water catchment must draw a sample of water from his well and have it analyzed by a laboratory accredited by the Ministère de l’Environnement.

If work is not carried out according to the above rules, you may find yourself with a non-conforming well, a problem that could eventually hamper the sale of your house.

Puits Artésiens Fréchette is a member of AEFQ (Association des Entrepreneurs en Forage du Québec). Therefore, we are constantly informed of the latest regulations in force and we make certain to apply them rigorously, in our customers’ best interests.

Should I have a flow rate test done when I buy a house?

Water quantity can sometimes become a source of problems and frustration. For this reason, it is always advisable to have flow rate and water quality tests carried out on an existing house to determine the exact flow rate of the well and quality of the water supplied. This inexpensive test will spare you headaches later, should the well not have a sufficient flow rate or if it is contaminated.   

What are the five things to check when choosing a location for a well?

The following points will help you to determine the best location for an artesian well on your land in order to avoid surprises. 

  1. The technologist’s report (a soil test must be carried out for a new construction).
  2. The distance between your well and neighbouring septic systems (yours and your neighbours). The law foresees a minimum distance of 50 feet from a septic system and 100 feet from leaching fields.
  3. Access onsite for drilling equipment: two 10-wheeler trucks and the drilling rig weighing up to 30 tons.
  4. Minimum of 30 feet of clearance under branches in order to be able to raise the drilling rig mast.
  5. Requisite distance of 20 feet from a high voltage power line. There are no compromises regarding the safety of our employees.

As regards the best place to find water on your property – we guarantee that we will find water irrespective of the location chosen on your property. 

What options should I consider?

  • Ensure that you obtain the guaranteed water option. Above all, verify the back of your contract to make sure that there is no contradictory clause: water is guaranteed or it is not… The duration of the guarantee is crucial, and should be a minimum of one year. Find out about extended warranties. If there were no long-term risks, this guarantee would be standard and free, which is not the case.
  • The pit wall stability option is also very important and often neglected. This guarantee protects you against damage frequently encountered when pieces of rock detach from the rock wall and bury the pump.
  • The installation of a sediment filter may also be a low cost option to avoid trouble. Often, during the first years of well use, fine particles of rock dust may migrate to your plumbing. We recommend including the filter along with washable cartridges to avoid damaging your faucets.  Although more expensive than the standard filters with disposable cartridges sold at hardware stores, you will save a lot of money because the cartridges can be washed many times.
  • For secondary residences, we often recommend installing a system to drain the pipe between the well and residence. The device is not costly and entails no operating costs. However, it will prevent the water pipe from freezing when you are absent for a short or long period of time. 

 

The other alternative is a heating wire installed in the pipe. This alternative a little bit more expensive, but offers peace of mind irrespective of the temperature outdoors.

How much does an artesian well cost?

The cost of an artesian well depends on several factors:

  • The amount of steel sleeve required to securely anchor the well in solid, not cracked rock.
  •  The obligation to seal the well.
  • The depth at which water is found.
  • The need to resort to hydraulic fracturing.
  • The types of guarantees and their duration.
  • The water system required for your needs.                                              

 

Generally speaking, digging a well and installing the pump system costs between $4,000 and $10,000 based on the above factors.  The average cost is $8,000.

Costs vary from one company to the next. Is the lowest price the best on the market?

It all depends on what you are looking for. If you are ready to take the risk of incurring future costs related to an artesian well, you can choose the lowest price. However, you must be prepared to:

  • Pay for a new well if wall stability becomes a problem (if the rock wall starts to crumble and your pump is buried, your well will become inoperable.
  • Pay for hydraulic fracturing if your well is short of water or runs dry.
  • Pay to deepen your well if all the water channels run dry (drilling to a greater depth will be required to find new channels.
  • Pay for your defective pump even if you have a “manufacturer’s warranty.” Then wait for the manufacturer’s response (2 to 3 months) to learn whether the pump will be replaced under warranty.  

 

The cost of a well may be seen as an uninteresting investment. However, it is one of the most important steps in the construction of a residence. What would be the value of your home if you had no water? 

The choice of well digger plays a determining role and the price often reflects the quality of the work carried out. Your water supply system is a long-term investment that should satisfy you for a long time … or it will become a source of disappointment if the quality of the execution and materials used are neglected in order to lower the cost.

How much does a geothermal system cost?

Once again, the answer to this question is not so easily determined. An energy study must be carried out by a refrigeration expert to determine the tonnage needed for your project. This will be based on the type of windows, insulation and orientation of the residence, etc.

Generally speaking, the installation of a complete geothermal system is evaluated at $10,000/ton. Calculate some 750 square feet per ton, including the basement. For example, for a 2250 square-foot residence, we would install a 3-ton heat pump and work would total about $30,000. Prices can vary greatly based on the options chosen (radiant floors, preheating hot water, humidifier), but the above numbers can be used as a start point for your project.

Do I need a permit from the municipality?

Effectively, a permit is mandatory for any water catchment work. Foresee a three-week delay, depending on the municipality. You need to provide a sketch of the project indicating compliance with the distances specified in water catchment regulations. We can handle this aspect of your project. You need only sign a proxy mandating us.

When during construction should I have my well dug?

Well digging is usually one of the first steps in a construction project. It serves to ensure that you have water (and avoid building a house on land where there is no water or an insufficient quantity of water). By proceeding this way, it will be possible to connect wiring and pipes to the well at the same time as other excavation work is carried out. You will save a great deal of money. 

Is it possible to dig in winter?

A well can be dug in winter. Drilling costs are about the same, but there will be additional costs to make the site accessible (snow removal) and to excavate the trench between the well and the residence because the ground will be frozen ($).

Can I have the well dug and install the pump later?

There is no problem digging a well and connecting it later. We will seal the well to prevent anything from coming into contact with the water.

Many people like to be reassured about the quantity of water available before they begin construction work the year after or even later.    

What should guide me in the choice of a drilling company?

There is only one question you should ask yourself and it is the following:

Is the contractor providing a guarantee on the quantity of water?

If yes: Is this guarantee specified clearly in the contract? (Check the back of the contract, there are often contradictory clauses…).

The duration of the guarantee is also very important: it may be limited to the completion of work, or other contractors may propose a guaranteed flow rate in the longer term.

After-sales service is also very important: it makes a big difference and establishes the credibility of a business.

Puits Fréchette is a family-owned business with more than 75 years of experience. We have been recommended by CAA Habitation since its existence. Our name is our reputation!

Is the warranty transferable to a new owner in the event of a sale?

All clients having a contract with Puits artésiens Fréchette receive a warranty certificate that is transferable irrespective of the number of changes of ownership. The address where the work was carried out is the main consideration.  Our competitors generally offer a guarantee solely to their customers - which becomes null and void in the event of a sale.  The same problem is often seen with the pump system manufacturer’s warranty. The guarantee is generally applicable to the initial owner only.

Check carefully!

What sets Puits Artésiens Fréchette apart from other drilling companies?

  • Family-owned business with more than 75 years of experience digging artesian wells in your region. 
  • Our computerized database containing more than 15,000 customers where we have done work affords us unparalleled expertise in your sector.
  • FREE estimate on your premises to answer all your questions.
  • Written contract that allows you to estimate the cost of your project without any unpleasant surprises.
  • We use the latest technology in our field to offer you work of the highest quality. 
  • We follow trade practices in order to offer you lasting results.
  • Modern equipment helps us meet deadlines.
  • Our telephone service answers calls 7 days per week and our qualified technicians are available to offer you efficient service. 
  • Our courteous employees are available at all times to answer any questions you may have.
  • We have been accredited and recommended by CAA HABITATION since its existence.
  • We are not there TO PRESSURE YOU. We are there to inform you and help you make the right choice.
  • We offer an excellent PRICE /QUALITY RATIO.

What steps must I take after I have decided to have a well dug?

  1. Call our office to make an appointment with our technical adviser who will provide you with a free, personalized estimate based on your needs and any explanations of items not completely clear to you. 
  2. Obtain a permit from your municipality thanks to your location plan (If you sign a proxy, we can take care of this step for you).
  3. Date to dig the well once the terrain is accessible. Digging generally takes one day, based on the type of ground encountered while drilling. You are welcome onsite!
  4. When a sufficient flow rate is found, we will schedule the installation of the pump system, at your convenience.
  5. Our qualified technicians and the excavator will be onsite to install and start up the system the same day.

 

As soon as our team leaves, you can begin to use your well immediately, because you will have been informed of the steps to follow to ensure the proper operation of the system.

Should I have a flow rate test done when I buy a house?

Water quantity can sometimes become a source of problems and frustration. For this reason, it is always advisable to have flow rate and water quality tests carried out on an existing house to determine the exact flow rate of the well and quality of the water supplied. This inexpensive test will spare you headaches later, should the well not have a sufficient flow rate or if it is contaminated.   

ATTENTION

Vague answers can serve as a smokescreen to avoid answering your questions clearly.

Reading a contract is not very interesting! But taking the time to read the back of the contract can help you avoid problems in the future and unforeseen costs.

An example?

Some contracts on the market indicate:

  • On the back: "water guaranteed for one year"
  • On the back: "quantity of water not guaranteed"

Be vigilant: after all, it’s your money we’re talking about…



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