Help with well flow test

Hi - I am selling my home and the buyer’s home inspector tested my well flow. The well flowed at 3.5gpm until the flow rate dropped and he stated in his report “ran out of water” at 32 minutes. It was given a 1 minute rest and then “ran out of water after 1 minute.” When I spoke to him in person, he said that the well actually did not run dry, the flow just dropped signficantly. He wrote up the well as “failed the well test.” He said he ran it the first 20 minutes to drain the pressure tank. He said it needed to produce 3.5gpm to pass…which it did according to how I read the report.

I have spoken to some other inspectors and a well driller who said that they use a different test, more like 15 min on 15 min off for 3 to 4 hours and then determine flow rate. I could not find any “standard” test in the state (PA) or local codes.

When I bought the house, my inspector ran it for 3 hours with periodic 5 minute rests and it produced 2.5gpm average, but then was cleaned out and produced 4gpm.

I am having it cleaned out and re-tested. My question is: is there a definitive “right” or “wrong” way to test the well flow? I’ve never run out of water during normal household use and the pressure is just fine.


There are a number of different ways to do this. Some are very stringent, and some are more lax. I’ve heard of people using a minum of 10 to 12 gpm. I don’t think I would pass many wells at that rate. Personally I use 4gpm, and test it every 15 minutes for 45 -60 minutes. Doing a well quantity test for 3 or 4 hours (IMHO) isn’t really practical for a home inspector. That’s often longer than many spend on inspecting an entire home, and would make the test cost prohibitive.

For what it’s worth, based on what you described, I would have failed it too. Sorry.

Don’t be sorry! Thanks for the advice. I’m not trying to crucify the inspector, I am just trying to figure out what the standards are for pass/fail, or if it is somewhat arbitrary.

I don’t have an answer, but you may want to check this link for well info.