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How to Check Well Water Level

How to Check Well Water Level Easily

For a while, I used to think that since my well was tapped into the best aquifer in my neighborhood, I would never have water scarcity problems. More so, it is almost guaranteed that a properly tapped well can deliver sparkling water for decades.

It wasn’t until I noticed reduced pressure and muddy water sputtering through the faucets that I got concerned. Could it be possible that the water levels were dropping?

Unfortunately, there is no way I could tell, so I had to learn how to check well water level to better understand the problem. Trust me, it wasn’t easy, neither was it impossible. All in all, I managed to do it and ultimately solved the problem.

If you wonder how I managed to do it, here are a few proven methods.

How to Measure Water in a Well

Most households in the United States rely on water pumped from the well. However, some weather conditions such as drought limit the efficiency of wells, and families have to deal with the subsequent problems.

But by constantly knowing the water levels in your well, you will always be ready for when the water well eventually dries up.

Method 1: Using an Electric depth gauge

This is perhaps the most accessible and least complicated method for measuring well water levels. Usually, the equipment entails weight attached to an insulated wire suspended into the well and connected to an ammeter on the surface. Also, the wire has markings to indicate how deep it is inside the well.

To take your readings, lower the wire inside the water well until it touches the surface of the water. You will know it has reached the static water level when the needle on the ammeter twitches to indicate a closed circuit.

Record the measurement indicated on the insulated sounding line or wire. That distance is the current water level in your well.

However, some water well pumps leak oil into the water, and as we know, oil is not a good conductor of electricity and may alter the readings. To solve this, coat the weight with salt and wrap it with a cheesecloth to increase electric sensitivity. 

Method 2: Air Line Technique

This is arguably the most accurate water measurement technique because you are guaranteed accurate results repeatedly. There is no need to constantly remove it whenever you want to take a measurement since it can be installed permanently as part of the well.

Here is how it works,

The Air Line technique uses water pressure to determine the static level of water in the well. You need to, first of all, take the readings of well water pressure from the opening of the Air Line, then convert it into meters or feet.

The Air Line measures pressure in Pounds per square inch (psi) indicated on the reading gauge, and the psi reading represents the depth of water in the airline. Therefore, to convert the readings into feet, you need to multiply the psi reading by 2.31.

Bonus tip: When taking the readings, ensure no pumping inside the well, as this would disrupt the water levels.

See also: How does a jet water well pump work?

How to Tell How Much Water is in your Well

If you own a water well, there is a need to know the volume of water since it is necessary to understand how much water you can draw to regulate your usage. But before we proceed, you need to know some basic information about your water well.

Here are the steps to follow;

  • Most wells have a circular circumference, so you need to determine the diameter and consequently the radius. Divide the diameter by two to get the radius.
  • The second step is to determine the static water level. You can either use the Air Line technique or use an electric depth gauge.
  • Lastly, you need to measure the overall depth of your well. For this step, attach weight to a string and gently lower it inside the well and into the water till it settles at the very bottom, then measure that length.


First, take the static water level depth and subtract it from the overall water well depth. For instance,

Static water level= 30 feet

Overall water level = 100 feet

(100-30)=70 feet

Next, we need to find the volume of water covering a height of 70 feet.

Assume the radius of the well is 14 feet.

Volume = 3.14 × radius squared × height


Volume = 43,080.8 cubic feet, which is the amount of water in your well. You can convert it into gallons or any other unit measure of your choice.

Well Water Level Monitoring System

A well water level monitoring system is an innovative technology that automatically tells the static water level in your well, making it possible to know how much water is left. It encompasses the use of sonar and radio technology alongside cloud data services to give you opportune readings of your groundwater levels.

But that’s not all. Usually, the monitoring system sends the data to a server in your house, which then transfers the data to the cloud, where it is processed. The monitoring system is installed above the ground or slightly below the ground.

No doubt technology is taking over, and water well monitoring hasn’t been left behind. Traditionally, expensive equipment had to be lowered inside the well to take the measurements. But today, there is absolutely no need for that since you can even take your readings while seated inside your house.

See also: Which reverse osmosis system is best for well water?

How to Check Water Level in Drilled Well

You can’t be a good water well owner if you cannot understand how much water is left in your well. This essentially involves understanding how to check the well water level at any given time. I must applaud the advancement in technology because you can get real-time data on your well water levels.

However, not everyone can afford expensive technology, so they have to stick with conventional methods. The most common is using an electric sounder or meter gauge where a weighted insulated wire is lowered inside the well, and when it reaches the surface, it sends an electric signal to the ammeter.

Another method involves using the Air Line technique dropped into the well to measure the water pressure converted to unit feet or meters. If you own a water well, it is imperative to constantly measure the water levels to control your water usage.

See also: Which whole house filter is best for well water?


FAQs: How to Check Well Water Level

How do you measure water levels in a borehole?

Unlike drilled wells, measuring water levels in a borehole is much easier. All you need is a weighted string with a floater lowered into the well.

When the floater hits the water surface, you will notice some tension on the string. Take the measurement when you feel the tension is much stable.

I should add that don’t take measurements when the water is unsettled as this will give inaccurate results.

How do you measure the level of water in a deep well?

To measure the water levels in a deep well, use the electronic water level gauge to get more accurate results.

See also: Top Iron filtration system for well water

Drop the insulated weighted wire into the well such that when the sounding ball hits the water surface, an electric signal is sent to the ammeter. Take the measurements for when the signal was received.

Can you tell how much water is in your well?

Often most people find it difficult to determine the amount of water in their wells, but the process is quite simple.

All you need to find is the difference between the static water level height and the overall water well depth, the radius of your well and then find the volume.

We are often faced with dry water wells during the dry season when the amount of water in aquifers gradually reduces. It is common in most parts of the world, but we can always be prepared for such when we learn how to check our well water levels.

Constantly checking the water levels gives us a clue of how much water is remaining in the well. We can regulate the usage, so we don’t get shocked when the well finally dries up.

Some of the most common methods include using an electric depth gauge and the Air Line technique. You can also use wet tapes, especially when dealing with boreholes. 


Washington State Department of Health [DOH]: Measuring water levels in wells

Southeast Hydrogeology: Water Level Measurements – A Simple But Useful Diagnostic Tool

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