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Is Well Water Safe to Drink after a Power Outage?

Updated on March 23, 2023

A power outage (short or long) doesn’t impact well water quality. However, your water will not be treated (softened or purified) during a power outage because the systems won’t run. Well water systems dispense water stored in the storage tank when the power goes out. It is untreated water collected from the well.

Water treatment systems like water softeners, UV purification systems, whole-house filters, and under-sink filters require electricity to run. On the contrary, if you have a backup generator it powers your well water system and filters, you don’t have to worry about anything. If you don’t use any filters with your well water, you are okay during a power outage.

Using bottled water during a power outage for drinking and cooking is recommended. Well water will be safe for showering and other uses if you don’t swallow it. Moreover, it is recommended to supervise children and the disabled while bathing with untreated water. The risk of showering with untreated well water is far greater for immunocompromised and those with fresh wounds or lesions.

Pets are also at risk from using untreated well water during a power outage. Give them bottled water or boiled water.

Give them bottled water or boiled water

What to do When Power Goes Out? Tips to Use Well Water during a Power Outage

A power outage turns off the pump and treatment systems. Here are a few tips to help you get by with well water during a power outage.

Turn on your Generator: Most homes with a private well system have a backup generator for emergencies. Power it up and connect your water system to it. Ensure your generator has enough capacity to handle well equipment such as pumps, UV systems, sediment filters, softeners, and drinking water filters.

Use Bottled Water: Use bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes. Power outages usually happen during emergencies such as floods, winter storms, wildfires, and hurricanes. Keep an eye on warnings for these disasters and arrange food, water, and gas as per your family’s needs.

Use Boiled Water: Your local county may issue a boil water advisory when groundwater is unsafe to use. CDC recommends doing the following when a boil water advisory is issued.

  • Use boiled or bottled water for drinking and cooking food.
  • If you don’t have bottled water, bring tap or well water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute and 3 minutes if you live in an elevated area above 6,500 feet.
  • Do not drink from any appliance connected to your home’s water line, such as refrigerators and water dispensers, even if they have filters.
  • Provide a ready-to-use formula for your infants, or use boiled water.
  • Brush teeth with boiled water or bottled water.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water when the advisory is issued, and then rinse thoroughly with water.
  • If soap and water are unavailable, sanitize your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Dishwashing and Laundry: Use disposable plates, cups, and utensils during a boil water advisory. It is okay to wash dishes in a dishwasher if you select a high-heat temperature and the water reaches a temperature above 150°F or 66°C. Sanitize all dishes and baby bottles.

For hand washing, wash the dishes as you would normally do. Add 1 tsp. of unscented household liquid bleach for 1 gallon of warm water and soak the dishes for at least 1-2 minutes. Air dry all the dishes completely before using.

You can use tap or well water for laundry during the advisory.

What to do after the Power is restored?

Open all the taps in your house for at least 2-3 minutes to flush out untreated water in the pipes. Check that the well pump and all the treatment systems installed at your home are up and running.

If the power outage was due to floods and your well was flooded, you must test the water and disinfect it after the flood water recedes.

For more information, contact the local health center on how to start using well water after it is flooded.

Can I use Hand Pump when the Power goes out?

Yes. You can use a hand pump to pump water from a well if you have it installed. You can also make a hand pump for your well, but it requires setting up a lot of moving parts and takes around 4-6 hours.

Can a Well Pump run louder after a Power Outage?

A well pump may run louder after a power outage if the outage has caused a short circuit or some other malfunction. However, there could be several reasons behind a well pump running louder than normal. Call a professional or do a self-diagnosis to identify the problem.


  • Roy Jones

    Roy lives in Anderson, Texas, and has been a part of various certified well drilling firms. He has extensive 20 years of working experience in water wells maintenance, repair, and drinking quality. Roy has been guiding neighbors on well issues and writes to educate private well owners about various well water issues.

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