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Questions and Answers

If you have a water well question you would like answered, please feel free to email us at drillcat@gmail.com

Q. What is the best drilling rig to buy to drill my well with? Deeprock®? Hydra Turd? Ebay?

A. That is a big question, depends on a few things. How deep are you drilling?( this will let us know if you can use cheap toy rig, or you may need better equipment.) Do you have hard rock formations? ( soft sand and clay, drills easy, but hard rock requires better and more expensive tooling. Rock can be drilled, but will cost more money to get through it.) What is your budget? The easy math test is this. the deeper you drill and the harder the formations, the better equipment it takes. Better equipment equals more money. Shallow sand well drilling you can get by with toy type rigs, deeper hard formations means you need more money, and better drills. The main thing is get a drill that will drill and finish a well. A toy drill will have short toy pipe, and toy thread connections.


Q. Which drilling rig is best brand?

A. The older Deeprock® drills like the M-50,M-60 and Deerock Ram 10 were great, the new drills are ok, but over priced. The real question is not best brand, the question should be who has the best Swivel and drill pipe. Without great swivels, and great drill pipe, you have nothing. E-bay toy rigs are cheap, but only have toy plumbing pipe instead of real drill pipe. A real Swivel cost real money, toy swivel are cheap. Anytime you have cheap, you have a toy rig. Toy rigs are labor intensive and are never going to get though hard rock. Email us or call for answers to these questions.


Q: Can I Drill my own well on my land or land i have leased?

A: Yes in most cases, Check your state and local laws, most of the 50 states allows land owners and land lease holders drill on there own land. If your drilling for money or on land that is not owner or leased by you, then that changes things. Then you will need a drilling license for drilling for profit. IN some remote places there is less goverment requirments. If your near big city, they will have enough DONUT KINGS and rules to cover everything in your life., even water.The funny thing is in many states you can drill 15,000 ft oil well with no license at all or need a licensed driller. This is the golden rule, He with the all the gold rules.


Q: How do i know when I hit water and how much?

A: When drilling , use a well log sheet, this records what formations your drilling through. Course sand, gravel, and cracks in rocks bare water. Clay formations do not. In hard formations you may not hit water in sand formations, but fractures in the rock. The best way is while drill pipe in the hole, blow air through it instead of drilling mud. Once water in bore hole is blown out, then any additional water blown out is what the well is producing. If your in soft formations that may cave in using this method, do not do this, because you would be in danger of loosing your drill pipe. For complete info try our water well drilling and trouble shooting book. Or email us. Also here is a link to show all main aquifers in the USA, http://water.usgs.gov/ogw/NatlAqCode-reflist.html Until you set casing and well pump, then will you know what the well produces.


Q: We bought a house with a well already, and the water smells like rotten eggs. What do we do? Do we need a new well?

A: Sounds like sulfur in your water. Sulfur in your water in most cases will not hurt you. The smell is over powering sometimes and not pleasant to smell.. Before drinking water you can draw water in open containers or pitchers and let set out on counter tops. After a short while the sulfur gas will leave, and water will be fine to drink with no smell.. If you drill another well you will have to drill shallow or deeper, buy stay out of the formation your in now. They do sell water systems to fix these things, but it is not cheap. My suggestion is buy water system for this. If you drill another well,you still may hit sulfur water and then your our the cost of another well, plus still have to buy a water system too.


Q: I drilled a water well, and finished it. But how do I know if our water is safe to drink?

A: After 60 yrs of living, i never met anyone who died from dirty water here in the USA, but if you watched too much news cast and want to get it tested, please do. Once your water well is complete you can treat bore hole with chlorine ( 4 to 10 oz of clorox) and kill any bacteria in water. Do not leave chlorine set long, because chlorine can damage and corrode your well pump. After treatment only let it set a few minutes, then run pump. After a few hours of use, the chlorine will be gone, and also the taste. You can take a water sample and bring it to your county agent or some colleges test your water. Make sure the container you use to take sample with is not dirty. If you have sulphur or iron water you can smell and taste these problems. Smaller amounts of minerals add taste and do not hurt you.


Q: What does it cost to drill a water well?

A: Prices vary state to state. If you have to drill deep or drill hard rock, the price is higher. Average price for soft formation water well 300ft is 9k to 15k depending on where you live. In California water wells can cost 100.00 per ft, so a 200 ft well is 20k. California has more permits and government regulations, this always runs the price up. If you have shallow water or soft formations, it may be worth your wild to check into DIY drilling or coop a group and several people go in together and buy a drilling rig. A good Deeprock® M-60 would be easy to run and cheap to buy. If you only have one well to drill, just hire it done. But remember, in all 50 states, well drillers by law are not required to hit water and do not guarantee hitting water. The only guarantee you get is they will cash your check before the sun goes down. This is the sad part about hiring a drill contractor. You pay up front , and still may not have a water well at the end. But on the flip side, the drilling contractor did not pick your land out either! What ever water underground water resources you have , is what you have. No one But God can change that.


Q: I have just bought 80 acres with road frontage, and want to sell lots with water wells on them. How close can water wells be to each other.

A: Many people make lots of money drilling their own water wells on land they plan on cutting up in smaller tracts. A simple water well will add 25% to 75% value to land tract. Check your local county and state laws for this answer. Most states require water wells be 50ft or more from property line and 100ft or more from sewer systems. The larger the lots the easier this is to do. 1 acres lots or larger will make this easy to do. When you apply for well permit, the permit rules should be plain to read then. Water wells should be 200ft or more from other water wells. When pumping a water well you do have draw down, so 200ft or more will help this out.


Q: We need a water well for a prepper log home we are building in mountains of colorado. What GPM out water well will i need?

A: Most home use water wells are 4" casing wells. Older wells drilled in the 80s some people have used 2" casing water wells. A 4" water well with GPM of 7 or more is acceptable. If your going to have a large garden or Pond to fill or Cattle in summer drinking, you may need more. I many areas 10 to 15 gmp wells are the standard. If you have a smaller output well, you can add a large storage tank to help. Once your well is drilled, you can check the GMP out put of water well. When blowing the well, Have a watch with second hand. Use 5 gallon bucket and watch. After 15 seconds check bucket to see how much water is there. Times x 4 will give you the GPM it is making. Our DIY books covers blowing the well.For pepper well, drill it yourself, so it water well will not be in GPS log for further restrictions.


Q: I need 4 irrigation wells for our farm land we bought, but were quoted a massive 40k for each well, and water is only 200ft down.

A: Any time you need irrigation wells, the price changes. Irrigation wells usually cast 2 to 3 times the cost of a standard home well. If you really need 4 wells, i would suggest you buy a new or used rig, get drill training, and save yourself 120k or more. For this kind of money savings , it leaves you plenty of room for practicing. For irrigation wells you will need a better rig with 2 3/8" drill pipe or larger and high flow mud pump and good swivel. Do your homework and forget any cheap toy rig for this job. Even used rigs for this type of drilling job will start at 20k and up. Also for larger bore hole wells, you will need larger mud pump. A GS 400 drill with mud pump upgrade would work. But once your finished with your Irrigation wells, and saved all this money, you still have a drilling rig you may sell, or keep it around to service wells or drill more later.


Q: How deep should i drill my well?

A: If you drill your own water well, i would suggest reading your well log while drilling and stop when you hit a good water bearing formation. If you have a drilling contractor do it, they charge by the foot, so don't expect a shallow well. Shallow wells do not pay motor home payments , deep wells do. One good way is to check with well depths near your location.


Q: If i can find a good drilling rig, where do I get a book to show me how to drill so I will be successful?

A: books are good, ther are many and we have some we wrote also. But nothing is better than REAL HANDS ON DRILL TRAINING, by experanced driller in person. We offer hand on drill training, and this is your key to success. No guess work, just results.


Q: If i buy a small ( toy) rig, can i drill rock?

A: Drilling rock will require very good swivel, and drill pipe. When you read Drilling rig adds, beware of power words ( out right lies) describing there toy rigs in such a way it looks bigger than it really is. Most toy rigs do not have real drill pipe, they only use China plumbing pipe with standard NPT threads. Real tool joint drill pipe cost more that total price of toy rig set up . I would Only buy a toy rig if you have no rock at all and soft, soft sand. Plus these are labor demanding. Have a Big BBQ so you will have enough buddies to help. There are portable water well drilling rigs trailer mounted that are not toy. In fact we do sell many refurbished used rigs that are work ready. Checkout our used inventory .


Q: We have a problem with sand in our well water? What can we do?

A: Every well is different , some formations have no sand, some do. When drilling a well, mistakes can cause this problem. Here are some below. 1. Not correctly matching screen slot size to sand formations on well screen.
2. Gravel pack not done right, or gravel too large.
3. Screen set at wrong depth.
4. Someone waited to long after well was drilled to put casing & screen down, and hole caved in, so gravel pack will not work right.
5. Bore hole was drilled crooked and screen is not located straight in middle of bore hole, screen is touching side of bore hole not allowing gravel to protect. After well is done, you can not undo any of these problems, so my suggestion now would be build or buy you a sand settling tank. These work better and cheaper than filters. Please check out my free sand tank plans for this..


Q: My well pump keeps kicking on and off all day long?

A: If your well tank is water logged ( no air in holding tank anymore ) any amount of water, even a tea spoon, the well kicks on and off. If this persist, plan on buying a new well pump, it will burn up, there only so much abuse a well pump can take. To fix this Charge the tank with air again, or buy new bladder tank, they never loose air because it is in the rubber bladder ( kind of a tire tube) . Once you do this you should have longer water cycles between well pump kicking on.


Q: When drilling geothermal ground loop holes can i use a smaller 3" bit to save on grout?

Depending on what size geo pipe is used. For 1" geo loop pipe we drill a 4 1/4" bore hole. Many geothermal suppliers recommend 3 1/2" bore hole so you save money on your grout. The Problem with the smaller bore hole, you do save on grout, But grout is cheap only ( 12 bucks per bag). Too small a bore hole , will make you fight to get loops down the hole at times. What would you rather do. Buy a extra bag of 12.00 bag of grout, or have 2 men @ 14.00 per hour or more fighting, and trying to get the loops down the hole for 4 hours in the hot sun. Beware, some of the recommended specs on geo drilling, are text book answers for text book jobs. Real life drilling does not always fit in the text book job section. Also you must have a larger bit than the OD of your drill pipe. If you have 3" OD drill pipe you can not have smaller OD bit. For 3" drill pipe use no smaller bit than 4 ". You need space for water flow to work and wash cuttings up correctly.


Q: Why is it so hard to find a good quality used drilling rig?

A: Simple- Drillers Making plenty of money . Most drilling contractors are booked up for drilling jobs up to 6 months ahead. Try calling a drilling contractor, it will be days, if at all you even get a call back. In the drilling business they don't call back customers. It is your job to keep trying and calling them back. With so much well drilling and the fast growing geothermal business exploding drilling jobs are up everywhere even in a down economy. If your a drilling contractor and have a drilling rig your making 8k to 15k per week drilling with, why would you sell it for 10k. Most used rigs for sale are rigs that won't make a day drilling anymore and are worn out. Make sure you get work ready equipment. Repairs on junkie rigs can cost you 10 cents less than buying a new one . Larger heavy truck rigs are the worst about this problem. Older truck rigs, do not have parts available, so they have to be made. Our Rig inventory here.


Q: I have a running spring in our creek that stopped running last year, any suggestions?

A: Some springs are seasonal, depending on local rain and snow fall how they flow. If weather changes, the spring output does also. But stronger Springs can also be sanded in or plugged. This can happen when they get abused by cattle or wildlife trampling and packing and making sort of a mud wall cake to stop or slow the spring flow. By hand with shovel or even a small backhoe if it will fit, get down there and clean these problem areas out. Once you get them cleaned out, put large gravel or stones back in place to fill the void and allow water free flow better. I have used a simple hand post hole digger to do this in many places along our creek and got it running in more than one place . Deeper springs may require more digging depth.


Q: I want to do a sand point well in shallow 40 ft sand, can you help with how?

A: Sand points work great if your not going deep, and if formations are soft. Any rock, and the deals is off. Here is a great link that explains in detail from start to finish. If these guys don't have your answer, no one does! http://www.fdungan.com/well.htm thanks, i hope this helps you.


Q: Do you know any drilling contractors i can trust to hire?

A: Yes, i do know a few in different states. Please email me for current list.


Q: My shallow 40ft well, pump stuck and sanded in , but still barely works. How do i get it out?

A: If pump is stuck, you may try lifting pump while its running, this may let it suck sand from around it while you lift it up and real down easy. If this does not work, you may try blowing air around pump with 1" Polly pipe to clean degree from pump. If all fails and your water level is 26ft or higher, you can put a above ground electric centrifugal pump and plumb it direct to pump that is there. It will suck water through old pump and out of well.


Q: My water well pumps up to 40 psi real fast, but from 40psi to 50 psi it takes a very long, long time? Pump is 12 years old.

A: First check for any water leaks anywhere on the place, if no leaks, look at pump impeller. The Older pumps can have the pump impeller wear down on edges. The impeller is the heart of the pump. This will let it still pump water, but will take much longer to pressure up. Change the pump, and it will pressure up again. Be sure to use new pipe and wire if it is that old.


Q: I want to buy a portable drilling rig, but only have 15k to spend? What do you suggest?

A: There are many brands and types of portable drilling rigs available. I would have to know how deep and what formations before making a soiled recommendation for you. Anything new worth having prices start at around 22k to the sky the limit . Any thing new that is cheaper than 22k is going to have cheap drill pipe and a cheap swivel. Remember no real swivel, no real rig. My suggestion would be look for a quality used or refurbished rig to fit that budget. It may take awhile, because clean used drills are hard to find. We do have some used rigs available , you may see them at www.drillcat.com/UsedRigs or email us for updated list.


Q: I have a Portable rig i bought from my friend, but it will not drill in rock. We have more rock than i thought, I am using 8" blade bit and only get 1 ft per hour?

A: Drilling rock is always slower than another formation. First of all, use the smallest bit you can. 3 to 4 inch would be best. Smaller the bit, the faster the penetration. The Bit for rock needs to be rock roller cone tooth or carbide button if rock is very hard. Blade bits are for soft sand, clay and shale. Rock is not easy on blade bits. The roller cone will get you through it if you have power down, or weighted drill collars. Once pilot hole is drilled, then you can come back and ream it to desired size. Never use extra large bits to start. If you want to drill rock fast, fast fast, use a DTH hammer. the DTH hammer is like amini jack hammer and fastens where drill bit goes. The DTH hammer prices start at 3k and then you need a 15k air compressor to run it. The roller cone bits are the best bang for the buck. Remember when you take a short cut in drilling, it becomes a long cut you wish you had not done.

Q: Can i use a water well drilling rig to do my geothermal loops at home?

A: The main difference between a water well and geothermal rig is a grout pump. Some have grout pumps portable, some have grout pumps on board. The grout pump is used to grout the loops in when finished drilling. I have seen DIY Joes do there ground loops without a grout pump, they mixed grout in a wheel barrow and poured it in holes. It seem to work, gravity does pull it down, they did seem to have to top it off about 3 times a day for 2 days before they filled totally. But in a straight on a shoe string budget, it can be done. The new 10k grout pump just does it with style and speed. If your on a for money , contract job the grout pump is a must.


Q: When drilling i only get 30ft to 35ft and lose circulation. Formations here are total soft sand. How can i get though this?

A: Sand can be hard to get though. Try mixing your drilling mud thicker, then try again. Remember if you drop a BB in a glass of water it sinks, But if you drop a BB in a milk shake it floats. Clean, clear water does not drill as good as thick drilling mud or dirty water. If after you mix heavier drilling mud you don't regain circulation, there is another thing you may want to try. Run 5" to 6" casing down until it stops. Once casing is in, then you come back and drill through the middle of the casing. The casing will keep sand walls up and will not let sand keep washing out. This problem happens a lot where you have sand, sand. Too much sand can be a pain to deal with.


Q: How do i know if my well makes sand?

A: The easiest way is take the tank lid off the toilet, look in bottom of toilet tank. If you have any sediment or sand, it will settle there. If your water well makes lots of sand, you will see a little sand in bottom of glass when you get a drink. In some cases water wells that are over pumped will make sand. Do not over pump your water well. What ever the GPM out put your well makes is all you can get. If water well is a 10gpm well, do not install a 20gpm pump. This will over pump well and you risk damaging the water well.


Q: Can i do my own Geothermal system for my home?

A: It can be done, if you know how to drill your own well . Geothermal loop bore holes are easier to drill than a water well. Most geothermal bore holes are 3" to 4 1/2" in size, much smaller than a standard water well bore hole of 6" to 8". One DIY guy got a bid for a geothermal system for 4 tons of a/c and heat for there home. The price quote was 43,000.00. He did it his self including all materials for 7100.00. It took them 2 weeks and he owned his own drilling rig already, and rented the plastic fusion equipment to put geothermal pipe together with. Do your home work on what systems to use. No matter what system you use, every salesman says there equipment is the best. For more info, just email me your questions, it is hard to give complete details in one email.


Q: My well pump broke off and fell in well. I called the well drilling company and they want 1200.00 per day to try to fish it out. For 1200 per day, no guarantee on anything. And even if they get it out a new well pump for 1hp he says is 1100.00 more. What can i do?

A: 1200 bucks as high as it sounds is cheaper than most drillers charge. Fishing out a water well pump is like unlocking a car door with a coat hanger. It can be done in a few minutes or you may never get it done. Too many variables to deal with. My suggestion is check static well level. If water is high enough just set another pump above it. Well pumps are only about 2 ft tall, and even if you only have 1 - 20ft well screen, that still leaves you 18ft of well screen, more than enough. To check static water level, just use good string line with smooth ( so it does not jam) steel washer ( large heavy) works good. Put some tape on washer so sharp edges do not cut string. Lower down until you hear it splash. When you hear it splash, tie a knot in string. Once you pull string up, measure knot, then you will know how deep to the water. You will need enough water to keep pump cool and not to over heat. Also you need enough water above pump so pump never runs dry. The higher the static level, the better chance this works.


Q: We have many missionary's in Africa, but can't afford drilling equipment for them to drill with .Can we get grants or donations for drilling rigs?

A: The UN council and also the Red Cross will help, if you meet there requirements and if you can get through all there red tape, or know someone who can. My suggestions is if you get a cheaper used Drilling rig there, the Red cross pays groups and companies to drill water wells there. Your missionary's then could sustain themselves and possibly do well enough to buy more and better equipment later on.Do make sure in the area your drilling you know the formations, if they are hard or soft, this will let you know what drilling rig will work there. Email us, if you need further help.


Q: What is the fastest way we can drill rock. We have 300ft of rock, and our rig is not going but 2 ft per hour drilling.

A: Drilling rock with any rig, even large million dollar truck rigs is slower than drilling soft formations. To drill hard rock, you need a better swivel and better drill pipe and better bits. Toy rigs can not do this. Roller cone rock tooth bits - are for soft rock. If you have real hard rock, you will need carbide button roller bit with weight against it. Rig should have Power down for Rock, or several weighted drill collars. The worlds fastest way to drill Rock is the DTH ( down the hole hammer). This is basically a mini jack hammer. It screws on drill pipe like a drill bit, but works off of air instead of water. The DTH is fast, but cost much more than a roller cone bit. DTH start at 2500.00 for a 4: hammer, and you still need a 500.00 bit and a 20,000.00 air compressor to run it. On hammer drilling, the larger and deeper the Hole the more CFM's of air you need. Remember the DTH is great in hard rock, but if you hit soft formations it is useless. If you have a place where you have soft and hard formations, you may have to switch bits and DTH back and forth.


Q: We bought a cheap toy deeprock® rig and it drilled fine until we hit hard clay at 95 ft . How do we get through it with our 5 inch bit.

A: Try a smaller bit. Smaller bits drill faster and easier. The only way you can drill a large bore hole to start, is have large drill pipe and large flow mud pumps. The small toy rigs have small water course and small drill pipe. Use your smallest bit to penetrate the hard clay. Once your through the hard clay, come back with larger bit to ream it out. Reaming is always faster than drilling. One more tip, you can add weight to your drill head, but do not over do it, remember be easy with toys rigs with toy pipe. It can be done, but go slow . For plans to build drill bits, we do have a plans book for DIY water well drilling rig bits.


Q: Hello, we are missionaries who want to start drilling water wells in east Africa. We have never drilled a water well, and need training. What would you suggest we do.

A: I would suggest you get training first. If you get the training down right, then you will know what equipment will work and what does not work. A well educated man will make good decisions and know enough about drilling to get the right tools for the right job. This will save you money and keep you from wasting funds on toy rigs. For drill training go to http://www.waterwelldrillingschool.com/index.html


Q: Need to buy portable water well drilling rig- what brand do i get?

A: There are many portable water well drilling rigs for sale. The main thing is to determine how deep you need to drill and what formations your drilling. The deeper you need to drill, the better rig it will take. Also the harder the formation is, the better the rig it will take. Cheap toy rigs will not drill deep, or drill hard rock. Do not look for brand, look for real quality parts. Most important is you need a real Swivel and real drill pipe. Home made swivels with no weight rating and toy plumbing pipe will not drill deep. Cheaper rigs use china plumbing pipe and call it drill pipe. The longer the drill pipe the better. 10ft or 15ft drill pipe is better than 4ft drill pipe. The problem is better swivels and drill pipe equals more money. The only time you can get away with a cheap toy drilling rig, is if your only drilling soft and only going 150ft or less. If your drilling large bore holes, or deep bore holes, it will take better equipment which mean money. The better portable drilling rigs prices start at 25k, anything priced cheaper will be used or toy rigs.( Rig inventory ) We sell used rigs and refurbished drills.


Q: We have a water well in remote ranch we bought, but no electric power there, how do we pump water?

A: If you just need a little water to drink or camp with, a Hand pump will work, if your static water level is not over 26ft down. Deeper water will require a better hand pump or solar or D/C pump. Surflow make a good cheap pump, or windmill may be a option. But wind mills are 4500.00, so solar would be cheaper to set up. Complete solar water pump set up starts around 1400.00 turn key. If you use china junk, it will be cheaper. If you have a generator you can install cheap standard electric pump, and run genset for water. Only thing the generators cost big bucks for fuel. If you could put together small solar system and D/C pump would be great.


Q: We bought a cheap toy rig, and saved money ! Now at 60ft i lost the pipe and well caved in. Can i upgrade to bigger drill pipe?

A: Most toy drilling rigs have cheap china plumbing pipe ( they call real drill pipe) and cheap home built toy swivels . With very small 3/4 or 1" pipe, there is not enough water flow to keep bore hole washed clean, not to mention the thin NPT threads that fail the first time you hit hard dirt. Even if you get a larger mud pump for more flow, the small drill pipe restricts flow too much. If you add a larger flow drill pipe, then the swivel will be the weak link. If you do upgrade drill this is what you would need. Real drill pipe 2" or larger. Better swivel with water course to match pipe flow. The Problem is the cost of good drill pipe alone is more than a total toy rig package price. Getting a cheap drilling rig, is like getting a cheap jet airplane. You may sell your toy rig in paper or in yard sale. You may try renting a better larger drilling rig. Then you save money, but have a drill that will go through the hard stuff.


Q: We are drilling hard rock and only getting 2 ft per hour with 4" drag bit.

A: Drilling rock is always slower than soft drilling, you do need a better bit match up. In soft fractured rock, the drag bits works some, but real hard rock will require a rock roller cone drill bit ( carbide button) or DTH. The DTH is expensive, the cheapest way to drill hard rock is roller cone button bit. Here are some rock drilling tips. Turn bit slower. The harder the formation, the slower you want to turn the bit. Slower bit RPMS cut better. Too fast of rotation bit will spin and not bite. Add weight. Adding weight to bits will help them bite. Weighted drill collars or using power down will help you get results. Drop Fracturing - if your rig has a free fall winch or fast hydraulics you can raise bit up 6 to 10 Inches above formation ,then drop bit fast on rock. This hitting action will fracture rock and help you inch through the hard formation. Once you drop bit and fracture rock, then you rotate and when penetration stops repeat again, and repeat. DANGER, do not over do this, or get too wild. You can damage swivel or break things . Be careful.


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