How to Drill Your Own Water Well

85 web pages and 52 videos entirely devoted
to helping you drill your own well

You can drill your own shallow water well using PVC and household water hoses.   It is a cheap and effective way to dig your own shallow water well.  Water well drilling isn’t just for the pros with huge commercial drilling rigs.  Digging a water well yourself is both interesting and fun.

How to Drill Your Own Water Well

The water well drilling methods described here work well in digging/drilling through dirt, and clay, including really hard clay.  They will not work if you need to drill through rock but, if the area you live in is flat or relatively flat, it is definitely worth a try.  Many folks think they have to dig or drill their well into an aquifer.  For irrigation and lawn watering, reaching an aquifer isn’t necessary.  You only have to drill under the standing water level. It is very likely that you can drill your own well.  Many successful wells have been drilled using this well drilling method.  It is cheap. You can expect the “drilling” portion of the project to cost about $200.


In these pages the “do it yourself water well drilling” technique is referred to as well drilling, but many call this technique “washing” or “jetting” a well.   It is somewhat similar to the rotary bit method which most real water well drillers use for water bore drilling.  

The DIY technique involves water pumped down the center of a PVC schedule 40 pipe used as both a drill stem and a drill bit.  At the bottom end of the PVC pipe a “drill bit” is fashioned by cutting teeth into the end of the PVC pipe.  The pipe is rotated back and forth as the PVC pipe is slowly worked into the ground while the cuttings are brought to the surface by the upward flow of water in the annular space around the pipe.   If you want to dig your own well, try this technique. 

Installing a well and a pump can save a lot of money, especially if you are now paying the local utility for irrigation water.  You have probably noticed that just watering the lawn can get expensive.  You can spend less money watering the lawn.  Actually, you can spend almost no money watering the lawn.  It is great for gardeners, too.

If you are a first time visitor to the site you will probably want to start out with either the “Background” or the “Basic Well Drilling Steps” pages.  The bulk of the site is dedicated to drilling water wells using just two hoses for drilling fluid.  Inexpensive PVC is used for the drill pipe, the drill bit, and the well screen.  This DIY water well drilling technique is very cheap and many successful shallow wells have been installed using this technique. 

When drilling a well by hand, it can be very helpful to at least be familiar with the techniques used by real well drillers – the kind with big powerful trucks and huge water tanks.  What we do is extremely similar, almost identical.  We can’t dig holes as wide or as deep but it is the same process.  A local well drilling company was kind enough to let me video their process.  Check it out at “Real Well Drilling.”

There are several enhancements you can make to the basic DIY well drilling technique.  To make the technique even more effective you can use the techniques described on the pages, “Drilling Deeper with BENTONITE” and “Drill 10 Feet Deeper.”  Additionally, converting to a metal drill bit will make your drilling more productive.  These are all techniques that were sent in by users of the site and discovered as they drilled their wells.

A gravel pack can increase a well’s production so there is a section on them.  I don’t recommend you include a gravel pack on your first well but after you get the hang of the technique this is something you will probably want to check out the pages on gravel packs.

Don’t go shopping for a pump without reading this page: Which Pump? You want a shallow well pump, also known as a suction pump. Pool pumps and other types of transfer pumps will not work.

In the “Videos” section, you will find videos that show techniques used world wide.  Some of these techniques, like the Baptist Method, require very little drilling fluid and have been used for centuries.

We’ve been fortunate enough to receive some input from Bob Tabor, a real well driller who has been drilling wells all of his life.  Please be sure and check out the page – “Advice from a REAL Well Driller.”

Bill Granade in Tampa, Florida has developed a very similar DIY water well drilling technique.  He has been wildly successful.  Bill has helped his neighbors drill a bunch of wells his protocols may be useful to you.  Look under “Another Home Driller.”

Several users of this site have been kind enough to send pictures and info about wells that they have drilled.  Check out “Success Stories” in the menu.  For example, one of our recent success stories, Steve in South Jersey is interesting. Steve needed a way to water his Christmas tree farm and he successfully drilled his own well.  Very impressive effort!  We even got a wonderful email from Greg in Australia about his successful well. 

For drillers interested in moving up to the next level: be sure and check out the page on Mud Pump Drilling. It is absolutely the way to go if you can buy or borrow a mud pump (sometimes called a trash pump).  It costs more than the two hose method but is still a lot less expensive than hiring a driller.

There is a section for Questions and Answers where I have posted the most common questions I receive.  I hope it helps you.  There are also sections on Source of Supply, Well Drilling Manuals as well as Well Drilling Links.

Commercially drilled water wells tend to be very expensive.  This DIY well drilling technique is very cheap.  It will almost definitely work if you live near the coast and will likely work if you live in a flat inland area.It is great for saving money on watering your lawn and irrigating a garden.

As I mentioned in the video, the most interesting things I have experienced in posting this website are the enhancements and improvements that YOU, the viewers and users of this site have submitted.  I figured out a few improvements to the Brady Well Kit early on and I managed to drill a functional well after several tries and that is why I posted the site.  And then – users started writing me and showing me things they had discovered!  At this point, I can safely say that most of the techniques presented here are not mine.  They are yours!  I hope they help you.  I hope that if you discover an improvement or an enhancement that you will send it to me so I can post it for others to use.

Below is a video submitted by one of the users of this site.  Please take a look at the DIY water well drilled by Travis of Mobile, Alabama.  Travis used a 10 foot long 1.25 inch well screen.  Congratulations, Travis! 

The links in the menu describe the steps in detail. You can pick and choose what subjects to review by clicking on menu items or, if you want to be sure and hit every page, simply click on the “Next:” link at the bottom of each page.

Next: Background