Realtors and Water Testing

Real Estate Service Request Form

NOTE: This is not an electronic form – you’ll need to print it, fill it out, and send it back to us. You can fax or email it, and we’ll let you know when we receive it. If you don’t get confirmation, please give us a call. We will call ahead to schedule a time for service. Normally, we may take up to 2 weeks to complete your request. If you need service sooner than 2 weeks, please check the box for expedited service. Additional fees may apply to expedited service.


In Idaho, most homes out in the country have a well and water system. This is the main source for drinking and irrigation water. But even homes that are close to the city may have a well. When you’re selling a home with a well, there are tests that have to be done, tests that should be done, and tests that could be done if you really want to. If you’d like us to take a look at your system, just print and fill out this form and send it to us. (You can fax it, or you can scan and email it to Once we get the request, we’ll contact you to schedule an appointment. When the results come back from the lab, we’ll get them to you by email, fax, or mail – whichever works best for you.

Please note: Different samples can take different amounts of time, so please plan accordingly:

  • Bacteriological: at least 24 hours, sometimes up to 3-4 days
  • Nitrate: 1-2 weeks
  • Arsenic: several weeks to months
  • Expedited service is available from the lab for an additional fee.

Also: we try to schedule service requests within two weeks of when we receive them. If you need service more quickly, please check the box for expedited service. Last-minute service checks and missed appointments may result in an additional fee.

Water Sample, aka Potability

A water sample is used to evaluate the cleanliness, or potability, of water provided to a home. (“Potable” means the water is safe to drink. Non-potable water, labeled such at some parks, is not safe for drinking.) Usually a potability test checks for bacteria in the water. A negative result means the water is clean and free from microorganisms that can make you sick, while a positive result means you have bacteria in your water that need to be cleaned. A bacteriological sample is the bare minimum required for selling a home, but in some areas a nitrate sample is also required. If you have questions about the regulations in your area, give us a call.

Our crew is trained and experienced in laboratory procedures to eliminate sampling errors. In other words, if the test comes back clean, you know the water’s OK. But if the test comes back dirty, you can be pretty sure the problem is in the water system, and you’ll need some kind of disinfection done. (if that’s the case, we can take care of disinfecting the system too.)

Most water samples we take are checking for Bacteria or Nitrates, and occasionally Arsenic, Lead, and Copper. A nitrate sample, for instance, might show if your well water contains runoff from farm or dairy industries. The others could tell you whether your well contains levels of dissolved materials that could be harmful. We’re not limited to just these, though. We can test for pretty much anything you can think of (and can afford – these tests can get spendy).

If you can’t decide which tests to take, give us a call. We’re familiar with water quality in most areas of Southern Idaho, and we can help you get the best information for your money.

Flow Test, aka Productivity

A flow test is designed to calculate the amount of water that the well and water system will produce. This information tells you how much water is available for a sprinkler system, showers, dishwashers, and other day-to-day water uses.

Often, realtors will use a flow test as an indicator that the system is working and producing water. While this is technically true, there are times when a component can fail but the system will still deliver water. For example, a waterlogged tank won’t stop the system from producing water. It will, however, cause the pump to turn on and off each time you use water – which causes premature wear. A simple flow test won’t catch potential failures like this in the water system so for those, we recommend a service check.

A flow test is performed by running the pump at maximum capacity and measuring the amount of water it produces.

Service Check

Pump, Motor, Controls, Pressure Tank: When one of our agents performs a service check, it’s not just a visual inspection of your well and controls. We use testing equipment to check the electrical balance of the pump and the controls, evaluate the status of the control box components, and check the functionality of the pressure tank and other parts of the system.

Checking the electrical function of the pump can be done from the surface without pulling the pump, and can tell us a lot about what kind of shape it’s in. For example, if the pump is showing a higher-than-normal amperage, it might mean that the motor is wearing out. These kinds of clues can tell us more about the system. For example, we might be able to say that a pump is wearing out, and will likely need to be replaced soon. Or we might find that there’s a leak in the system that needs to be repaired.

Control box components are critical to the normal operation of the pump, and are usually found by the blue pressure tank. These are components like relays, capacitors, and pressure switches. Newer pumps might have a computerized drive instead. Typically, these components either work or they don’t – but a service check includes a test of these components, to make sure they are working correctly.

A pressure tank is a blue storage tank hooked to the plumbing. It might be a big one, the size of a water heater, or a small one about the size of a basketball. It has two functions. First, it provides a reservoir of water in a bladder to ease the burden on the pump. Second, it helps to pressurize the water in the system, so that you can run the dishwasher and take a shower at the same time. If the tank is waterlogged, a flow test won’t show it – but it will cause the pump to turn off and on frequently, and wear out the pump. Newer systems might substitute a big tank for a small one plus a computerized drive.

Other Services

Sanitary Evaluation: Idaho Department of Water Resources has guidelines for the construction of a well, to ensure that contaminants don’t seep down into the aquifer. If you’d like, we can make sure that the wellhead is compliant. This means checking the construction of the wellhead and looking for potential sources of contamination nearby.

Chlorination and Sanitizing: If you get a positive result on water samples twice in a row, you probably have a contaminated well. We can provide both one-time and sustained disinfection services to deal with bacteria. For other contaminants, we can recommend reverse-osmosis and other purifying systems.

Check for Leaks / Water Provided to House and Irrigation: If you suspect there’s a leak or blockage, we can inspect the pipelines to see if there’s evidence of a problem. Sometimes it’ll be a problem we can fix, like a leaking frostproof hydrant right by the well. Some problems we can’t fix though, like leaky sprinklers – but we can point you in the right direction for a solution.