Screens are an essential component of wells and one of the first safeguards between the aquifer water and your home. Ultimately their job is to filter out the bad stuff. This week we are exploring everything that it is important for homeowners to know about well screens. Read on to learn how well screens work and the different types of screens.

So How Does A Well Screen Work?

Well screens sit in the pipe between the aquifer the well is pulling from the point where water is consumed in the home. Water is pushed through it, and particles and sediment are caught in the screen. This prevents those particles from getting into the potable water supply.

Designing well screens is a very detail-oriented process. There must be enough spaces to allow free flow of water, but none of them can be too big. The openings must maintain a certain size, but also not get clogged up from debris. Additionally, the screens must resist rust and corrosion, despite sitting in water all the time. If any of those components do not fit the standards, it causes a variety of issues.

There are many issues a poorly designed or installed screen can cause.

  • Sediment passing through the screen and getting into the home water supply.
  • Sediment clogging up the screen and restricting or stopping water flow completely.
  • The screen rusts or erodes, leading to additional sediment and particles in the water.
  • The screen slipping sideways and effectively doing nothing.

Types Of Screens

There are a few different options when it comes to screens. The type of screen depends on a few different factors, ask your well contractor what works best for you.

Continuous-Slot Screen

The continuous-slot screen is the most widely used kind of screen in water wells. It also has applications in many other industries such as oil and gas. Continuous-slot screen are made by winding rolled wire around a circular frame of stainless-steel rods. They are attached via welding.

The openings between the coils of wire are where the water passes through. So the manufacturer simply spaces the coils to the desired width.

Slotted Plastic Pipe

Slotted plastic pipe is used in very specific situations, specifically in clay rich soils where water is hard to find. The slotted plastic pipe has quite a few pros going for it. It is not affected by water (it does not corrode, nor rust), it is easy to install, and is relatively inexpensive.

However, slotted plastic pipes do not allow nearly as much water through as a continuous-slot screen does. In addition to this, it is not nearly as strong as a continuous slot screen because plastic is much weaker than metal. In fact, it is quite literally a fraction of the strength of stainless steel.