How Long Can You Run A Sprinkler On A Well?

Wells are common for out-of-town homeowners who don’t have easy access to their city’s water supply. If you live within the city limits, accessing water likely isn’t an issue for you. However, water access is one of the main challenges for out-of-town properties. Many plots don’t have access to water, and those that do usually feature a well. 

So, if your home pulls water from a well, can you run a sprinkler using that water? Will it cause the well to run dry? Is there a better alternative? These are all valid questions that may concern a homeowner using a well. If you’re asking these same questions, stick around to learn more!

Can I Use My Well To Water My Lawn?

Absolutely, you can use your well to water your lawn. As long as you have an appropriately sized pump, you shouldn’t have any issues running an irrigation system off your well. Without a correctly-sized pump, you’ll have water pressure and flow problems. 

Additionally, you need to consider the recharge rate and capacity of the well. This is an important aspect to consider before proceeding with this type of thing. Before starting to use your well to water your lawn, you need to know what this is.

Why? Let’s consider an example. Perhaps your pump runs 20 GPM (gallons per minute) at 60psi (pounds per square inch), but the well can only provide 10 GPM. In this particular scenario, you’ll draw down the well at 10 GPM. 

When this happens, you’ll exhaust the water in the well, eventually pulling air. At this point, you’ll burn out the pump. So, you need to know these numbers so you can choose an appropriately sized pump that won’t exhaust the well water. This way, you give the well adequate time to recharge without pulling all the water at once. 

If you’re unsure of these numbers for your well, we recommend enlisting the help of an irrigation professional who is well versed in well installs. They can tell you everything you need to know about your well before using it to water your lawn. 

Can You Run Sprinklers Off A Well?


Certainly, you can run sprinklers off a well. Of course, this is subjective to your particular scenario, but generally, it should be just fine. 

Consider this: about half of American farmers use drilled well water to irrigate their crops. Usually, it’s well water and a center pivot that gets the job done, providing plenty of water to the growing crops. So, if a farmer can use hundreds of gallons of well water (probably more) to water their fields, you shouldn’t have an issue using your well to water your lawn. Of course, you need a good, steady source of water, but providing your well isn’t at risk of running dry, there shouldn’t be a problem. 

Here are a few considerations that may affect whether you can run your sprinkler system off your well water:

Cistern Additions

Some homes might have a cistern, which is a water storage container. Well water is stored in the cistern, so there’s always readily available water. If you have a cistern, you should be able to run your sprinkler system without a hitch, although it does depend on the size of the cistern. 

Water Access

Another consideration is where your well is pulling from. Some wells may pull from underground rivers or streams, while others get water from ancient aquifers within the ground. While it’s possible that the well could run dry, most correctly drilled wells will last your family a lifetime. 

That said, if the well is too shallow, it might only be a water table well. So, these wells may be run dry due to various reasons. 

Check With The Pros

Ultimately, multiple factors go into answering these questions. Although the answer is that it’s generally acceptable to use your well to water your lawn, this might not be the scenario for everyone. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to contact a professional for help. 

It’s better to be on the safe side than burn out your well pump or run the well dry by not allowing it adequate time to recharge. 

How Long Should You Leave A Sprinkler On?


For the most part, you should give your lawn about one inch of water per week. In the sweltering summer months, you might need to up the amount. Or, when the temperatures begin to drop as summer withers away, you might be able to decrease the amount. 

When it rains, you may not have to water nearly as much, if at all. It all depends on the particular scenario. 

However, let’s stick to the average of one inch of water per week. You usually need to water your lawn for about one hour using a sprinkler to achieve this result. It’s typically best to break this up into a few separate sessions, so you could split it into two or three watering sessions. 

If you’d like, you could water twice a week for 30 minutes each time. This will give your lawn about half an inch of water each session. Or, water three times a week for 20 minutes each time. This will provide you with the same end result, whichever option you choose. 

For the most part, folks use a standard ⅝-inch garden hose hooked up to a standard sprinkler, which is reflected by the numbers in our answer. 

How Long Can You Leave A Sprinkler On With A Well?

The answer to this question varies, so giving one precise number is tricky. Every scenario is different – if you have a cistern or holding tank, the sprinkler may eventually deplete this quicker than the pump can bring in more water. Of course, this depends on the size of the cistern and the size of the pump. 

Or, if you pump straight from the well, the time frame depends on the flow rate, recharge time, and size of the pump. Given the variability due to the numerous factors involved, we can’t give an exact answer to this question. 

Again, if you’re unsure of the capabilities of your well and its pump, we recommend seeking the assistance of an irrigation professional with well experience. They’ll be able to tell you what you need to know regarding your well so you can get an irrigation system set up to work seamlessly with your well.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Happens If I Forget My Sprinkler On?

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Leaving the sprinkler on is a painfully easy thing to do. You turn on the water, walk away to set a timer, and get distracted doing something else. Or, maybe you decide against a timer because you’ll remember to shut it off (disclaimer: it’s an easy thing to forget). 

So, now your sprinkler has been on for hours, maybe even overnight. While this is hard on your water bill, it’s even harder on your plants. Majorly overwatering can cause irreparable damage to your lawn and plants. That said, if your area is extremely hot and dry, the plants might be just fine, as they probably could use the water. 

However, as a general rule of thumb, we recommend being diligent with watering and setting a timer. When you accidentally forget the hose on, though, don’t panic; just remember to shut it off right away.