If cold winter temperatures have you worrying about frozen pipes and your water supply, a bit of information can be helpful if your home is serviced by a water well.
As a rule, water inside a well will not freeze. This is because even shallow wells are dug below the frost line, which is the point where the ground freezes based upon the average cold temperatures in your area. This also is true for wells that use a deep well pump to push water to the house. Such pumps are installed at the base of the well below the frost line.
But while these factors provide some safety from a deep freeze, understand that water traveling through pipes to your home or through walls in your home may still be vulnerable to freezing temperatures.
Also, wells that are operated using jet pumps require additional attention. Jet pumps are above ground pumps that pull water from a well. Some are housed in the basement of the home they serve, but if they are housed outside, they must be situated inside a well house that will protect them from freezing. Jet pumps generate a fair amount of heat just by running, and with proper insulation, it is unlikely your outside jet pump will freeze in the winter.
That being said, problems do arise when temperatures drop, so a few tips can help keep your water flowing.
- Check your exterior well pump before cold weather hits to be sure it is running properly and cover all exposed parts in insulation.
- Confirm the well house is well insulated and in good condition.
- Wrap the pipes leading to and from your well pump with good quality insulation.
- Be sure water lines running to your home and inside exterior walls in your home are wrapped in good quality insulation.
- On unusually cold nights, keeping faucets running at a slow drip can keep water in the pipes from freezing.
If your pipes freeze
If you have very low water pressure or no water, odds are water has frozen somewhere in the supply line. Follow the pipes from the faucet looking for a section that is frosted, iced over or bulging. If the pipes are inside the wall, you may notice a portion of the wall that has condensation on it.
If the frozen section isn’t too large and you can access it, you may be able to thaw it using a hair dryer directly on the section of pipe. For pipes inside walls, you may need to cut out part of the wall to access the pipe. You may also try a heating pad or electric heat tape wrapped around the frozen section of pipe.
Be sure to keep faucets open if you suspect frozen pipes. Remove the heat source once the ice has released and allow running water to clear the rest of the ice from the pipe.
If the frozen section is close to an exterior pump, open a faucet to relieve pressure and check for ice in the pump as well.
If your pump freezes
It is rare for properly insulated exterior pumps to freeze, so be sure to first check for ice in the supply lines leading to and from the pump. If there is ice in the pump as well, run a space heater near the pump and add insulation to hold in the warm ambient air. If this does not thaw the pump, call a professional.
If you aren’t sure that your water pump and water lines are protected from freezing temperatures, call the experts at Adams & Sons Pump Service for a seasonal inspection. Our team will check your well, well pump and water lines for efficient operation and proper insulation to be sure your water supply system is not vulnerable to freezing or rupture this winter. Click here for more information about well services from Adams & Sons.