How To Prevent Private Wells From Freezing
Winterize Your Water Well
For those of you that rely on well water, winter can be a time to close attention to well and plumbing components, especially if your area regularly experiences freezing temperatures in the winter months.
Most who rely on wells for their home water supply won’t run into any major problems during winter. However, it is still important to know what to watch for in order to prevent any situations from occurring. Common cold weather water problems with well systems include frozen pipes, pump issues and power loss.
Preventing Frozen Plumbing Pipes
Water wells are designed to access groundwater that rarely freezes due to the earths natural ability to hold heat from the warmer months. That’s why most of the components are underground, below the freeze line. Still, plumbing pipes have to come aboveground to enter your home. To keep these pipes from freezing, wrap with good quality pipe insulation or heat tape. If your pipes are protected by a crawl space or other structure that is attached to your home, be sure to also insulate these walls. All of this material is available at your local home center at an affordable price.
Avoiding Well Water Pump Problems
Water well pumps are typically installed underground, in the hole dug to access groundwater. Sometimes, these pumps will be aboveground. Underground pumps are usually protected from the cold winter elements, but it never hurts to inspect your well hole and make sure it is properly sealed. For aboveground pumps, a small insulated well house (about the size of a dog house) with a flood light inside will keep temperatures from dropping to low and prevent the components from freezing. Easy building plans for these well houses can be found online and are also very affordable.
Dealing With Power (and Water Supply) Loss
One of the scariest things that can happen in wintertime is a loss of power. Losing power can mean a loss of critical water, since well pumps are electric.
Well owners must plan to use alternative methods, other than power, to protect them and their water in the event of a power outage. Portable generators are used as a backup electrical supply, but need a steady flow of gasoline or diesel to keep them running. Emergency standby generators that run on natural gas are another option, but these systems tend to be much more expensive. Many homeowners store an emergency fresh water supply inside in the event of an extended power outage.
Staying safe and enjoying a constant fresh water supply from your well means taking some common sense steps before winter arrives.