Can Your Well Freeze in the Winter?

July 3, 2020

One question we commonly hear from our clients is if there is any risk of well water freezing during the coldest parts of winter in Columbia, TN.

This phenomenon is uncommon—generally, well water is protected from freezing because it’s located deep enough underground that it’s not going to be exposed or vulnerable to the freezing conditions on the surface. The wells are dug below the frost line, which is the point at which the ground could potentially freeze during cold weather, meaning any problems you encounter will arise as the water gets closer to the surface.

Generally speaking, water flow problems that occur during the winter are instead the result of frozen pipes connected to the well or the home. It is important to know what to do when well pipes freeze, and the steps you should take if you encounter any issues with your well during the winter.

Preventing frozen well pipes

You can prevent yourself from having to deal with frozen well pipes by taking several proactive measures to protect them.

If you’re dealing with a cold snap, it’s a good idea to allow a slow drip of warm water to continuously emit from your taps. This will help keep enough water flowing through that the pipes will not freeze. This isn’t an ideal solution, as you will waste water in the process, but it’s at least a step you can take until you’re able to take more significant preventative measures.

A better long-term solution is to use pipe wrapping supplies. You can find piping insulation sleeves at most hardware and plumbing supply stores. These sleeves are easy to install and add some warmth and insulation for your above-ground pipes.

You should also take care to insulate your well house. Protect the pump and the well components—adding insulation to the well house will help prevent the pump from freezing.

Defrosting well pipes when they’re frozen

If you’re dealing with unusually low water pressure, this could be a sign that you have frozen well pipes. Before you can thaw them, you’re going to need to figure out the location of the freeze.

Your first step will be to turn off water to the house. Next, follow the pipes from the faucet where you’re having pressure issues and see if you can find any pipes that are covered in frost or ice, or any pipes that appear to be bulging or otherwise damaged. You will eventually reach a point where pipes run behind walls, so you should also look for frost or condensation.

If the frozen area is exposed, you can use a heat lamp, hair dryer or heating pad to thaw out the ice and get the water flowing again. Once the area is thawed out, you should use insulation wrapping to make sure that section of pipe doesn’t freeze again.

If the pipes are inside a wall, the job will be a bit harder. Turning up the heat will help, and holding a hair dryer to the wall may be effective. In extreme cases, you may need to cut open the wall to provide direct heat and insulation.

For more information about dealing with what to do when your well pipes freeze, or for help with other aspects of well service in Columbia, TN, contact Action Electric Motor & Pump Repair today.

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