How Do I Prevent My Well From Freezing?
Charlotte winter weather is unpredictable. One day we can get temps in the 60s or even 70s; the next day it may dip below freezing - and stay there for days and days, even, on occasion, weeks. When we get extended cold spells, where the weather remains below freezing for days on end, Charlotte homeowners end up with problems like frozen pipes, and, in particular, frozen wells. If you want to prevent your well from freezing, you’ll want to follow these simple steps to protect your well:
Get Out Your Camera
You might think this is crazy, but the first thing you’ll want to do is to take a photo of the tag on the well pipe (that metal plate you see that has the well depth, water level, and other important information on it) so you have this information on hand. It’s good to know how old your well is and what the well depth is in case you have problems with your well in the future.
Prepare The Pipes
Your pump is actually deep down inside your well, so you’ll actually be looking at an extension of the well casing and the associate pipes. You’ll need to measure the length of the pipes that are exposed (out of the ground) so you can insulate them. If the pipes are somewhat frozen already, use a hair dryer to warm them up and then use an old towel to wipe them down.
Insulate The Pipes
You can use one of many types of insulation. Some people like foam pipe insulation, but others cut up old sweatshirts or a thick fabric like sweatshirt material or a thermal blanket. If you use sweatshirt material, be sure to wrap it twice (double thickness) to make sure the pipes are insulated enough. Use heat tape to attach the material or insulation around the pipes and to keep it secured. Follow these step by step instructions for insulating pipes if you need additional directions.
Install A Heat Lamp
Now you’ll want to install a heat lamp inside the well house. You’ll need to plug it in, so be sure to use outdoor-safe extension cord to connect the lamp to the electrical outlet. The heat lamp will keep the well nice and warm.
Cover The Well
Cover the well with one of the following:
- An insulated, preconstructed well cover (you can find fiberglass rocks or well houses for sale at hardware stores)
- A trash can (better yet, a trash can within a trash can, with insulation in between the two cans)
- A brick well house
- A framed well house
If Your Well Is Frozen
If you've hit this article and you're already dealing with a frozen well, we can help you out. First, try thawing the pipes with a hair dryer. Be careful when running extension cords outside in the winter (watch out for water at the connection point where you could get an electric shock), and make sure to wave the hair dryer around at different points in the pipes and visible parts to your well. Expect to spend a good half hour to hour doing this. Do not use a space heater unless you are willing to watch it carefully.
If you are dealing with frozen pipes and need detailed instructions for safely thawing them, read this article on how to thaw frozen pipes.
Once you think the well and pipes are unfrozen, check to see if the well is still working. Unfortunately, frozen pipes can cause the pipes to shut off tightly, which can ruin a submersible pump. If your pump is not working or you have a broken pipe that is now leaking, call us right away for a consultation.
Need Charlotte Plumbing Services?
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