Winterizing Water Well Systems
Winter is approaching…prepare your well system!
We wanted to take a moment to warn you to prepare your well system for the upcoming winter. In preparing your
system for freezing temperatures it is important to remember the governing principle that whatever is exposed to freezing temps will freeze. This includes piping, well heads, pressure tanks and pressure switches. A frozen well head can not only be extremely harmful to a pump but, if left uncorrected for extended periods, can also cause permanent damage to PVC well casing.
This is due to the heat generated by the motor in the well. Under normal circumstances the small amount of heat put off by the motor is dissipated in the water that is being pumped from the well. In the case of a frozen well head, water is not allowed to leave the well so heat continues to build up around the motor and once the temperature rises to around 140 degrees, PVC casing becomes extremely weak and can collapse which will ruin the well and thus, cause you to have to drill a new well.
Protect your system from freezing temperatures by using these tips:
If your well is still at a new construction site and/or is not being used on a daily basis, you should consider turning the power off and draining the system when not in use. When the system is drained and while the power is left off, please leave all valves open as this will prevent damage to the valves.
Concrete well covers: Slide the lid back off the top of your concrete cover (careful the lid is heavy) and lay a sheet of insulation around the well head and plumbing. Then replace the lid. Ensure that air is not allowed to freely blow under the cover by scraping a bit of dirt up against the bottom edge of the cover.
If your pressure tank is under a fake rock or inside of a concrete cover, you should lay a blanket of insulation over the entire system leaving no part of the system uncovered. If you feel the need to wrap individual pipes, we would still strongly urge you to lay a sheet of insulation over the entire system that is under the cover. Once you have laid a blanket of insulation over the system, replace the cover back over the tank and well head and ensure that wind is not allowed to freely blow under the cover by scraping a bit of dirt up against the bottom edge of the cover.
If your pressure tank is exposed to the elements, you should cover the pressure tank and plumbing with large sheets of insulation ensuring no part of the system is exposed. Once covered with insulation, wrap a tarp around the system. Be sure to extend the tarp all the way to the ground and weigh the tarp down against the earth. This will allow earth heat to tunnel up and assist in keeping the system from freezing. Again, make sure wind cannot blow under the tarp.
Frost free faucets do not need to be freeze protected as long as they are turned off completely. When completely turned off, these faucets are designed such that the parts of the faucet that are above ground will automatically drain.
Pressure switches that freeze in an off position can cause you to be without water. However, if a pressure switch freezes in the on position, then it can cause extremely high pressure, or even ruptured pipes. To ensure this does not occur and as stated above it is imperative that you ensure your tank, pipes, and system are insulated.