Winterizing Your Well System
As temperatures drop and we prepare for winter, homeowners must also prepare their water well system for cold weather. It’s important to winterize your water well system as part of its regular maintenance. Freezing conditions can cause mechanical systems to fail, and it is important to take some precautions for your water system. Overall, a well system isn’t prone to failure because of cold weather, but there are a few components you’ll want to check. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your well operates properly during freezing temps.
Check Your Crawl Space Entrance and Vents
Many homeowners have their well pressure tank in the crawl space, and it is important to keep it from freezing. The 1/4” nipple to your pressure switch is the most likely part to freeze, so if you are ever out of water on a really cold day the first thing to try is a hairdryer directed at the nipple under the switch. Often, crawl spaces are warmer than the outside temperature, but they can soon lose this warmth if the entrance or vents are left open allowing cold air to get in. Be sure your crawl space entrance and vents are closed and sealed with insulation to keep your pressure tank and its components from being exposed to the elements. Additionally, if your pressure tank or extensive plumbing are in the garage, be sure to keep your garage door closed to prevent cold air from getting in.
Check Your Water Well Cap
A properly installed well cap will keep out bugs and vermin, as well as winter weather. This is the cap that goes directly over your well head and allows access to your water well pump and water line. The water line from your well to your home should be buried below the freeze line—36 inches in Indiana—but your water well cap must be positioned correctly to keep cold air and snow from entering the system. Also, rainwater, runoff, and sundry critters are denied access with a properly installed well cap, in any season. Your water well cap acts as a bit of “insulation” and stops cold air and rain from getting into the well.
Check Your Indoor Plumbing
While the pipes inside your home aren’t technically a part of your well system, they are still a very important element to having potable water inside your home. If these pipes freeze, it can be catastrophic and very expensive. If your pipes are exposed to the elements, they could freeze and burst, leaving you with hefty emergency repair bills. One way to prevent this headache is to insulate any piping that might be vulnerable to the cold weather. You can wrap them with polyethylene or thermal blankets to lock in heat, and secure them with watertight tape. If the temperature is going to be below freezing for an extending period of time, you can also let your faucets drip to create friction and heat. With a drip from your faucet, the water inside your pipes is being constantly replaced, which can prevent it from freezing.
Still Have Questions About Winterizing Your Well?
The good news is, the ground water supplied to and held by your well generally stays at approximately 55 degrees, year-round, regardless of whether it’s 100 degrees or 0 degrees outside. This keeps most of the equipment (which is submerged in the water) at a constant and suitable temperature, for which it is built. You can always opt to get an inspection of your well system. If you are unsure about your water well system’s viability, or if you need help preparing it for winter weather give C&J Well Co. a call today!