How to unfreeze a well pump is something many people in colder climates face in the winter. A well pump should be installed in a place that protects it from freezing but sometimes when unusually cold weather hits, a heating failure occurs or, something is left open such as a window or, door to a crawl space a well pump system can freeze.
Frozen Pipe Repair Videos By Joseph & Robert
In the worst case scenario the pipes between the well and the house can freeze but these are usually buried deep enough in the ground that freezing will not occur except in a unusually prolonged extreme cold weather period.
Only quick action can save the system from severe damage from the expansion of ice causing pipes and equipment to split open needing replacement. The first thing you should do is to find where the freezing has occurred and get heat to the area that is frozen. Space heaters, hair dryers, and heat guns are valuable tools to use for thawing pipes and equipment. Be careful using space heaters and heat guns avoiding any fire hazards and never use a torch. If metal pipes are frozen you can call a plumber that has a electric pipe thawing machine that safely sends a low voltage, high amperage electrical current through the pipe warming it and thawing the ice.
The first sign of freezing is often turning on the water at a fixture inside your home and not having anything come out. You should then check hot and cold at all the other fixtures in the home and see if it is only a frozen pipe to a single area or, if your entire home is without water. If your entire home is without water you should head to where the pressure tank is located and try the drain valve to see if there is water coming out of the drain valve when you open it. If you get water out of the drain valve then the pipes are frozen between the well pump system and the rest of the house so you should work on thawing those pipes. If no water is coming out of the drain then either the pump is not working or, the system is frozen.
There are two basic types of well pump systems, those using a submersible pump in the well and those using a shallow well or, deep well jet pump that have the well pump located out of the well either in a house or pump house.
On a submersible pump system the primary freezing exposure is the parts of the system above ground including the check valve, drain valve, pressure switch, relief valve, and pressure gauge. These parts if exposed to cold temperatures will freeze first. The secondary exposure to freezing on a submersible pump system would be the line between the pitless adapter on the well casing and the above ground part of the system. The above ground portion of the system can be thawed fairly easily and quickly with the application of heat using space heaters, hair dryers or, heat guns. The line between the pitless adapter and the above ground portion of the system is probably a case where professional help would be required for thawing either with a electric pipe thawing machine if the pipes are metal or, a steam thawing machine if the pipes are plastic. Once thawed the system should be checked for damage and tested. If the pump attempted to to operate while there was an Ice plug blocking flow to the pressure tank and pressure switch the pump may have been severely damaged.
The freezing exposure on the shallow well and deep well jet pump systems are again the above ground parts including the pump, pressure switch, pressure relief valve, drain valve, pressure gauge, pressure tank and exposed pipes. The secondary exposure would be the pipes underground between the well connections and the above ground portion of the system. Again the above ground portion of the system can be thawed fairly easily and quickly with the application of heat using space heaters, hair dryers or, heat guns. The line between the well connections and the above ground portion of the system is probably a case where professional help would be required for thawing either with a electric pipe thawing machine if the pipes are metal or, a steam thawing machine if the pipes are plastic. Once thawed the system should be checked for damage and tested.
If your well pump system is not working or, frozen it is a dangerous condition that affects the livability of your home. Calling a well pump service professional to assist you in restoring the well pump system to operation is highly recommended for your safety and prevention of further damage to the system, if simply heating the exposed parts of the well pump system doesn’t work. Opening the lines and thawing attempts which can contaminate the water in your well pump system and or, the water in the water supply aquifer should not be used. Your health and that of your neighbors can be affected by unsafe actions.
Once the well pump system has been thawed and is operational again you should take action to ensure that the system does not freeze again. Methods that may help ensure that freezing does not reoccur can include insulation on exposed pipes, installing heat tape or, heat trace on the pipes that froze, and providing heat in the area that froze. If an underground pipe froze the pipe can be dug up and run deeper or, additional earth can be added above. Once a system has frozen the weakest freezing links have been exposed and steps should be taken to ensure that the weak area of the system does not freeze again.