As winter bears down fast on New England, it’s now time to think about the effects of cold weather on your well system. The autumn season presents the perfect opportunity to have your well professionally inspected. It’s important to make sure everything is performing well before the season of sub zero chill and blizzards. But what, exactly, should you be looking out for? Can low winter temperatures impact your well supply? Let’s dig into these questions before the snow starts falling!
Subfreezing Temperatures & Your Well System
Fortunately for well owners, the ground is a fantastic insulator. Buried parts of your well system will be very protected from winter weather, even when the air temperatures dip well below freezing. In Connecticut, the frost line — the depth to which freezing penetrates down into the soil — reaches about 42 inches. Water below that level doesn’t typically freeze.
Submersible and deep pumps are usually protected from freezing weather, given they’re situated near the bottom of the well and push the water upwards. Jet pumps, which essentially pull water out of the well into your home, are more susceptible, given they’re generally located at or above the ground surface.
Other components potentially vulnerable to freezing include surface-level and above-surface pipes — the supply pipes running out of your well should be below the frost line — and water storage tanks.
Sub Zero weather can cause pipes to freeze, which can rupture the lines and cause leaks. These temperatures can also cause your jet pump to malfunction or, worse yet, become damaged to the point of no return. All of the above disrupts your water supply and could lead to potentially expensive repair or replacement.
Protecting Vulnerable Well Components From Freezing Temperatures
Jet pumps should ideally be kept in parts of the home that won’t drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If there is no place like this in your home, you should look into insulated housing units. Whether a basement, garage, or utility space, make sure your well water tank’s room is sealed and free of cold drafts.
Pipes exposed to freezing temperatures can be insulated in various ways, from specialized foam sleeves and thermal blankets to basic bubble wrap and sweatshirts. Heat tape is another insulator that works when spaced out by about an inch along the pipes.
When temperatures forecast below freezing temperatures — and especially below 20 degrees — it’s a good idea to let your taps drip. Moving water doesn’t easily freeze up, so even the sparsest flow out of faucets can prevent freezing pipes during average wintertime lows. Major cold snaps can sometimes overcome this easy defense, though.
Dealing With Frozen Pipes or Pumps
If a freeze occurs somewhere in your well water system, address it immediately. You need to prevent or at least minimize the damage that can quickly result from a freeze-up.
Open your faucets to relieve pressure on the plumbing and improve water flow to hasten the thawing process. This may also help you zero in on the problem area. If you can locate an area of frozen water in your pipes, you can try to carefully thaw it out by using heat tape, a heating pad, or a hairdryer. When water starts flowing out of your taps again, remove the heat source.
If it seems your well water pump and its associated pipes are the issues, a similar heat application may solve the matter.
If you can’t find where your system’s frozen, you can’t access the area, or you’re simply unable to thaw out the ice blockage, it’s time to call a professional. Even if you can thaw out your pipes or pump and things seem to be in order once again, it’s a good idea to have your system inspected to ensure there’s not an insidious leak somewhere from a slight rupture caused by ice.
Well Inspections Ahead of Winter
Before winter weather taxes your Connecticut well water system — and just generally makes dealing with problems more difficult — contact Greco & Haines for a wellness checkup! We’ll make sure everything is in good shape and functioning correctly. We can tackle any upkeep or repair issues that might be warranted before the coming cold and ice potentially exacerbate them.
Whether for an inspection or a winter well-water crisis, our team is always there for you, seven days a week and 365 days a year! We serve private well owners across Connecticut and have been offering our comprehensive well system services for more than 60 years.Contact Greco & Haines via our online form or by calling 203-735-9308, 203-777-2256, or (toll-free from any Connecticut area code) 1-900-922-2958.