Homeowners who depend on well water to keep their household running know that regular well maintenance is part of the picture. If water pressure slows or connections leak there’s no water company workers to come take care of things, it’s up to you. And pre-winter maintenance may be the most important action of all, especially this winter. According to CBS the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting an unusually harsh winter, using words like “biting cold,” “piercing cold” and “bitterly cold” to describe the upcoming season. Brrr. Modern meteorologists may not put much faith in the publication’s use of sunspots, lunar cycles and planetary positions to help predict the weather but the almanac itself claims it’s correct nearly 80 percent of the time.
Why is pre-winter maintenance so important? Waiting until the ground is frozen or several feet of snow need to be shoveled out of the way can delay necessary well repairs and cost you more – more in damages, labor costs and inconvenience. Just as you winterize your car, your home and your garden, winterizing your well pump system with professional maintenance can possibly prevent frozen or burst pipes, loss of pressure or other malfunctions that leave you without water for a warm bath on a bitter cold winter night.
Of course, you don’t need to call a professional for every aspect of well pump system maintenance, there are many steps a capable homeowner can do themselves. The EPA offers these tips to keep your water safe and your well functioning properly in between professional check-ups:
- Walk around the well and visually inspect all equipment for cracks or damage, especially to the well cap or well casing. Make sure the cap fits securely.
- The land surrounding the wellhead slopes away from the well. Make any adjustments as needed. The area should also be free of debris and plant material.
- Don’t mix or store contaminants like motor oil, weed killer, fertilizer, paint, gas or pesticides near your well.
- Have your water tested immediately if you notice a change in odor, appearance or taste.
Although there is some well pump system maintenance a homeowner can perform, a pre-winter checkup from a certified and/or licensed water well contractor will help ensure your water is free from contaminants and your well is in good working condition. Expect your contractor to perform a flow test, inspect all the well equipment, test the water for contaminants and provide you with a concise written report explaining the results and any recommendations.
Using a well allows a homeowner to control their own water supply and literally tap into some of the best tasting, highest quality water available anywhere. But such a great gift comes with responsibility. Regular maintenance, especially a pre-winter checkup, won’t happen if the well owner doesn’t make it happen.
Whether or not you are one of the many faithful readers who plans their gardens, outdoor activities, agricultural chores and even weddings by the wisdom of the Farmer’s Almanac one thing is certain – winter is coming. Don’t get left in the cold, get your well pump system ready before the mercury drops.