How to Tell if Your Well Is Frozen & How to Fix a Frozen Well

Winter is here, and if you go to turn on the faucet one day and it’s nothing more than a trickle of water, then you’ve got a problem. The likely culprit? A frozen pipe somewhere within your home. However, if your property also draws water from an on-site well, then the issue could be with the well itself. In this post, Greco & Haines’ experts discuss various problems that your well could experience in the cold weather months and other frozen pipe troubleshooting tips. Read on for more information and preventative solutions:

Do Wells Freeze?

If you live on a property with a well, the chances are that it’s not going to freeze. That’s because wells are dug well below the frost line, where they are unlikely to be affected by the weather. Similarly, homes that are on municipal water systems have incoming water pipes dug below the frost line, ranging from 32 to 48 inches. Where problems are likely to arise in your well are within the piping that carry water to the home, especially those that get closer to the surface and the well water pumps that help push water into the house.

There are typically two types of pumps that function in a well: submersible pumps and jet pumps. Submersible pumps usually work at the very bottom of the well, and while they may clog in time due to the accumulation of salt and silt, they’re unlikely to freeze. The more problematic pump is the jet pump, which is typically located somewhere in the home to bring water to the plumbing.

Where the jet pump is located on the property and because of the important task that it performs, it needs to remain above 40 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that it doesn’t freeze. If it does freeze, water won’t be properly distributed to the home. Most jet pumps are stored in select housing units that prevent them from freezing to continue to pump water.

How to Tell if Your Well Pump Is Frozen

It’s not difficult to tell if you’re having well pump or water pipe issues. You’ll typically experience a significant drop in water pressure as soon as you turn on the faucet. It’s essential to act quickly, or else you risk a burst pipe, which can lead to significant water damage and costly restoration.

If you have a frozen well pump or frozen pipes in your home and are unsure what to do next, here’s a look at how to troubleshoot the issue and how to prevent your well from freezing in the future:

  1. Turn on the faucet. This helps relieve any pressure in the plumbing system and restore proper water flow after the pipe, or well pump is thawed.
  2. Locate the problem. If the issue is a frozen pipe, the problem is likely to have occurred in your basement, crawlspace, or the pipes located near the walls of your property. These areas of the home are more susceptible to cold outdoor weather. Look for any pipes that appear to be bulging or those that are covered in frost and ice.
  3. Thaw out the pipe. Grab a hair dryer or heating pad from around your home and treat the frozen pipe until it thaws. Once warmed, proper water flow should be restored to your home.
  4. If you can’t locate any frozen pipes, then your problem may stem from the jet pump. Typically, these pumps are stored in small, insulated housing units that prevent them from freezing. If the jet pump is the issue, usually thawing it out by placing it in a new insulated housing unit or replacing the pump altogether if damaged is the best solution.

A frozen pump or pipe can be a major inconvenience and lead to significant home water damage should they expand and burst once frozen. So, how do you prevent this from happening? For jet pumps, just make sure that they’re stored in insulated housing units. For water pipes, there are several things that you can do to maintain year-round flow.

Start by insulating pipes in the basement or crawlspace with foam sleeves. Also, be sure to pay attention to the weather forecast. If a cold snap is predicted, it might be a good idea to drip a faucet throughout the day to ensure water flow and prevent freezing.

Let Greco & Haines Help Your Home This Winter

Greco & Haines is standing by, ready to serve you from well pump repair to water testing to complete well replacement. We’re available 365 days a year, and we don’t charge any extra for service calls on weekends and holidays. For more information about our well water services in CT, contact us today via our online contact form or call any time! 203-735-9308 or 203-777-2256 or Call Toll-Free from any CT Area Code 1-800-922-2958.