Having a well pump provides a lot of benefits to the homeowner. The taste of the water is generally better, being free of chlorine and other additives, and the lack of a water bill certainly helps your bank account. Well pumps aren't without their problems, however. When the electricity goes out, so does your water. More troubling, when the temperature gets extremely cold, your pump and the pipes that connect to it can freeze. There isn't much you can do about losing power, but there is something you can do about a frozen pump.
Open one or more faucets in the home. You may have heard that keeping a faucet running overnight can help prevent the pipes from freezing. This is because moving water is harder to freeze, and you want the faucet open after your system has already frozen for the same reason. An open faucet will encourage water flow after the pump and pipes begin to defrost. The increase in water flow will help speed up the defrosting process.
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Apply a non-flame heat source to the pump and surrounding pipes. It is important to do this as soon as possible after discovering that the system has frozen. When water freezes, it expands. Expanding water is powerful enough to break not only your pipes, but the metal housing on your pump. There are many things that will serve as a suitable heat source, such as: a space heater, a work lamp, even a hair dryer or a heating pad. If there aren't any flammable substances in your well pump enclosure, you can close the heat source in to retain as much heat as possible.
Allow the heat source to warm the pipes until full water pressure is restored. If the pump begins pumping water again, but one or more of your faucets is still not functioning, then you may have a pipe frozen somewhere else in the system. In this case, try your best to track down the offending pipe and repeat the procedure. If you cannot find or safely access the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
If your pipes are freezing on a regular basis, you need to consider a more permanent solution. The first thing to do is to ensure that the well pump's enclosure is properly sealed and insulated. If this does not solve the problem, most hardware stores sell heat tape that can be connected to the electrical system and installed on your pump and pipes to prevent freezing.
Never use a heat source with an open flame, or one hot enough to boil water. Not only are open flames unsafe to leave unattended, but this level of heat can damage both the pump and the pipes. Even if the equipment isn't physically damaged by the heat itself, the water contained within may begin to boil, which may cause the pipes to burst.
John Garrison has been writing since the age of eight when he wrote his first short story. His love for the craft has remained ceaseless ever since. Despite writing for a living, he still finds time to work on his latest screenplay or novel.