-20 Below Pump and Pipes Froze - Now 8 lbs of pressure

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-10-14, 07:02 PM
U
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 24
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
-20 Below Pump and Pipes Froze - Now 8 lbs of pressure

Last Saturday, we had a -20 degree night. Cellar is very cold. Stayed up all night, keeping the water running and initiating the pump. Went to bed at 3am, got up at 5:30am, no water. Must have been frozen.

Several hours later, I began thawing the pump and lines. Hours and hours later, got the pump turning, an old piston driven shallow well pump. Used the water that had been freed up, lowered the pressure inn the system, the pump started pumping and only pumped up to 35 lbs.... used that water, and then nothing.
Even though the pump was pumping, wasn't getting any water. Worked on heating lines, thawing, for the next few days. Nothing.

Today, turned on the pump again, having a 30 degree day, and the pressure gauge jumped up and down a few times, and it began pumping water, although not very much. Started getting a stream about 10-15% the normal flow, maybe less.... and the pressure only builds up to about 8-9 lbs of pressure...

I was having issues with lots of air in the system since last spring... and tested the water tank pressure, and there was none. I was having adequate pressure in the system and the pressure didn't drop too drastically back then...

Back to now, I can hear water being pumped into the water tank, and seems to be filling from what I hear, but I don't think much is making it's way up through the lines into the house.

I would think that everything has unfroze by now..... by why am I only getting 10-15% the normal flow, which fizzles out eventually if I don't keep the pump running.

Why the low pressure? Could it only be the water tank going bad or gone bad? Could I have damaged the pump?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-11-14, 05:11 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 22,808
Received 495 Votes on 455 Posts
Almost anything could be damaged especially if the pump was turned on while parts of the system were frozen. I am not familiar with piston well pumps but it probably has seals that could be leaking and valves that might be damaged. Since you mentioned having air in the system previously now it's frozen and won't come up to full flow and pressure. Are parts available for your pump?

The pressure tank's job is to prevent the pump from cycling on/off too rapidly by storing water and supplying it to the house when the pump is off. It has nothing to do with generating flow or pressure in the system. It just makes it operate more smoothly and prolong the pump's life. Water flow and pressure are generated by the pump. You may have a bad pressure tank but I think your first problem is the pump.
 
  #3  
Old 01-11-14, 06:37 AM
D
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,947
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Pilot Dane, I don't know much about well systems at all, but after double checking online, the tank has a bladder in it just like the tanks for boiler systems. If the bladder is burst, then pressure could be an issue. After all, it is called a pressure tank.
 
  #4  
Old 01-11-14, 10:34 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 57,212
Received 851 Votes on 797 Posts
This topic comes up a lot. You can run a well system without a pressure tank.

The pressure tank just stores extra water so that when you only require a little, the pump doesn't need to run. If you had your own well and removed the pressure tank.... the second you turned the water on the pump would run....every time. That..... is a pump killer. It's better for the pump to run longer but start up less.
 
  #5  
Old 01-11-14, 11:36 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 22,808
Received 495 Votes on 455 Posts
The term pressure tank describes more how it works and less about what it does. It does nothing to increase or change your water pressure.

When the water is turned off and all the pressure bled out the air pressure above the bladder should be 2-3 psi less than your pump's turn on pressure. This insures that the water is always pushing up into the tank. As the pump runs water flows into the lower part of the tank, stretching the bladder and compressing the air above. When the pump turns off the check valve in your pump prevents the water from back flowing down into the well. If you open a faucet the air pressure in the tank keeps the water pressurized so you get water without the pump having to run. As water is used the bottom part of the tank empties and the air pressure above drops. Then when the tank is about empty the pump should turn on again. So, the pressure tank does not create or control the water pressure.

The water pressure is controlled by your pressure switch. It tells the pump when to turn on and off. It may be set to turn the pump on when the water pressure drops to 30 psi and it will keep the pump running until the pressure reaches 50 psi.

If the pump is not able to create or maintain the cut off pressure (50 psi in my example) then it the pressure switch will never reach the cut off pressure and the pump will keep running. Keep in mind that a pump actually has two major parts. A electric motor and a pump. It is entirely possible that the electric motor is running and working fine while the pump section is worn out or damaged.

When you turn off your pump does the water pressure drop even when no water is being used in the house? If so it can indicate a burst pipe or defective check valve. I assume you have only one pipe leading to the well which is a suction line. If you are not getting a lot of air in the system loosing pressure points more to a bad check valve. When the check valve is located at the end of the pipe at the bottom of the well it is often called a foot valve. It's still just a check valve, just with a funny name. Foot valves can fail but because of their depth underground they almost never freeze.

With the freezing I would thoroughly inspect the house, crawl space and basement for any signs of a leak. If you are loosing water pressure when the pump is off the water has to be going somewhere. Unfortunately burst pipes in walls can allow water to run down inside the wall cavity and can be difficult to spot.
 
  #6  
Old 01-11-14, 02:24 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,947
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The pressure tank just stores extra water so that when you only require a little, the pump doesn't need to run. If you had your own well and removed the pressure tank.... the second you turned the water on the pump would run....every time.
Got it! That explains it perfectly.
 
  #7  
Old 01-13-14, 03:22 PM
U
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 24
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the comments. Shortly after writing the post, I brought my air compressor back into the house and while running the pump, began putting air into the pressure tank.... and it jump started the system, water flowed, pressure rose.. and everything is working fine now.

I thought for sure the pump was cracked. A week in the dead of winter without water, not fun. Have a stream on the property, so I had access to water.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: