Pipes froze, then well water suddenly dirty... HELP!

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Old 12-17-10, 07:54 AM
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Pipes froze, then well water suddenly dirty... HELP!

[not sure if it's helpful or not, but we just bought the house 1 month ago, and it had been sitting vacant for 3 years before we bought it]

Tuesday night temperatures got down to 11 degrees. Before going to bed I took a shower, noticing nothing out of the ordinary - same amount of pressure as always, which isn't terribly great.

Wednesday morning as my husband was showering he noticed a change in the pressure, it had gotten even weaker than usual - chalked it up to cold pipes, possibly taking the water longer to get to the house. Then suddenly the water went from a weak stream to a trickle - coming to the assumption that he was showering with only the water that had built up in the hot water heater. All faucets in the house, when turned on full blast, were also just a trickle. We then drew the obvious conclusion: frozen pipes.

That evening, there wasn't even a trickle coming from any of the pipes. My husband took a heat lamp into the crawl space, and by the next morning water was flowing again like normal, with surprisingly better pressure than we've seen in this house thus far.

By midday, when doing laundry, the water suddenly came out very dirty with the sediment settling to the bottom of the washer, and a drinking glass.

Any idea why we're suddenly seeing disturbingly unusable water? I can't imagine the well going dry, but I'm also not sure what effects a 3 year vacancy may have on a well. There doesn't appear to be a problem with the pump, we're still getting better pressure than before, it's just unusable. [First time home-owners; rented in the city prior to the purchase, so know very little about wells].

Any help, comments, or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

1: submersible pump
2: age of well: 6 years (house built in late 2004)
3: depth of well: unknown.
4: diameter of well: unknown.
5: voltage of pump: unknown.
6: brand of pump: unknown - no controller
7: size of tank: unknown.
 
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Old 12-17-10, 08:30 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Have you tried running the water awhile to see if it clears up?

It's possible that the water expanding [freezing] broke loose some crud in the pipes. If so it should clear up after flushing the lines - you might need to remove your aerator/filter screen at the end of the faucet.
 
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Old 12-17-10, 08:46 AM
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We haven't let it run much since, in fear that all the debris was indeed the sign of hitting the bottom of the well. But considering the water pressure improved, and the fact that we had been seeing large amounts of iron/rust chunks in the toilet tanks, I wouldn't be surprised in the least that there was crud built up in the pipes.

Thank you so much for the suggestion! I'm going to try that now, and see how it goes.

Should I let both bath tubs & the outside faucet run? Or is it best to let all faucets in the house run a while? I'm pretty sure my husband turned off the hot water heater, so that the nasty water wouldn't enter the tank. I'm assuming we should wait until the water is clear before turning the hot water heater back on?
 
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Old 12-17-10, 08:52 AM
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I don't think it matters a whole lot which faucets you run although they may all have to be run in order to clean everything out. You don't want to run them all at the same time since you're on a well. It shouldn't take a whole lot of water to flush out each pipe. Your water heater should have a spigot at the bottom of the tank if you need to drain any sediment out of it. One note on the water heater, if it the spigot hasn't been opened in a long time - it might not want to close properly This can usually be fixed by cleaning the spigot, worse case scenario - you'd have to replace the spigot
 
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Old 12-17-10, 08:57 AM
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Thanks!! I'll give it a whirl and let you know how it goes.

Another question; we're not sure how long the pump was running with no water before we noticed the problem and turned the breaker off. What implications, if any, will this have on the pump?
 
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Old 12-17-10, 09:04 AM
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I don't know but if it's working now - it should be ok.

Are you sure the pump was running? If the pipe is froze or stopped up, the pump shouldn't run if there is pressure in the holding tank. The pump would think no water is being used so it wouldn't turn on.
 
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