How to Winterize a Water Well
If you have a well with a pump, you have a nice feature on your property. But you also have a potential problem. In the winter, that equipment is prone to freezing up and causing massive plumbing problems that could lead to having the entire system replaced. Properly winterizing your water well pump could save you lots of headaches.
Winterizing Your Plumbing
Water fixtures and piping that are located outside, or on an outside wall of the house, are prone to the whims of nature. They are more exposed to nature than interior plumbing and therefore, they're more prone to freezing. But what does it mean when pipes freeze? It's actually not the pipes that freeze, but the moisture inside them. This is what causes all the problems.
Freezing weather can cause the small amounts of water inside fixtures and pipes to freeze. What happens to water when it freezes? Anyone who has ever made their own frozen popsicles or ice in trays has seen what happens knows that water expands. So when it expands inside your plumbing, it's an issue. Turn it into a non-issue with good winterization.
Step 1 - Turn Off the Water and Power
Before you start fooling with your plumbing, turn off the water and the power to the well. Do this by turning off the pump itself. Simply switch it to "off." Now, turn off the water to the entire house and property. You do this at the main shut-off valve, which is usually outside of the house and often located near the street. Last, turn off all the power on the property at the main breaker switch.
Step 2 - Drain the Water
You want to drain all the water from the pump and the water lines where you'll be working. In order to do this, you need to turn on all the faucets in your home. Keep them open until no water is coming out of them. You can turn them all to the off position once they've drained.
Step 3 - Disconnect the Power
As an added safety measure, and no you cannot skip this step, disconnect the well from the power supply completely.
Now, note where the water well pump is placed. Is it deep in the well? If the pump is so deep in the well that you don't know how you're going to access it, you're done. You don't need to do anything more to winterize your pump. Now that the pipes have been drained and the power disconnected, you can turn your utilities back on and go about your day. The depth of the pump will protect the pump from the scorn of winter. However, if your pump is located much closer to the surface or on the surface, move to step 4.
Step 4 - Remove the Water Pump
Loosen the hose clamps of the water supply lines to the well with a screwdriver. Hold a bucket up while you work, as water will drain out once the clamps have been loosened. Tilt the pump to drain more water out of it. Tape all cords, wires and water feeds to the pump itself. This will help you remember where everything goes in the spring when you de-winterize.
Step 5 - Add Insulation
If there are water pumps that are openly exposed, they're more in danger. Wrap them with insulating material or tape to keep the pipes warm and protect them from freezing.
Now that you're all winterized, you're ready to enjoy the season with no stress about your well. When springtime arrives, you simply reconnect the pump to the water and power supplies. Don't forget to flip the pump back to the "on" position. Once you know the process, you can repeat it every year to ensure that your pump continues to work properly for many years to come...with no major plumbing problems to worry about!