Every submersible well pump owner should heed the warning- “winter is coming!” When the chilling hand of winter strikes, it is time to prepare your submersible well pump so that the freezing temperatures do not damage it with any cracks in the casing.
However, you don’t need to winterize your well pump if you live in an area that generally has a temperature above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if you do need to winterize it, you need to gather a few tools and follow the steps mentioned below for a quick and easy process.
Before diving into the procedure, let’s ask ourselves why is it necessary to winterize the submersible well pump.
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The Necessity of Winterizing Your Submersible Well Pump
A cold climate condition can occur not only during winter but at other times as well. So, you must winterize the well pump system correctly to prevent it from freezing up and protect the water treatment system from malfunctioning.
Having a frozen water pump is more inconvenient than losing the water for a day. It can also result in burst pipes or cracked pumps and imminent flooding once the frozen pipe starts to warm up again.
So why does a submersible pump freeze? The primary reason behind this is when the air surrounding your water pipe drops below the freezing level, so any heat present in the water will move into the air and cause the water to freeze up.
Compared to larger pipes, smaller ones tend to freeze up quicker because of their relatively larger surface area. Therefore, the 1/4” lines on the pressure switches that switch your water pump off and on will be the first ones to freeze up.
The frozen switch will be unable to turn on the water pump. To prevent this, you can use a heat source like a heater or a heat lamp, directing it on the pressure switch and reverting it to its working condition.
If you are trying to fend off winterizing your submersible pump until the last moment, then there are ways of doing so.
Providing a frequent heat source to your well pump system such as baths, hot showers, laundry on warm, and leaving the water to run on a slow drip when you are away are some methods that will prevent the system from freezing up.
But if you plan to go on a trip without winterizing your well pump, there is a good chance that you will come back to an unmitigated disaster.
Also, you need to use the heat source carefully since overheated materials are prone to ignite and result in a fire. So, remember always to follow the instruction manual with caution.
How to Winterize your Submersible Well Pump
As mentioned earlier, a drop in temperature is a signal for you to winterize your submersible well pump. This is because water expands when it freezes, and the ice will look for more room to expand, causing the pump casing to damage the system.
However, having a deep well lowers the chances of your water pump to freeze. But if you have a shallow well, then it needs to be protected. The idea here is to prepare your well pump before the winter’s strike causes the water inside to freeze.
In most cases, winterization can be done to the pump system by disconnecting it from your electricity supply. If you want to keep the condition of the submersible well pump intact, then all you need to do is remove the pipe and set it aside in a safe place.
To winterize your well pump, follow the steps given below.
· Step 1
Find your valve that is connected to the water supply and turn it until it reaches a closed position. Then move the valve counterclockwise until it is fully tightened.
If your well pump system connects to your home, you have to turn off your home water supply valve.
· Step 2
Next, you need to turn off the switch of your deep well’s pump. By doing this, you will turn the pump off, which makes it safe for removal without causing any electrocution.
· Step 3
In this step, you have to carefully remove your pump’s power adapter, connected to the electrical outlet. Keep in mind that you also have to remove the adapter connected to any other system by disconnecting the cables.
· Step 4
With the help of a flat screwdriver, loosen your clamps connected to the well’s water hose. Turn your screwdriver in a counterclockwise direction to loosen your clamps.
Then remove the clamps from the hose lines and put them aside. Keep the clamps in a secure location.
By putting them in a safe place, you lower the chances of causing any tears or rips in the lines, which might happen from contraction or expansions of the lines due to fluctuations in temperature.
· Step 5
Next, remove your pump from the well if you want to because typically, you don’t need to remove the pump from your deep well system. But you can remove it if the weather condition in your area drops significantly below the freezing level.
Now you have to put a shallow pan under your well pump and hold the pump so that it is parallel to your shallow pan. Tilt your pump gently to its side so that all the water inside it can thoroughly pour out into the pan.
When all of the water has been drained out, tilt your well pump in the opposite direction. This will cause it to remove the remaining water from your pump and ensure that the pipe does not freeze in cold temperatures.
· Step 6
Store your pump in a dry and warm place. A linen closet can work wonders.
So, there we have it, a simple procedure to winterize a submersible well pump. Winterizing the pump during a vacation or for seasonal homes is crucial if you want the water system to last for a long time.
You cannot ignore it for year-round homes as well because a water pump will freeze up if left idle for an extended period.
We hope that the steps mentioned above will help you winterize your well pump and keep it well (pun intended).
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James A. Porter here, a veteran plumber, coming to you from New Orleans, Louisiana.
As I grew up in one of the most rain-infested areas of the USA, I had to pick up a thing or two about plumbing. While most people stop after picking up a few plumbing tricks, I began my career in plumbing.
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