Winterizing well

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Elinger, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. Elinger

    Elinger New Member

    Messages:
    7
    I am taking care of my grandparents old place and the well is only used to water plants outside (i.e. it does not feed into the house). The well will not be used in the winter and I am concerned about it freezing. I do not like the idea of leaving a heater running unattended.
    What should be done to shut off a well pump for the winter? Can I simply shut off the power?

    Thank you for any assistance.

    Elinger
  2. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    Shut off the power, drain the pressure tank if there is one.

    Rancher
  3. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 Previous member

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    There is a little more to it than that. What type of well system is it? Do you have a jet pump or a submersible pump in the well. If its a shallow well jet pump then you will want to break the vaccum on the front of the pump so the water will rush back down the well and also drain all the water out of the pump,and any lines coming off the pump. A deep well jet pump will need more attention because the lines are not under vaccum and the water wont simply drop back down the well. A submersible pump, the same thing.

    Sam
  4. Elinger

    Elinger New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Thank you for the replies.
    I don't have any experience with well pumps, but I believe it is a deep well jet pump. What should be done in that case?
    Based on what Sam said, I'm starting to think this is something I should get someone with more experience to help with. Can most plumbers handle this? Or should someone who installs or specializes in wells shut it down and restart it in the spring?
  5. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    Where do you live.

    What did your g'parents do previously.

    Perhaps it's already winterized with heat tape and insulation.

    Why do you believe it's a deep well jet pump, can you describe it to us.

    Rancher
  6. Elinger

    Elinger New Member

    Messages:
    7
    I live in Tennessee. It does not stay below freezing all winter but we can have weeks at or below freezing at a time. We have had the pump freeze up before during the winter and of course there are usually a couple of power outages each winter.
    My father used to hook up a portable heater in the well house with an extension cord run from the out-building next to it. I don't like leaving the place with this running. No one is living there now. My family had a house fire last year, so maybe I'm overly cautious.
    I remember my father saying the well is deep, can't remember the depth, but I think it's in the 100s. The pump and pipes exposed in the well house are wrapped with insulation, no heat tape. There is only a power connection for the pump. I'm assuming the pump would not be visible if it is submerged. The storage tank does not have insulation around it. Does this description help? I live 2 hours away or I would send a picture.

    Thanks.
  7. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 Previous member

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    How many pipes are coming into the front of the pump from the well or is the pump mounted directly to the well? If its mounted to the well it will be attached vertically or horizontally and that is a deep well jet pump. If there is one line coming into the front of the pump its a shallow well jet pump. Once you determine what your setup is we can give you advice on winterizing it.

    Sam
  8. Elinger

    Elinger New Member

    Messages:
    7
    After taking a closer look at the well this weekend, I think it is a submersible pump (picture in well house attached). There is no visible pump.
    We are having a cool week, so I went ahead and turned off the power and drained all the water out that I could from the faucet at the well house and the valve at the tank.
    I'll be back there this weekend, so I can work on it more then if needed.

    Thank you for any advice.

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  9. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    If this is in a basement and is sealed off from the outside, wouldn't it stay warm enough underground to keep from freezing. I understand the plumbing would have to be drained, but wouldn't the below ground pipes not be kept warm from the earth.

    bob...
  10. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    I love installations where the people are too cheap to buy pipe insulation.

    Rancher
  11. Elinger

    Elinger New Member

    Messages:
    7

    This is not in a basement... it's in a small well house above ground with no heat. This is on a farm separate from the house.
    I also think everything below ground would stay warm enough, but I've not done this before, so I just wanted some advice on how to do it appropriately. I want the pump to work when I need it in the spring.
  12. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    If all the above-grade plumbing is drained, then you should be okay. In the well shaft itself, there will be some warmth to counterract cold air temperatures.

    One locality I work in stopped using double-cover meter pits when they determined that the pit itself provided sufficient warmth to prevent the water meters from freezing. You should be similarly okay with the pipe in the well.
  13. Elinger

    Elinger New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Thank you all for your help.
    I will keep an eye on it and hope for the best in the spring.
  14. noobie

    noobie New Member

    Messages:
    1
    New to winterizing a deep well pump....

    Hi forum members,
    I'm a noobie to the plumbing forum and also to deep wells.
    Sorry for posting to an old thread but my goggle search popped up the forum and Elinger's picture of his well is perfect for my question.
    I've moved to an area very similar to what Elinger has described and it drops below freezing during the winter months.
    (Coldest temps are usually around 25-30 degrees)
    My well is also outside and looks just like the one in the picture above.
    I believe I have a bladder tank but I'm not positive. There is a 4 inch pvc pipe showing just above ground in which the iron pipe and pump are enclosed.
    I'm not that knowledgeable about pumps and think it's a submersible but it might be a jet pump)
    My deep well had to be drilled to a depth of 235 feet to find water.
    I've built a light shed around the well and want to buy a hot water heater jacket for the tank. I've insulated all pipes above ground similar to the picture above.
    My question is will the light shed, hot water heater jacket and pipe insulation be enough protection?
    Should I drain down the tank and all above ground pipes?
    The well is only for gardening and I have cool weather vegetables to water but I can use city water if my tank and pipes should be drained for the winter.
    Any advice is much appreciated :) and once again I apologize for being the noob. :eek:
  15. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    You shouldn't insulate the pipes and tank, but the building itself. Then you hang a 100 watt bulb from the ceiling to just above the floor and connect it to a thermostat circuit set to 40 or 45. We've done that to a few like this in the NC mountains and the light rarely comes on.
  16. Elinger

    Elinger New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Hi noobie,
    Just thought I would reply and let you know what my experience was this past year after posting this question.
    I turned off the power to the well pump and drained everthing above ground as much as possible. In the Spring, I turned on the pump and there was a leak due to a cracked valve (it was very old to begin with). So, that had to be replaced, but otherwise everything has worked as needed this year. I'm doing the same thing this winter.
    I think what 'Southern Man' is suggesting is a good idea if you want to use your welll during the winter and have the ability to install the electrical needed.
  17. thassler

    thassler New Member

    Messages:
    106
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Southern_Man is correct, insulate the building. I'm also in TN (Cumberland Plateau) and my well house is 8x8. I've got R13 in the walls and R19 in the ceiling. I run one flood light during the winter and it keeps everything above 35 during the winter. I've got a freeze alarm that will text msg my cell phone but that has only happened once when it never got over 35deg for about 8 days straight (rare in mid TN).
  18. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Good idea with the freeze alarm. I assume that you need a telephone line out there though. Details, please.

    If 100W won't do you can always use a bigger bulb, like a 150W heat lamp shining down on reflective aluminum foil.
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