Some Cold Weather Well Issues


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Old 01-03-18, 10:10 AM
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Some Cold Weather Well Issues

So I'm in upstate NY and it's been coldddd lately (was 20 below yesterday morning) and I've started experiencing some well issues.

Woke up to no water in the house, went into the crawlspace to check for leaks thinking it might be a frozen pipe (crawl space is "warm" enough to prevent freezing but figured I'd look anyway). Pipes seemed fine, went to check the jet pump that's in the crawlspace and it was running but the pressure gauge between the pump and the tank showed 0. So I shut off the breaker for the pump and did some research, not finding much I waited til it warmed up a bit outside and turned the pump back on. The water sputtered from the faucets with a lot of air bubbles but it eventually ran relatively smoothly (still the occasional ca-chunk of air). Also the initial burst of water had a dirty tint to it like it had a bunch of sand in it (and a glass of water had some sand in the bottom of it about an hour later).

I understand the line to the pump is supposed to be below the frost line and shouldn't freeze, but the house is a flip (one where the contractors seem to cut corners when possible) so I'm thinking it's at or barely below the frost line and this cold snap pushed the line down a bit further than normal. I figure the sand in the water glass is from the initial blockage and it should go away with time. Not 100% sure on the pressure still being weird with the random ca-chunks.

MY question is, is anything posted here worthy of calling in a pro? Or is it something I can wait out til it warms up a bit. These issues have happened the past 2 mornings and we have another round of cold on the way.

If it is a wait it out, I'm thinking some heat tape on the pipe the leads into the pump and hope the heat travels far enough to keep it from blocking up again?
 
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Old 01-03-18, 10:17 AM
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Since you have a history of pipes freezing you can avoid the problem by leaving a faucet running slightly so the pump cycles on periodically. Keep in mind that the pipes can also freeze during the day if nobody is home using water.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 10:37 AM
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We do this to avoid any of the pipes running to faucets from freezing, but from what I can tell the pipe that is currently having issues is on the other side of the pump so the water only moves when the pump is running.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 10:50 AM
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As you run water from the faucets...... the tank goes down and the pump runs.
The pump running once or twice an hour is all that should be needed.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 11:08 AM
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So pretty much just run the water enough to have the pump turn on more often rather than the trickle we usually do. Sounds good to me
 
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Old 01-03-18, 12:18 PM
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At my house with temps above zero Fahrenheit all it takes is the pump to run once every 6-8 hours. The more poorly insulated your pipes the more frequently it will need to run.

If you want to get scientific look at the size of your pressure tank. Then look up your tank or a similar sized one online for it's drawdown water volume. It's generally about 10-15% the size of the tank. For example, if your pressure tank is a 42 gallon size about 5-7 gallons is what you have to use before the pump turns on. Put a pitcher or bucket of a known size under a faucet and turn it on to a low stream and see how long it takes to fill your pitcher/bucket. Then with the math you'll know about how often the pump will turn on.
 
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Old 01-07-18, 09:03 PM
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I think I have the same issue and am in NY also, did you end up thawing out your pipes? I have a topic going here along the same lines I'm thinking. Maybe I should have left a faucet on...

Can't get pressure up from well pump
 
 

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