Fixing Your Plumbing To Fix Your Life

How To Troubleshoot Well Pump Freezing Issues

If you have a water well that supplies your home with fluid, then you probably rely on the various parts of the well a great deal. The well pump, pressure switch, pressure tank, and the plumbing lines that connect all of these pieces must work in conjunction with one another. Sometimes, a single issue along the system can leave you without any water whatsoever. This can be especially problematic in the winter when there is a freezing problem. If you find that your faucets do not release any water during the winter months, then keep reading to understand some common problems, how to fix them, and how to avoid future issues.

Frozen Pressure Switch Piping

If you have a deep well near your house, then you likely have a submersible pump that forces water up and out of the well. This pump is connected to a pressure switch and a pressure tank. Plumbing lines connect these parts of the system. The pressure tank will hold water that has been pumped up from the well. As water is used and the tank starts to empty, a pressure switch will note the drop in pressure in the tank. The well pump will be activated, and water will flow into the tank for storage.

If water completely empties from the tank and you notice that your well pump is not turning on, then it is likely that the small exposed pipe that runs from the well seal to the pressure switch is frozen. A small amount of water will stay in this part of the pump system at all times, and it will freeze and expand when temperatures turn cold. When ice freezes near the sensor, the sensor has no way of detecting when the pressure inside the storage tank falls. The pump is not activated, and this is why it does not turn on.

If you think the pressure switch piping is frozen, then you will need to slowly warm the pipe. Use a hair dryer on a low setting and move it over the pipe for several minutes. Continue warming until you hear the well pump turn on. Once water starts moving again, make sure to place a piece of foam pipe insulation around the pipe to prevent further issues.

Frozen Pressure Tank Pipe

If you notice that your well pump is continuously running, but water is not coming out of your faucets, then the pipe running from the pressure switch to the tank may be frozen. When this happens, the switch will recognize that there is low pressure in the tank. The well pump is activated and water is brought up through the system. However, water will flow back down the discharge pipe when it is unable to move into the tank. The well pump will then keep cycling on and off. This type of issue can quickly cause damage to your well pump. If it constantly runs, then this places a great deal of pressure on the pump motor. Also, heat will be created as the pump runs, but water will not be running properly through the pump to reduce heat around the motor. This can cause an overheating issue. Seals can become broken and worn too. Heat can contribute to this, but the backflow of the water is most likely to cause pressure on the pump seals. 

If you notice this well issue, then you should turn your pump off immediately so it does not become damaged. Afterwards, feel the pipe that connects the switch to the pressure tank. If it is cold and seemingly frozen, then use a hairdryer on this part of the system. A piece of pipe insulating material over the pipe can help to reduce future issues. You may want to think about running some heat tape around exposed pipes too. Place the tape underneath the foam insulation and seal the insulation slit with a piece of duct tape. 

For more tips on keeping your well pumps in good condition, contact a local water pump service company.