Maintaining Your Well In Winter

Posted on: 23 January 2016

Winter is a time when freezing temperatures and excess precipitation can affect the functionality of your well. Knowing how to care for your well at this time of year is critical. The following tips will help you prevent water, snow and ice from damaging your well in winter. 

Ensure Your Fertilizer is Protected and Put Away

One of the greatest threats to most underground water sources is chemical pollution from the environment above the ground—and much of that pollution comes from lawn and garden fertilizer. You may not be fertilizing your lawn at this time of year, but you may have fertilizer on hand from this past year's growing season. Fertilizer is water soluble, which means that any nearby water leaks can flush the entire supply of fertilizer into the ground—and to devastating effect.

To ensure that your well is protected, make sure the shelter where your fertilizer is kept is protected from melting snow and winter rain. Put your fertilizer in a plastic tub, just in case the shed or garage where your fertilizer is kept develops a roof leak.

Keep Area Around the Well Clear

Never pile snow, decaying leaves and other debris around the opening to your well. Doing so can lock in moisture and cause the well seal to crack and break down. As the winter progresses, check your well cap for piled debris. If you have to clear the area around the well cap, look for signs of deterioration around the well seal. Small cracks and a pitted surface are both indications that your well seal has deteriorated and needs service.

If you find that your well is continually covered in debris, cover the well with a garbage can, a well cover, or a brick and mortar well house. This will help ensure that your well is protected from ice and snow throughout the winter.

Know How to Thaw Your Pipes

The pipes to the well pump switch have a way of freezing when temperatures outside drop. When this happens, this prevents the well pump from turning on after you throw the switch.

You can prevent this from happening by insulating the pipes leading up to the switch with standard pipe insulation, which can be purchased at a hardware store or home improvement center. If your switch is already frozen, use a hair dryer to thaw the pipes. Turn on the hairdryer and aim it straight at the pipes. Once the pipes have thawed, your well pump should be able to work again. If the pipes have thawed and the pump still won't turn on, this is an indication that you need well pump service.

For more information, talk to your well pump service professional like one from R & H Service Inc.