If you’re a homeowner with a private well, there’s a good chance you’ve been wondering if hand pump wells freeze in the winter. Hand pump wells work by using your arm strength to raise and lower a plunger inside the well to draw water up.
So does this mean that hand pump wells can’t handle the cold weather?
Let’s take a look at what you need to know about hand pump wells and freezing temperatures.
In some cases, hand pump wells can freeze. The answer is that it depends on a few things: the type of well you have, how deep your water level is, what the temperature is outside, and if your well will be able to recover from being frozen after it’s thawed.
So does this mean you should worry about your hand pump freezing in the winter?
Not necessarily. In most cases, even if your well does freeze up, once it thaws out again it will continue working just fine as if nothing had happened. The real danger comes when a significant amount of ice and snow builds up around your well, which can cause the well to crack and break.
Types of Wells
There are two types of wells: driven and drilled. Driven wells are created by driving down a metal pipe into the ground until.
Water accumulates around the pipe, filling it up. As you remove smaller dirt particles with a hand pump, larger ones work their way down until they reach the steel pipe. These act like sandbags around the pipe, stopping dirt from entering your well and clogging it up.
Dug wells, also known as driven wells, are created by driving down a metal pipe into the ground until water accumulates around the pipe, filling it up. As you remove smaller dirt particles with a hand pump, larger ones work their way down until they reach the steel pipe. These act like sandbags around the pipe, stopping dirt from entering your well and clogging it up.
Drilled wells are created when someone drills or bores through rock using power tools to get to the water source underground. Drilled wells usually have multiple pipes inside them to hold back debris so that clean water can be drawn up.
The water in these wells is surrounded by bedrock, so if the well freezes solid it should be able to thaw out without any damage. The real danger comes when a significant amount of ice and snow builds up around your well which can cause the well to crack and break.
Thawing out hand pump wells that have frozen over
If you’re worried about your hand pump freezing over this winter, there are some things you can do to keep it safe:
- If there is no risk of ice or snow building up around your well, simply wait for the temperature to go back up again. Once spring arrives, make sure you brush away any residue before starting it back up. You may need someone’s help with this since the well casing is likely to be very heavy.
- Keep your hand pump running at all times, even when you’re not home or if it’s cold out. This way the water won’t freeze in the pipes and damage it.
- If there is a risk of ice or snow building up around your well, make sure you check on the area regularly to make sure nothing has changed. You can also try using PVC piping instead of metal pipe to draw up water, since this material doesn’t tend to break as easily during freezing temperatures
- PVC piping does tend to degrade over time though, so while it may protect against freezing for some time it won’t last forever. If possible, keep an eye on where you live before winter commences. This way you’ll know if there’s any risk of your well freezing over, giving you plenty of time to make alternative arrangements if necessary.
- Hand pump wells are incredibly reliable (it takes pretty intense conditions for them to freeze), but they can be affected by extreme cold. Fear not though, because in most cases it just requires a little preparation and preventative measures before the cold sets in.
If your well is at risk of freezing over due to its location or circumstances, keep an eye on it throughout winter and check for any sudden significant changes.
Make sure your hand pump is always running throughout winter. This will ensure that even if ice does build up around it, there won’t be any ice in the pipes themselves which could damage them.
If your hand pump is at risk of freezing, make sure you take some preventative measures before winter sets in. Even if ice does build up around the well itself, it should thaw out without any major damage occurring.
The real danger with frozen hand pump wells comes when a significant amount of snow and ice builds up around them which could cause the well to crack or break entirely.
This can be avoided by regularly checking on the area throughout winter so you know what’s going on at all times, but also by keeping the well running constantly so no ice forms in its pipes.