If your own a home that has a well attached to it, you may be curious as to whether or not the well water will freeze in the winter.

The short answer is yes, well water can freeze in the winter. On the plus side, there are some things you can do to keep your water flowing by winterizing your well and pump.

Let’s first understand why well water can freeze.

The Science Behind Freezing Well Water

The main reason that well water can freeze is because of the temperature of the ground in which your well is located.

In colder climates, the ground can reach very low temperatures and stay there for much of the winter. The deeper your well is, the lower its temperature will be, potentially making it more susceptible to freezing.

Water has a unique property known as its freezing point, which is the temperature at which it changes from a liquid state into a solid state.

Generally speaking, pure water will freeze at 32°F (0°C), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your well water will freeze at that temperature. The reason is that your well water contains a variety of dissolved minerals and impurities, which can lower its freezing point.

If you happen to live in an area with extremely cold winters, it’s still important to take steps to prevent your well water from freezing. If left unchecked, frozen pipes can burst and cause serious damage to your home and property.

To prevent this from happening, you should consider insulating your pipes with pipe insulation or foam insulation. This will help keep your pipes warm during cold weather and reduce the chances of them bursting due to frozen well water.

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You should make sure that any outdoor faucets are turned off and drained before winter arrives. This will help to ensure that no residual water remains in them when temperatures drop below 32°F (0°C).

You should also consider running your Well pump a few times a week during the winter. This will help maintain water pressure in your pipes and prevent them from freezing.

Factors that Affect Freezing Wells

There are several factors that can affect how likely it is for your well water to freeze.

These include the depth of your well, the temperature of your area, and the type of pipework you have running from your pump to your house.

  • The Depth of Your Well – Generally speaking, if your well is shallow (less than 30 feet), it is more likely to freeze than if it were deeper. This is because wells that are deeper have more insulation from colder temperatures and can remain warmer than those that are shallower.
  • The Temperature of Your Area – If you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing during the winter months, then you should take extra precautions with your well water. Even if you don’t live in an area where temperatures get too cold during winter, low temperatures overnight can still cause freezing in shallow wells.
  • The Type of Pipe Work – If you have a galvanized steel pipe system running from your pump to your house, then there is an increased risk of freezing due to its conductive nature. In this case, you should insulate or replace these pipes with non-conductive materials such as PVC or PEX piping in order to reduce the risk of freezing.
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With some basic knowledge about how water freezes and what steps you should take if it happens, dealing with a frozen well doesn’t have to be too difficult.

What Should To Do Your Well Freezes Over?

If you suspect that your well has frozen over, there are several steps you can take to try and thaw it out safely.

  1. The first thing that you need to do is to shut off all electricity going into the pump.
  2. Then open all taps inside and outside of your house for about 30 minutes.
  3. Get some hot (not boiling) water and pour it directly on the frozen pipes and faucets outside your home.
  4. Keep doing it until they thaw out completely.

If your well is still frozen, you may need to call in an experienced professional to help thaw it out and prevent any damage from occurring.

With the right precautions and knowledge of how freezing wells work, you can take steps to reduce the risk of your well water freezing during cold weather.

Final Thoughts

Understanding whether or not well water can freeze is important if you own a home with a private well in a cold climate. This is especially the case for those who live in climates where freezing temperatures occur often throughout the year.

There are some key factors that can increase the risk of your well water freezing, such as the depth of your well and the temperature in your area.

If you suspect that your well has frozen or is at risk of freezing in cold weather, there are some steps you can take to thaw it out safely. These include shutting off the electricity to your pump, opening all faucets, and pouring hot water on the frozen parts of your well.

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In order to prevent freezing well water in the future, you may need to take some additional steps, such as insulating your pipes or replacing them with non-conductive materials.

If necessary – in the warmer months – consider contacting a professional who specializes in working on wells to ensure that everything is set up correctly and safely for wintertime use. Taking the time now could save you a lot of time (and money) later on down the line.

About the author

I started working as a quality control manager with the Water Authority of Nassau County in 2005. After a few years, I moved into Water Waste Prevention, where I currently work as the production supervisor. I love my job and the people I work with, but most of all I love spending time with my family.