How To Fix A Frozen Well Pump

Problems with freezing pumps are common during the winter or in cold climates, and it can be frustrating when no water is coming out from your faucets.

In this article, we will go into more depth on how to fix a frozen well pump and how you can protect your pump from freezing.

Can a Well Pump Freeze?

It depends on the pump. If it’s a submersible pump (deep well pump), it will unlikely freeze since it’s placed at the bottom of the well to pump well water. Jet pumps, on the other hand, are located above ground, which means they can freeze, especially during the winter months.

Above-ground pumps must be in an area where the temperature is 40 degrees at minimum. If not, the water inside the pump and the water line may freeze.

If you have this kind of pump in a pump house or a place where the temperature is below 32 degrees, you must protect it from cold.

How To Tell If Your Well Pump Is Frozen

Low water pressure may signal that your well pump is frozen. It’s important to act quickly. If not, you can get a burst pipe, which can cause significant water damage and costly restoration.

How To Fix a Frozen Well Pump

Start with finding the freezing point.

  1. Turn on a faucet:  This relieves any pressure in your plumbing system and can help the water flow after the pipe or pump is thawed. 
  2. Find the freezing point: If there’s a frozen pipe, it has probably occurred in your basement, crawl spaces, or the pipes near the walls of your home.
  3. Thaw the ice: Try to thaw the freezing point using an electric hair dryer, heat tape, or an electric heating pad. As soon as the water flow is back, stop applying heat and let the running water melt the ice in your pipes.

Good To Know About A Frozen Well Pump

If your pump gets frozen, it may lead to significant water damage since they expand and bursts when they get frozen. 

One important thing to remember is that you should never use fire or an open flame to thaw the ice. The heat can do severe damage to the pipes and other fixtures.

If you don’t feel like you can fix a frozen well pump, it may be a good idea to call for professional help.

How To Protect Your Well Pump From Freezing

Protecting your well pump from freezing can be done both from where the pump is located and by protecting the pipes.

Use a Heat Source

Getting enough heat to keep your area above freezing temperatures is essential, or else your pump or some other part of well system may be damaged. But remember that you should never have flammable materials close to the heat source.

Some good heat sources you get a bit of heat from are:

  • propane heater
  • portable space heater

Some people like heat lamps, but remember that it’s just standard light bulbs in there, and they may go out.

Don’t put the heater too close to the pipes, since they can get damaged by it.

PS: Dust is collected if your heater stands in a place for a long time, which means a higher fire risk. So keep the heater clean and, if possible, hang it on a hook from the ceiling.

Insulation

If it’s possible, insulate the area where your pump is.

You should also use pipe insulation. If any pipe freezes, it may affect your pump motor negatively and give you other pump issues.

Look over your outdoor piping and insulate the pipes

Use closed-cell foam tubes. Measure your pipes before buying, so you will get the correct size. You may need zip ties and pipe wrap tape to cover it completely. Ensure that the insulation covers the pressure switch and the transducer since they often freeze first and stop the water from flowing, even if your main pipes aren’t frozen. 

If you live in a freezing climate, use a heat strip/heat wrap and put it close to the pressure switch. It’s good to know that if your pressure switch freezes, you may need to replace it due to the damage from the cold. 

If your pump doesn’t run or you get low or high water pressure after it’s frozen, something is wrong, and you must replace some of your components.

Install a Heat Strip or a Heat Cable

Sometimes when the cold hits, you need something more than insulation. You can install a heat strip to prevent your pipes, components, and booster pump from

freezing. Install the heat trip on the pipes and other components you suspect can freeze. 

Use pipe wrap tape and zip ties to ensure the heat strip is close to the pipes. It’s even possible to install a heat strip before you do any insulation around the pipes.

It’s also possible to use thermal blankets to keep the cold out.

Most of these things can be bought in hardware stores.

Frozen Well Pump Summary

I hope you liked this article and will have a freeze-free winter.

As you discovered, protecting the pipes and your pump is essential—especially the pressure switch and the transducer.

Best of luck!