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Unread 01-04-2010, 10:49 AM
 
156 posts, read 432,854 times
Reputation: 73
Unhappy Frozen pipes and/or well problems

I am a new first time homeowner and before this had always lived in the city with city maintained water and so I am completely unfamiliar with well systems. We've had temps here in NC that haven't reached freezing for the past three days. The first night I had left water trickling to keep my pipes from freezing but dummy me fell asleep and forgot Sat. night. Sunday morning I awoke around 8 am and had water (although it may have just been what was in the pipes that hadn't frozen yet) but at 10 am when I went to take a shower I had no water. There was no water anywhere in the house so I assumed it must be the main line coming into the house in the crawlspace. The lines there did feel frozen as you could hear and feel the ice in the pipes so I began using a hair dryer to warm these pipes. After several hours of this and no luck I followed the pipe to see if there was more frozen areas. The rest of the pipe seemed fine although it is difficult to tell but there is virtually no way of me heating this with a hair dryer as it is around 60 feet of pvc pipe. I am also wondering if maybe I have other problems with the well or the lines running from the well to the house. In my crawl space where the line comes in from the well there is a spigot and a tank there (i believe it is a pressure tank but again I am extremely unfamiliar with this). If I turn that spigot on, no water comes out. Since this spigot is directly where the main line comes in from the well and this line was insulated, I expected there to be water coming out. Also this tank seems to be completely empty (judging by the sound and weight). I believe that I had gotten the main line thawed and it did not feel frozen anymore but I was never able to even get a trickle of water. Also yesterday I had water coming out of the faucets on my well pump (located away from my house) but this morning nothing would come out of there either. I am going to get a space heater today to try and warm the entire crawlspace up so that if it is the main line and pipe under the house it should thaw but I am now afraid that it might be something even worse involving the well. Sorry for the long drawn out explanation but I want to give all the info I can. Oh and also my mainline pvc pipe is not insulated but I have bought the insulation. Is there any point in insulating it while it is still possibly frozen (i.e. will that simply keep the cold in and keep them frozen) or do I need to wait until I have restored water and then insulate them? Thanks for any help anyone can give me.
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Unread 01-04-2010, 11:07 AM
 
14,748 posts, read 13,430,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mannyp02 View Post
I am a new first time homeowner and before this had always lived in the city with city maintained water and so I am completely unfamiliar with well systems. We've had temps here in NC that haven't reached freezing for the past three days. The first night I had left water trickling to keep my pipes from freezing but dummy me fell asleep and forgot Sat. night. Sunday morning I awoke around 8 am and had water (although it may have just been what was in the pipes that hadn't frozen yet) but at 10 am when I went to take a shower I had no water. There was no water anywhere in the house so I assumed it must be the main line coming into the house in the crawlspace. The lines there did feel frozen as you could hear and feel the ice in the pipes so I began using a hair dryer to warm these pipes. After several hours of this and no luck I followed the pipe to see if there was more frozen areas. The rest of the pipe seemed fine although it is difficult to tell but there is virtually no way of me heating this with a hair dryer as it is around 60 feet of pvc pipe. I am also wondering if maybe I have other problems with the well or the lines running from the well to the house. In my crawl space where the line comes in from the well there is a spigot and a tank there (i believe it is a pressure tank but again I am extremely unfamiliar with this). If I turn that spigot on, no water comes out. Since this spigot is directly where the main line comes in from the well and this line was insulated, I expected there to be water coming out. Also this tank seems to be completely empty (judging by the sound and weight). I believe that I had gotten the main line thawed and it did not feel frozen anymore but I was never able to even get a trickle of water. Also yesterday I had water coming out of the faucets on my well pump (located away from my house) but this morning nothing would come out of there either. I am going to get a space heater today to try and warm the entire crawlspace up so that if it is the main line and pipe under the house it should thaw but I am now afraid that it might be something even worse involving the well. Sorry for the long drawn out explanation but I want to give all the info I can. Oh and also my mainline pvc pipe is not insulated but I have bought the insulation. Is there any point in insulating it while it is still possibly frozen (i.e. will that simply keep the cold in and keep them frozen) or do I need to wait until I have restored water and then insulate them? Thanks for any help anyone can give me.
I use a salamander under houses. It is going to take more heat than a blow dryer. I do use a blow dryer inside for small spots. BE CAREFULL!!! You can rent salamanders or call a drilling company. Most will have them. Or, when you get a space heater you could try that. Also check and see if you breaker is blown. PS, don't insulate until you get water.
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Unread 01-04-2010, 02:47 PM
 
156 posts, read 432,854 times
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Forgive me if this is an ignorant question but I can't find a breaker labeled for the well/pressure tank. There is electric conduit running beside of the lines but they have an electrical box that I have never seen before and the cover says something to the effect of "Caution No Fuses". I don't know if the pressure tank should be "running" or what but it is definitely not making any noise that would give me the impression it is "on".
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Unread 01-04-2010, 03:20 PM
 
14,748 posts, read 13,430,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mannyp02 View Post
Forgive me if this is an ignorant question but I can't find a breaker labeled for the well/pressure tank. There is electric conduit running beside of the lines but they have an electrical box that I have never seen before and the cover says something to the effect of "Caution No Fuses". I don't know if the pressure tank should be "running" or what but it is definitely not making any noise that would give me the impression it is "on".
Where is your water pump? If you don't see it, maybe it is in the well. The tank should not be making a nose. But, you could hear water running into it.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 10:47 AM
 
156 posts, read 432,854 times
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Just to update the situation: I had shut the main line valve before leaving for work yesterday as I had read somewhere that the pipes will sometimes thaw themselves if you turn the valve off. When I returned from work that evening and turned the valve on I could hear the water running through and after sputtering a bit I now have water throughout my house! I believe what had happened was freezing actually at the well judging from what other people around here have said but nevertheless as soon as I had water I got into my crawlspace and insulated my pipes. We've still got at least a week of sub-freezing temperatures so hopefully this will keep my pipes safe. Thanks for the help!
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Unread 01-05-2010, 11:01 AM
 
14,748 posts, read 13,430,025 times
Reputation: 6811
Quote:
Originally Posted by mannyp02 View Post
Just to update the situation: I had shut the main line valve before leaving for work yesterday as I had read somewhere that the pipes will sometimes thaw themselves if you turn the valve off. When I returned from work that evening and turned the valve on I could hear the water running through and after sputtering a bit I now have water throughout my house! I believe what had happened was freezing actually at the well judging from what other people around here have said but nevertheless as soon as I had water I got into my crawlspace and insulated my pipes. We've still got at least a week of sub-freezing temperatures so hopefully this will keep my pipes safe. Thanks for the help!
Good news. Let it run a little when it is cold. What does your well look like?.

If you think it is freezing by the well, it would be the waterline going to the house. Put some straw where you think the line goes. We dig at least five foot for a hook-up line but, maybe the installer did not get it deep enough.

Do you drive over the line?? That will drive the frost down too.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 03:32 PM
 
156 posts, read 432,854 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driller1 View Post
Good news. Let it run a little when it is cold. What does your well look like?.

If you think it is freezing by the well, it would be the waterline going to the house. Put some straw where you think the line goes. We dig at least five foot for a hook-up line but, maybe the installer did not get it deep enough.

Do you drive over the line?? That will drive the frost down too.
First of all the well is extremely deep. 986 ft if I'm not mistaken which is ridiculous for this area, just my bad luck. I saw the line as they were putting the well in and if I'm not mistaken it was several feet deep probably 4 or 5 feet. I do not drive over the line however our area is just not accustomed to having weather like we have had the past couple of weeks. Also one thing I did not think about is that when they graded the land and filled in the trench they dug, it rained extremely hard immediately after that. This caused the dirt to settle and I had to shovel more dirt over the length of the trench to fill this in so maybe that allowed more cold and frost to get to the line. I have straw down as I attempted to sew the lawn but I did not have any luck with grass coming up. The well looks like a cylindrical tank with 2 spigots on it and the line then runs probably 80 feet or so underground to the back of my house. It then comes up in the crawlspace where there is a Challenger pressure tank located.
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Unread 01-06-2010, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,023 posts, read 8,253,483 times
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The underground line should be fine, even if it's only few inches deep.

Is your pumphouse insulated or heated? Are all the exposed pipes around the pumphouse wrapped? Any outdoor faucets un-wrapped?

Back when we had a well, we bought a small elecric spaceheater and left it on in the pumphouse all winter. A freeze anywhere in your water lines will shut down the whole things, so make sure every exposed pipe or faucet is insulated.
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Unread 01-06-2010, 03:07 PM
 
14,748 posts, read 13,430,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
The underground line should be fine, even if it's only few inches deep.

Is your pumphouse insulated or heated? Are all the exposed pipes around the pumphouse wrapped? Any outdoor faucets un-wrapped?

Back when we had a well, we bought a small elecric spaceheater and left it on in the pumphouse all winter. A freeze anywhere in your water lines will shut down the whole things, so make sure every exposed pipe or faucet is insulated.
Most pumps are in the well now.
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Unread 01-06-2010, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in Kentucky
3,791 posts, read 4,448,699 times
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I thank God we live on a slab foundation. Crawl spaces are too much trouble.

Be sure and put some sort of heating device inside your well shelter. We use a single 150-watt floodlight and the shelter itself is insulated.
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