If your household relies on a well for drinking water and any other needs, then it is important to winterize your equipment before the weather really starts to drop.
INSULATE THE PIPES
When water freezes it actually expands, this causes the pipes to plug with ice, or even burst if the freezing goes unchecked. To minimize this possibility, outdoor piping should be insulated. Insulation works to block out the cold. The best kind of pipe insulation to use is the closed cell foam “tubes” that are around 6’ long. Closed cell foam keeps the water out so the foam doesn’t saturate with water and become ineffective. Make sure to choose the right size foam for your pipe and make sure to order enough to cover all outdoor exposed piping! Secure the foam to the pipe with zip ties every 6” or continuously wrapping the insulation with pipe wrap tape. Make sure to keep the slit in the insulation facing down as much as possible.
In very cold climates or places that have prolonged cold or wind exposure it is recommended to place a heat wrap/heat strip in close proximity to the pressure switch or pressure transducer to ensure they do not freeze! Once frozen, a pressure switch or transducer will often be permanently damaged and may need to be replaced. If you notice that your pump won’t run or the water pressure is a bit lower or higher after a hard freeze it is likely that damage occurred to the pressure switch/transducer and replacement is in order.
INSTALL HEAT STRIPS TO KEEP PIPES AND EQUIPMENT FROM FREEZING
Sometimes using insulation just isn’t enough to winterize the pipes. If you experience low extended temperatures then lack of water flow can cause even insulated pipes to freeze and damage pressure switches and booster pumps. This means you will need to resort to increased measures to keep the water in your pipes or booster pumps from freezing. Installing a heat strip on piping and water system components susceptible to freezing can save them from freeze damage. A heat strip is a device that plugs in to a nearby outlet and creates a small amount of heat along its length, gently warming the pipes or pump it is wrapped around. Heat strips should be installed around equipment that is outside your house, paying particular attention to the area where pipes go in and out of the booster pumps and pressure switches. Make certain the heat strip is kept in close contact to your pipes and equipment.
COVER IT UP
A simple tip to keep your well equipment going through the coldest days of winter is to cover it up! An old blanket can work with some plastic on top. Other options are to purchase well covers that look like a rock or insulated covers that can be slipped over the top. These fake rocks can be small or large, depending on what you want to hide from both eyes and the weather.
ALLOW YOUR FAUCETS TO DRIP
There is actually a simple tip that can help keep your well from freezing when the temperatures hit sub-zero. As soon as you know that the temperature is going to plummet, turn on your faucets so they slightly drip or drizzle. This brings slightly warmer water from the well up and through the pipes and prevents the water from freezing solid inside your pipes. While this helps in many situations, it does waste water and maybe insufficient to protect against extreme sustained cold conditions. If you are going to be away from your home, you may choose to leave the heat system on with a low temperature set point so that it can keep the the temperature of the house/plumbing above freezing.