Florida does not usually suffer from cold conditions that plague the rest of the United States. However, cold weather, associated with the winter season, might cause problems in a drinking well system. In this article, we will discuss what precautions a homeowner should take to protect their well.
If you own a private drinking well, you should be taking regular precautions, regardless of the season. These precautions are part of the normal maintenance and upkeep of well ownership. In the winter, however, problems that can normally arise from poor maintenance can be exacerbated by the cold. Below is some preventative maintenance the homeowner should always be doing but is especially important during the winter months:
- Inspecting the equipment. By visually inspecting the equipment, you will get to know the system. That way you are able to spot any potential problems before they become expensive.
- Secure the well cap. By making sure the well cap is secure and snug, you assure no containments enter the well system.
- Clear vegetation debris. Since winter comes after the fall season where leaves start to dry up and fall to the ground, you will want to make sure that this vegetation is cleared from the wellhead so as not to decompose into the well system.
- Store harmful chemicals safely. Make sure you are storing harmful chemicals such as oil, manure, or pesticide away from the well so it cannot enter the system and in case of a spill, does not absorb into the ground and contaminate the aquifer.
- Regular water testing. You need to regularly test your water. If you notice any changes in taste, color, or odor of your water, get another test immediately.
The Concern of Winter Weather on Well Systems
The major concern of cold weather on well systems is the ground freezing. Ironically, given Florida’s year-round warm climate and the fact that the water level is not too deep, this also makes water wells susceptible to freezing on the rare occasions that Florida’s temperature dip to freezing temperatures. The major concerns of freezing temperatures are as follows:
- Frozen Pipes
- Pump Issues
- Power Loss
Although the majority of the well is below any historical freezing line, the pipes utilized to bring the water to the surface and into your home may still freeze in the cold. This is easily prevented by insulating the pipes. Insulating pipes should be sufficient in Florida where the weather rarely sips to freezing temperatures and never for a sustained period to cause long-term freezing.
As mentioned already, the majority of wells are built underground below the historical freezing lines. Other than regular maintenance and inspections, not much can be done if the ground freezes below the historic freezing line. The concern is for those well systems that have above-ground pumps. For these systems, you will want to make sure you do your best to protect the pump from the outside elements.
Since Floridians are not typically used to freezing temperatures, colder weather may cause rolling blackouts or power surges due to an increase in energy consumption. Power loss can leave your well without the ability to pump water. To avoid this problem, make sure you have an alternative power source connected to your system, such as a generator. To prevent damage from power surges, make sure your well system is connected to a surge protector that will absorb or prevent the surge from damaging your pump system.
In the rare case that Florida is facing freezing cold temperatures or you have concerns about the health of your well system, feel free to contact American Pump Services and we will send one of our expertly trained technicians to inspect and advise you.