When installing a well, one of the first things you learn about is how reliable they are. There are relatively few things that can go wrong with a modern well, but one thing they need that might be a little harder to keep a handle on is electric power. Without power coming to your house, your pump is dead in the water until it comes back on. The summertime months aren’t shy about throwing storm after storm your way, so what can you do when there are power outages, and you have a private well?
Things to Know
When the power goes out, you can continue to use your home’s water. However, your well’s reservoir will quickly empty. Once the water reaches a certain level, you’ll run the risk of flipping your pump’s pressure switch, which might keep it from operating even when the power comes back on. This is known as a “dry well,” and you can usually fix it from home by resetting the pressure switch. Ensure there is power to your pump system, that the breaker hasn’t been flipped, and find the pressure switch. Familiarize yourself with the design of your well pump, as each one is built differently and may require different steps or different inputs. You should hear the pump come back.
It is vital to have a backup plan in case you run out of water while the power is out. We recommend stocking up on a couple of cases of bottled water that you keep aside exclusively for lengthy power outages, so you have drinking water for extended periods. You can heat water on a stove or bonfire for washing up. Greywater – the water left behind from washing, lawn care, and other tasks that create junk water – can help to flush the toilet. You’ll want to turn off your toilet’s water – most of them have emergency shut-off valves near the base, preventing water from going to the unit. Pour the greywater into the tank behind the toilet, and it can flush as long as you have junk water to use. Just don’t go drinking grey water, no matter how desperate you get!
For the Long Haul
The best defense against long power outages to your well is to make sure that power can always reach your home. The best way to do this is to install a generator in your home, which can run whenever you need to pump more water. Make sure to install gasoline generators outdoors – never in a crawl space or basement as the exhaust fumes are dangerous. If you only connect your water pump to your generator, a smaller generator may be all you need. However, if you want more fixtures powered during a blackout, you will need a larger generator. Some homes opt for a smaller backup generator for well systems while using a larger generator for the rest of the house. What you decide on is ultimately dependent on your family’s needs.
In the End
Losing power and sudden loss of access to your water can be a daunting worry in places like Florida, where storms can be the norm. But don’t panic – you can take steps to prevent ever having to shut your pumps off, and even if worst comes to worst, there are ways to get by until the power returns. Generators are among the most significant helpers, and you can ask us about what kind of generator would best suit your family’s needs and your pump. We’ll be happy to help you plan for the next time bad weather threatens your pump system.