[How To Guide] Winterizing and De-Winterizing Your Well

A lot of people prefer to construct a water well at vacation homes and cabins. The plumbing systems in such homes are not insulated because of the high cost. Hence, it is very important to protect your well and plumbing systems during winters. Unprotected plumbing pipes can burst during extremely low temperatures. Similarly, it is also very important to know de-winterizing your private well system. Let’s start:

  • Winterizing your home (well water system)
  • Winterizing the well pump
  • Winterizing your irrigation system
  • De-winterizing your home
  • De-winterizing the well pump
  • De-winterizing your irrigation system

Let’s begin!

Winterizing your Home (Well Water System)

Before starting the winterizing process, save a few gallons of water for drinking, cooking, mixing anti-freeze, and other uses. Winterizing is a simple process, but you must follow all the steps mentioned below. Make sure to check the local laws. Some states don’t allow individuals to make alterations to private water systems.

You can follow the following simple steps to carry out a successful wintering process.

Step 1: Preparing the Plumbing System – Turn off the water supply to your home by shutting the main valve off. Switch off the power (electric or gas) to the water heater and the boiler. Empty the washing machine or any other appliances (especially water heater) that may have water stored in them. Please be careful while working with water heaters with a tank. They still have hot water after the power is turned off.

Step 2: Emptying the Faucets – You need to open all the faucets, starting from the top floor of your house. You must open showers, hot and cold water taps, bathtubs, and outdoor faucets.  If you have a drain faucet in your home, open it as well. After you are done opening all the taps, inspect any possible places for water collection. If you have an air compressor, attach it to every faucet in your home and drain any leftover water. It helps in giving better results.

Step 3: Winterizing the Drainage System – You must only use an anti-freeze manufactured to be used for water wells. Be careful while selecting the anti-freeze. You can consult a professional well driller for the selection of anti-freeze. A non-toxic propylene glycol anti-freeze is the best one. An anti-freeze solution must be added to the drainage system to keep the traps from bursting.

Step 4: Winterizing the Main Plumbing System – Now, you need to winterize the rest of the plumbing system. Prepare an anti-freeze solution according to the directions given by the manufacturer. The volume of anti-freeze needed depends on the number of traps. Start from the lavatory, sink, and tub traps. A quart of the anti-freeze solution is a good amount to keep them from bursting during the winter season. Now head over to the toilet bowls and soak up the remaining water with old towels or newspapers. Add 1-2 gallons of anti-freeze solution into the toilet bowls and flush them. Flushing will push the anti-freeze deep into the toilet traps and prevent it from freezing. To finish off the process, add about 1-2 quart of anti-freeze into the main trap of your house.

Caution: Do not add anti-freeze into your well hole as it will contaminate the water supply, and you will be creating a big mess for yourself.

Winterizing the Well Pump

It is also a simple process and can be achieved in a few simple steps.

Step 1: Preparing the Well Pump – Start by turning off the power supply and the well pump breaker in the main electrical supply. There is no need to turn off the entire electrical supply to your home. Open all the taps and faucets in the same way as mentioned above.

Step 2: For Submersible Pumps – Unplug the wires from the well pump. Remember to take a picture of the way wires are connected to the well so that you can easily connect them again without any troubles. For submersible pumps, the winterizing process is complete. The water in the well will not let it freeze.

For Jet Well Pumps – For shallow well pumps, unhook the water lines attached to the well. You can use a screwdriver to open the clamps or a plumbing wrench to open the water pipes. Place a bucket underneath to prevent water from spilling. Different well pumps have different drainage methods; refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for draining the well pump.

Winterizing the Irrigation System

Winterizing the irrigation system is also an easy task. First of all, you have to turn off the water to the irrigation system by switching off the main supply valve. If your irrigation controller has a rain setting, set it up. Now release pressure in the pipes by turning the valves on. Look for all the components in the irrigation system and drain the water in them. If you have an underground irrigation system, you need an air compressor to pull all the water out from the pipes.

De-winterizing your Home

De-winterizing your home

De-winterizing is a simple inspection process which is needed to be performed before you turn off the water supply after winters. A de-winterization process reduces the chances of possible damage to your plumbing system. You can perform a de-winterization through the following tasks.

Step 1: Inspection – Inspect all the water pipes, drains, and plumbing components with great attention. Use a torch to inspect the dark and shadowy areas of your home.

Step 2: Make the Repairs if Needed – Once you have inspected the plumbing system, make the repairs or replacement to your plumbing system. The repairs will prevent further damage to your plumbing system.

Step 3: Check the Faucets – Make sure all the faucets are closed before you turn the water supply on. By closing all the faucets, you will be able to check the individual faucets for any leaks.

Step 4: Turn the Water Supply On – Now is the time to turn on the water supply. It is possible that some part of your plumbing system needs to be thawed. You can read more about it here.

De-winterizing the Well Pump

A winterized well pump can be de-winterized according to the following steps.

Step 1: Preparing the Pump – First of all, turn off the shut-off valve at the water tank. It prevents water from entering your home system. Now you need to ensure that the valves between the water pump and water tank are on. If these valves or valve is closed, it can cause damage to your well pump.

Step 2: Priming the Well Pump (only for Jet Pumps) – If you have a shallow well pump, you need to prime it before de-winterizing it. Priming is an easy thing to do. You will need clean water for this purpose. You can read more about well pump-priming here. A submersible pump does not need priming.

Step 4: Turning the Pump On – If you have winterized the pump according to our instructions, you would need to connect the wires back to the pump before turning it on. We suggested that you take a picture of the wire connections. If you don’t have the picture with you, refer to the user manual for guidelines on making the connections. Now power up the pump; it must pressurize the tank and then turn off without any issues. If you are facing any troubles, you must contact a professional pump installer urgently.

leakage of pipes

Step 5: Checking for Leaks and Getting Rid of the Anti-Freeze – Now, you must check for any possible water leaks in the plumbing system. If you have used anti-freeze while winterizing your home, get rid of it by adding 1-2 gallons of water to each trap. Now you can start using your well pump and plumbing system without any worries.

De-winterizing your Irrigation System

An irrigation system can be de-winterized quickly. All you have to do is turn on the water supply to your irrigation system and remove the sprinkler heads before turning on the sprinkler valves. It will help in removing any debris, sediment deposits, and dust accumulation. Now turn on the sprinkler valves to check for any leaks in the system. If you notice any leaks or malfunctioning components in the system, get them repaired or replaced. Once everything is sorted out, you are good to go.

FAQ

What’s the best time to winterize my well?

The best time to winterize your water well is before the arrival of the winter season. You must plan to winterize your well before the temperature starts to drop below freezing point during the night.

What’s the best time to de-winterize my well?

The best time to de-winterize your well water is at the beginning of the spring season. If you have a well in your cabin or off-the-grid home, de-winterize your well prior to a week of going there.

Can I winterize or de-winterize the well pump myself?

Always check the local laws before making changes to your well systems. Some states don’t allow individuals /homeowners to make changes to water wells. If there is any such restriction, always hire a well contractor. The best option is to go with your well driller.

Final Words

Winterizing and de-winterizing your plumbing system is very important. It keeps you safe from big damages to your plumbing system. You must check all the local laws for carrying out winterizing and de-winterizing at your property.

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