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Plastic well pipe frozen underground.


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#1 classic ONLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 03:55 PM

Well this turned out to be a fun day. I woke up this morning to low water pressure and then nothing at all. The pipes in the utility room were fine, but the main line from the submersible pump to the holding tank was frozen where it enters the ground below the house. I tried heating the line with a hair dryer, but realized it was frozen below ground level.
I disconnected the plastic water line from the holding tank manifold and shoved a length of house wire down the pipe and felt the ice blockage. Now what? I went online and heard of people using a small circulator pump and warm water to melt the ice. Luckily I had a small pump and a 7' section of 3/8 hose to shove down the well line. I melted some snow on the wood stove in a metal pail and headed out to the utility room. I cut a hole in the bottom of one of those rubber cup holder inserts for a truck and slid it over the well line so I could keep re circulating the water from the pail without loosing any.
I pushed the 3/8 hose down the well line until I hit the ice and I started the pump. I could actually feel the rubber hose melting the ice, and after 15 minutes, the rubber hose made it through the blockage. I then reconnected the well line to the holding tank manifold and started the pump. What a relief it was to hear the water filling the holding tank! Time to go make a pot of coffee, whew!
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#2 DougT ONLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 03:58 PM

Good thinking. Glad it worked out.


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#3 David Brown OFFLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 04:00 PM

Water problems are not fun.  Sure am glad yours was relatively simple and that it's fixed.  Enjoy that coffee.  You earned it!


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#4 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 04:06 PM

You might want to leave the faucet drip until it warms up.
How far from the pump house was it?
When my parents put new lines from the well to the house, they put in two extra plastic hoses. One to run the wires in and one right next to the water line. That one they can hook an old fashioned vacuum cleaner on blow and shoot house air out along the water line to the pump house (actually, a big box in the ground about 6x6x6)

Rare they ever had to use it, but it's a fast way to thaw stuff out.



Glad you got it thawed with a little ingenuity and some pare parts.
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#5 classic ONLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 04:13 PM

I have to thank whoever came up with that idea. It worked a thousand times better and faster than I thought it would. I went through about 2 feet of ice in the line in about 15 minutes. A buddy of mine told me that they make a sort of heat tape that goes inside the line and I'll be installing one.
The worst part of the whole day was back pain. I caught a cold last week and Friday night I sneezed 7 times in a row and pulled something in my upper back. I went to bed and woke up with the most severe pain that I ever felt. It actually took my breath away and I could hardly move. I took two motrin and my girlfriend took me to the doc. They took x - rays and my lungs were clear and my spine looked ok. Thank God it wasn't pneumonia or worse. Anyway, I made it through the day and the coffee tastes great...but my back is still buggin' me.

Edited by classic, February 22, 2015 - 04:23 PM.

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#6 glgrumpy OFFLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 04:14 PM

Man, with all the Guy's here having freeze issues, wonder how many might want to change their systems this summer? Have to make big tunnel pipes like a big city has under roads to put all the pipes and wires in, heh! OR, dig lines up and replace with Double lines, one for back-up and spares. AND, go deeper maybe?


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#7 classic ONLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 04:20 PM

I will let the water drip until I can get the heat tape and install it. My well is about 150 feet from the house, but I've never had a problem with this line before. It's a terrible setup where it pokes to of the ground in the crawl space and come up through the floor. This will all be changed come spring, believe me! My buddy is a plumber and has been dealing with frozen well lines like this for days now. It's just been real cold for too many days in a row.
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#8 Jazz OFFLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 04:35 PM

You are fortunate to get the line thawed.. We had up to 60 homes  here IN THE CITY with no water for as much as 2 weeks last year. Only so many contractors as well as city maintenance available to deal with the frozen water lines.  Last winter there was very little snow for ground cover but no lack of cold as usual. 


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#9 classic ONLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 04:53 PM

No water for two weeks has got to be rough! My mother reminded me today of a time back in the 70's when we didn't have water for three weeks due to a frozen line and a cracked well pump. I was little and don't remember it. My parents hauled water from my grandparents house down the road until we got the pump repaired and the line thawed.

#10 Coventry Plumber OFFLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 05:56 PM

Glad u made out well, I've been fixing freeze ups and bursts for the last six days. It's not much fun as you know. The burst is always in the hardest spot. Now more really cold days are coming. Here we go again.
Tom
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#11 farmer john OFFLINE  

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Posted February 23, 2015 - 07:25 AM

boy you got lucky, mine froze on Friday night, I was at it all day Saturday and until 4:00 Sunday, the hot water idea was working great to a point, then it just kept freezing I finally got sick of playing and rented the mother of all kerosene heaters and bought some 12 inch ductwork and fired it straight into my cistern, melted through 2 feet of ice
8 x 30 feet, the heated water unthawed the line, I like you plan on running heat tape in the line when the weather gets a tad warmer, hope this is the only time it happens this winter, john
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#12 classic ONLINE  

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Posted February 23, 2015 - 09:01 AM

At least you got it thawed John and I can't believe some of the low temps up there in Canada. We'll be getting back into sub zero temps again this week, and it's possible that I'll be thawing that line again. I left the water running slowly last night and the line didn't freeze, so hopefully this does the trick until I get the heat tape installed inside the line.
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#13 TAHOE ONLINE  

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Posted February 23, 2015 - 09:30 AM

That's a pretty neat trick.

We've never had ours freeze, we just run out of water since well can't recover quickly.

 

 

So, you have a holding tank that comes for the well? Does it run at night to build back up the water lever?


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#14 classic ONLINE  

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Posted February 23, 2015 - 05:02 PM

I have a tank with a bladder in it that the pump fills when the pressure in the tank drops. A pressure switch then kicks the pump back on until the tank pressure comes up. This keeps the well pump from continuously running when you turn the water on and automatically shuts the pump down. This is a typical system around here. The water table is high where I live and I have a natural spring in front of the house that runs continuously all year round. The spring was the water source for the old farm house that sat on the property at one time. I didn't know it existed until after I bought the house and started clearing brush.
My neighbors well is not far from mine, and after he had the well drilled, they could not pump the water down below 60' no matter how long the pump ran.

Edited by classic, February 23, 2015 - 05:06 PM.

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#15 TAHOE ONLINE  

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Posted February 24, 2015 - 08:33 AM

I have a tank with a bladder in it that the pump fills when the pressure in the tank drops. A pressure switch then kicks the pump back on until the tank pressure comes up. This keeps the well pump from continuously running when you turn the water on and automatically shuts the pump down. This is a typical system around here. The water table is high where I live and I have a natural spring in front of the house that runs continuously all year round. The spring was the water source for the old farm house that sat on the property at one time. I didn't know it existed until after I bought the house and started clearing brush.
My neighbors well is not far from mine, and after he had the well drilled, they could not pump the water down below 60' no matter how long the pump ran.

 

Yea, I have a 25 or so gal bladder tank.If we use too much water within a certain time, the well pipe cannot fill back up quick enough and we run out of water. My well guy had suggested installing like a 3-500 gal reserve tanks somewhere that would have a float switch of some sort and fill back up overnight when no one is using. The drawback though is we have really, really poor water quality so we still would be looking into expensive filters/softeners/ RO systems. Cheaper to just drill a new well and hit good water.


Edited by TAHOE, February 24, 2015 - 08:33 AM.

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