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How to winterise your well and borehole

The arrival of the first frost is associated with a need to get your cottages ready for the winter. Recreational property owners are usually involved in winterizing plants, garden furniture, electrical appliances, heat pumps and heaters or tools. However, you should also take care of your wells, boreholes and water distribution systems so that you will not be unpleasantly surprised in the spring. We will show you why it is important and how to do it.

Don't forget to winterize the well and water distribution before the winter.

Why is it necessary to winterize your well and water distribution?

The well or borehole itself or the source of water as such does not require any special care during the winter, which often makes people mistakenly believe that they do not also have to worry about these garden elements before the winter. But that is far from the truth. Before winter it is necessary:

  • tightly seal the surface so that polluted surface water does not flow into the drinking water source,
  • winterize water distribution that would be damaged by frost,
  • winterize the pump and other electronic devices in the borehole or well.

Why is it important? Melting snow and rain can flow into the well and degrade the drinking water, but it can also damage your pump by adding solid particles into the pumped water. In addition, frost can do great damage to often neglected water mains. As iced water increased in volume, flooded pipes simply crack. And that's not all - when ice melts, the water will flow through cracks into the masonry and other building materials, which will degrade the house.

We therefore suggest to do proper winterization of the well or borehole, water distribution and other equipment.

Well and borehole insulation

It is necessary to protect your well and borehole during the winter, especially against the polluted water from heavy rains or melting snow. Leaking water could not only contaminate the water, but also freeze and cause greater damage. Proper winterization is important even if you use the well only as a source of domestic water as solid particles getting into the well could damage your pump.

So how to do it? Above all, your well should be equipped with a watertight cover, ie a wide concrete collar on the surface around the ring. Inspect this cover every year and fix any possible cracks and leaks. You should have strong concrete insulation, especially for those wells that are not sufficiently elevated.

Then insulate the concrete collar, preferably with polystyrene or other suitable insulating material. It should also have a waterproof layer - for example, thicker plastic. Make sure that wind and snow will not damage the insulation, it should therefore be strong enough and weighted.

In the case of a hand pump, allow all the water to drain from it. You don't have to insulate the pump itself, frost won't hurt it. However, if there is a risk that water will leak into the hand pump, you should rather cover it with insulation too, it will definitely not damage anything.

Submersible pumps are not frost-resistant.

Winterization of water distribution

To prevent the pipes from cracking, be sure to winterize all water lines that are not placed at non-freezing depth. First, turn off the main water supply. Then allow water to drain from all taps as water must not remain in the pipes during the winter. This also applies to the irrigation system.

If some water remains in the pipes due to slope, push it out with a compressor. Leave the indoor and outdoor taps half open for the winter. Think carefully about possible places where water could remain as frost could also damage sewage pipes or hoses, sumps or swimming pools.

And what to do with the pump?

Disconnect your submersible borehole or well pump from electricity and all equipment for the winter and remove it from the water. If the pump stayed in frozen water, it would be irreparably damaged. If you are sure that the pump will not freeze in the well (it is located at a safe non-freezing depth), you must at least disconnect it from electricity and drain the water. For winter, store the pump in an above freezing place, as it is not frost-resistant.

Well and borehole in spring

As sson as you return to the cottage after winter, check all insulations. If it is damaged anywhere, the water may be contaminated. Therefore, do a water analysis. This is true even if the water is cloudy or even smelly.

If the analysis shows contamination, you will need to clean the well to get safe water again. With a well cleaning pump you can do it yourself.