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Little water.....
Old 01-13-2007, 12:06 PM   #1
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Little water.....

Got down into the teens up here last night. Turned on the water to make coffee this morning....and out came a trickle - enough to get coffee started and I went outside - no broken pipes - holding tank full and refilling(no problem between the well and holding tank). Plenty of water at base of home(so no frozen pipes between holding tank and home) - It apears that the pressure pump is not turning on (the fuse for the pump house is OK)- Any ideas?
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Re: Little water.....
Old 01-13-2007, 12:15 PM   #2
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Re: Little water.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donzo
Got down into the teens up here last night. Turned on the water to make coffee this morning....and out came a trickle - enough to get coffee started and I went outside - no broken pipes - holding tank full and refilling(no problem between the well and holding tank). Plenty of water at base of home(so no frozen pipes between holding tank and home) - It apears that the pressure pump is not turning on (the fuse for the pump house is OK)- Any ideas?
Water in the pressure pump frozen? Or the pipes leading immediately into or out of the pump frozen?

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Re: Little water.....
Old 01-13-2007, 12:25 PM   #3
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Re: Little water.....

- Is it possible you've got water at the base of the home only because it is draining back from the house (esp if you've left a tap open somewhere)? See if it keeps coming for a few minutes. If not, you could have a frozen pipe anywhere between the pressure tank and the spigot you've opened.

- I'm not familiar with your pressure pump setup-my well pump does the presurization of the pressure tank. Is it possible you've got a bad/frozen-up pressure switch? If feasible, I'd run a cord to te pump house and run a room heater there for an hour or so just to see if the problem s temperature related.

Good luck!
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Re: Little water.....
Old 01-13-2007, 12:34 PM   #4
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Re: Little water.....

Thanks Re and Sam - I will try the heater in the pump house and keep fingers crossed......
I do not hear the pump trying to work, which it should as the pressure drops......
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Re: Little water.....
Old 01-13-2007, 12:54 PM   #5
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Re: Little water.....

Hey - after only 15 minutes of the heater in the pumphouse.....we got water back! The pump or switch must have frozen - I will insulate today, tonight it is going to get even colder...
Thanks for the suggestion Samclem! Saved me a call to the well dude!

I was afraid we were going to have to use BUCKETs - woops...bad word!
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Re: Little water.....
Old 01-13-2007, 01:01 PM   #6
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Re: Little water.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donzo
Hey - after only 15 minutes of the heater in the pumphouse.....we got water back! The pump or switch must have frozen - I will insulate today, tonight it is going to get even colder...
Thanks for the suggestion Samclem! Saved me a call to the well dude!
Glad to hear you're back in business.

Whenever the overnight temp here is predicted to be under 25 (not often), I stick my trouble light under my pressure pump. The heat from that 100w bulb inside the pump house keeps the temp high enough to prevent the pipes or pump from freezing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donzo
I was afraid we were going to have to use BUCKETs - woops...bad word!
Been there. Didn't realize my DW knew that many bad words. :P

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Re: Little water.....
Old 01-13-2007, 03:53 PM   #7
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Re: Little water.....

Good idea RE - I just put in an old lamp we had lying around w/ a 100 watt bulb right next to the pump.
My 15 - soon to be 16 year old daughter is going to a B-day party tonight....you should have seen her face this morning when she was'nt sure she was going to be able to her typical hour+ shower......

Hmmmm - maybe I should'nt have fixed it........
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Re: Little water.....
Old 01-13-2007, 08:55 PM   #8
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Re: Little water.....

Donzo,

Glad to hear everytting is working. Recommendations for a permanent fix: Install heat tape over all the exposed pipes in the pumphouse, you may need to add an outlet if you don't have one (I'd think you could tap into the same power feeding your pressure pump). Then, add insulation (fiberglass is what you need to use over heat tape, it usually comes supplied with the tape). The heat tape will have a temp sensor and only come on when the temps get below 40 deg or so. You can buy this at Lowes or Home Depot.

The insulation without the heat tape might work okay for many years, but counting on the incoming water to supply enough heat to keep everything unfrozen is risky. If you go out of town, or just just aren't using much water on a cold night, things could easily freeze up and get costly.
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Re: Little water.....
Old 01-14-2007, 10:52 AM   #9
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Re: Little water.....

I've had good luck with the "light bulb heater" for a long time, using two 60-watt bulbs (in case one burns out), plus insulation of course.

One thing to keep an eye out for, our pressure switch failed with the same symptom - no water - and it turned into an intermittent problem, where the pressure switch sometimes needed to be whacked with a wrench to engage the relays. The switches are very cheap to replace if you do it yourself, though.

Good luck!
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Re: Little water.....
Old 01-14-2007, 12:15 PM   #10
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Re: Little water.....

I used high density foam insulation on the walls of the pumphouse with two small heat tapes around and along the pump and pipes. The thermostats keep the tapes off unless needed.

Bruce
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