All this snowy weather got me to thinking – just because we live in one of the mildest climates in Canada, doesn’t make us immune from freezing temperatures every now and again. Where I live in the Otter Point area of Sooke, we have a well. We’re also several hundred metres above sea level and the temperature tends to be a few degrees cooler than in the village of Sooke. When I bought the house, the former owner told me that the well head had frozen and that she had installed a very simple system to prevent it in the future.
Drilled water wells typically have a casing that sticks up about 24″ or more from the ground. The water line comes out of the top of the casing, and runs down the side, underground to the home or cistern. It’s this stick-up section that can freeze, especially overnight when the well is not likely to be pumping and moving the water.
In our climate, often simply insulating the water line is enough, but if you’re like me and live where the temperature often drops below freezing, you might need to take some additional precautions. My well also happens to be in the shade of some tall trees, so the sun rarely reaches it in the winter, compounding the chance of freeze-up.
The solution is pretty simple. Take a garbage can, and insulate it with flexible foam – mine looks like it’s done with a blue foam mat like you’d use for camping. Then, take a trouble light and hook it on to the well head – this provides a small heat source. Turn the garbage can upside down over the well head and voila – just make sure the light bulb doesn’t burn out!
Enjoy the snow day!