What To Do if Your Well Water Freezes


Water is an essential resource that we rely on for our daily needs, from drinking to bathing and cleaning.

For those who rely on a well for their water supply, the winter months can bring added challenges as the cold weather can cause the water to freeze, making it difficult or even impossible to access.

While frozen water pipes or systems can be a frustrating and stressful experience, it is important to understand why it happens and what steps can be taken to prevent it from occurring in the future.

The freezing of well water systems is a common occurrence during the winter months, especially in regions with harsher climates.

When temperatures drop below freezing, the water in the well and the pipes leading to the home can freeze, causing a blockage and preventing the flow of water.

This can leave homeowners without access to running water, which can be especially problematic in situations where the water is needed for basic needs like drinking, cooking, and cleaning.

This can also cause inconvenience and potential damage to your well system. If you reside in a rustic area and depend on your well for your daily water supply, a frozen well is not ideal.

However, if the problem is correctly addressed, a frozen well doesn’t have to result in no water for the whole winter. The well’s jet pump and above-ground pipes, if it has one, freeze before any subsurface parts or the well itself do.

By turning on a faucet and seeing how quickly water is escaping the pipes, you may determine if you have a frozen pipe or pump in your well.

Water pressure should significantly drop to indicate freezing. By defrosting the frozen pumps or pipelines and avoiding further freezing, you may repair a frozen well and you should have no issues when trying to access your water.

Therefore, this article includes information on how to identify a well that is frozen with frozen pipes, what to do if you suspect your well has frozen, and other topics.

Is it possible for a well to freeze?

It’s possible that the well itself isn’t frozen if you believe that freezing has limited or shut off your well’s water flow.

The reason is that wells are drilled below the line of freeze, so even if the temperature above the earth dips below freezing, the subsurface rocks and sediments should protect the well from damage.

Frozen jet pumps, a type of well pump that stands above the ground, water pipes or frozen pipes that bring well water into your home sometimes develop issues. They are known to be more susceptible to freezing.

How can I determine if my well pump has frozen? Do I have frozen pipes in my plumbing system?

The first step in addressing frozen well water pipes is to confirm that it is, indeed, frozen. This can be done by checking the water pressure in your home.

If you turn on a faucet with no water coming out or only a small amount of water trickles out, it’s likely that your well water is frozen.

If you observe a large drop at your water pressure during a period of cold weather, freezing may be to blame. You may also notice unusual noises coming from your well pump, such as clicking or humming sounds, which can be a sign of water blockages.

You should act swiftly if you suspect that the well water pipes may be frozen. To lower the chance of a ruptured pipe or burst pipe, stop utilizing your water.

Ways To Repair Frozen Well Pipes Or Pumps

Turn off the power to your well pump

If your well water pipes are frozen, the next step is to turn off power to your well pump. This will prevent damage to the pump, as running it while it’s dry can cause it to overheat and burn out. You may also incur more cost to fix your well pump if it burns out.

To turn off the pump, locate the circuit breaker that controls the power to your well pump and switch it off to ensure that the fixing process will not be disturbed.

Locate the freezing area

Locate the freeze’s origin first. It might be due to your own well system or in the pipes that link the different rooms in the house.

Start by turning the faucet on that is closest to the pressure tank in your well.

You can tell you have a frozen pipe or frozen pump in the well if little to no water is coming out of the faucet check all of the water pipes that come from the well itself all the way to your house for any exposed pipes area that could be vulnerable to freezing.

A water pipe that is not frozen may have ice spots or bulging areas. A frozen pipe will feel colder than others when you feel the temperature of the pipe. Keep in mind to use your above-ground well pump.

If you don’t believe any of the well’s pipes are frozen, the issue may be with the well pump itself.

Defrost the frozen well Pipes or Pumps

If you got frozen pipes, and you are aware of where the freeze occurred, just know that it can be thawed out.

This can be done by using a space heater, hair dryer, or heat lamp to warm up the frozen section of the pipe. You can also wrap the frozen section in towels or blankets and pour hot water over it.

Searching for a non-electric viewpoint? Consider encircling the pipe or pump with warm towels or blankets that have been immersed in hot water.

However, it’s important to note that you should never use an open flame, such as a propane torch, to thaw frozen pipes, as this can be a fire hazard.

The water might boil and the pipe could break if you use a propane torch or any other open flame to heat the pump or pipe.

How can I prevent my well from freezing?

Knowing how to defrost frozen pipes or pumps is great, but if you want to avoid having a frozen pipe or frozen pump, and to prevent your well water or pipes from freezing in the future, here are some practices that you should include before winter to ensure the best results.

Applying Heat Tape to Exposed Pipes For Pipe Insulation

Wrapping the pipes in electric heat tape is the simplest solution to avoid frozen pipes. Using pipe insulation, which are foam insulation sleeves made to keep pipes above ground from freezing, as an electricity-free option.

The insulation will ensure that the heat does not escape and it will ensure that your water is running smoothly as per usual.

Covering The Pump To Insulate It

A well pump cover or a well casing that is insulated can prevent your well pump that is situated above the frost line from freezing.

Your well pump won’t freeze if you cover it, which will assist in retaining the heat it produces. Additionally, you can also ensure that the area around your well is properly sealed to prevent cold air from entering the well itself.

Consider a Well Pump House

If you live in an area with extreme winter weather, you may want to consider building a well pump house. This is a small, heated structure that encloses your well pump and pipes, providing protection from freezing temperatures.

A well-pump house can be constructed using a variety of materials, including wood, metal, or concrete, and can be customized to fit your specific needs. However, this may be deemed as a rather costly option.

Keep Your Faucets Just Slightly On

During extremely cold weather, you can prevent frozen pipes and well pumps by running water at a low stream from your faucets as an additional precautionary measure.

Running water through your pump as well as water lines should be sufficient to prevent freezing of water pipes or frozen water pipes; but, as this will waste water, it is only suitable as a temporary fix.

Calling a Professional For Your Frozen Pipes

If you are unsure of how to thaw your well water or if you are unable to locate the freeze, it is best to call a professional to fix your frozen pipe.

A licensed well contractor will have the tools and experience to quickly and safely thaw your well and get your water flowing again.

Frozen Water Well: Frequently Asked Questions

Can Well Pumps Freeze?

Only a jet pump is at risk of freezing when used as well pumps. When the jet pump is located above ground, it might freeze as the temperature drops during the winter. The second popular well pump type is a submersible pump, which is positioned underground.

Although submersible pumps may clog over time due to the accumulation of salt and silt, they are less likely to freeze. However, if you are living in a place with extremely freezing temperatures, you may experience these issues (frozen pipes) again due to wear and tear.

What temperature causes a well pump to freeze?

If the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a well pump is susceptible to freezing. Remember that in freezing conditions, there is a possibility that your well pump may freeze. And that is how you result in frozen pipes.

How can a frozen well pump be thawed?

You may thaw out a frozen well pump using a hair dryer, a heat gun, or a heating pad after turning on the faucet that is nearest to the frozen pump to release pressure in the plumbing system. Water flow from the faucet will let you know when the water in the pump has changed back to liquid.

How much time does it take a water well to defrost?

Most DIY solutions require 30 to 40 minutes to unfreeze a well. If you choose to wait it out, you can find yourself being without water for several days. Unless the outside temperature climbs above freezing, the well will remain frozen.

Will my well water system freeze again in the future?

It is possible for your well water system to freeze again in the future, especially if it is not properly insulated or if the temperature drops significantly. Taking preventative measures, such as insulating the well head or installing a well house heater, can help minimize the risk of future freezes.

Call a professional if you’re unsure so that it would not create any hazards in the future.


In conclusion, if you find yourself in a situation where your well water has frozen, it can be frustrating and concerning.

By understanding the causes of frozen well water systems and taking preventative measures, such as proper insulation and the use of heating devices such as hair dryers or heating pads, you can ensure that your well water system continues to function properly even during the coldest of temperatures.

It is important to regularly monitor your system and take action at the first sign of trouble to prevent more serious issues from occurring. To make things easier, here’s a summary of all the steps you can take to prevent your well water pipes from turning into frozen pipes in the future:

Insulate the wellhead: Adding pipe insulation around the well head can help prevent heat loss, keeping the system from freezing to prevent frozen pipes.

Install a well house heater: A well house heater can be installed to keep the temperature inside the well house above freezing.

Keep the water running: If temperatures drop, keep a small amount of water running from a faucet to prevent the water in the pipes from freezing.

Use a heat lamp: Placing a heat lamp near the well head can help keep the system from freezing.

Consider relocating the well: If your well is located in an area that is prone to freezing, consider moving the well to a more suitable location.

By following the steps outlined above, you can take the necessary actions to thaw your well water and ensure that it stays flowing at all times.

With these tips and tricks, you can confidently navigate the winter months knowing that your well water system and water pipes are properly maintained and protected from the elements.

Remember to always prioritize safety and call a professional if you are unsure or uncomfortable with any of the steps involved in thawing your well water.

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