Frost problem with drilled well



  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Frost problem with drilled well

    I confess not to having read the thread completely, except the first post. I solved a similar issue with a Shurflo 9300 except I am jumping from a lake. I simply installed a automatic bleed valve in the lake, just above the pump. The valve shuts at ~15 and opens at ~5psi.

    In a typical pump environment I would simply drill a pinhole in the pump line so that it bypassed water all the time, but I didn't think the pump would have enough power to fill the p tank with the hole in the line. The Automatic valve solves that issue.

    So the sequence is like this: the tank calls for water, the pump switch close. The pump starts to pump, slamming the drain valve closed, the air is expelled thru a Taco floating ball valve, keeping the air out of the tank. At the same time, a nomzlly open solenoid valve also closes next to the tank. When the tank reaches 50psi, the pump deenergizes, As does the solenoid valve. The purpose of the solenoid valve is to serve as the "thumb on the straw". Once the pump stops, and the valve opens the pipe is free to flow back down and out.

    So, if the static water level in your well les than about 10' it works like a charm. Remember, it is only the column of water above the STATIC level that matters in a PSI calc. Even if the pump is 100'deep, if the static level is less than ~ 10' the valve will open. These valves are built for underground sprinkler applications, and the ones I have used came from Toro I beleive.

    The problem (for me) with any bypass system is over the course of the winter I would have a huge iceberg in the yard,and it might freeze right back up to the vent. My system has been performing perfectly since 2007 and never once have I had an issue with frozen pipes, even at -40 or colder.

    That said, I do have one lenth of submersible heat tape on the line, between the high water level and the estimated low ice level. If I leave for several weeks the lake water can freeze in the PEX supply line, only between those two elevations. (the 3/4" PEX is not damaged by freezing, and is in cased pipe insul. foam, all pulled through a 6"flexible drain tile to protect it for moving ice.). When I return I simply run the genny for about 20 minutes to thaw the line, then I have no problems.

    If you have other questions about this design, feel free to PM me. .


    PS. If your static level is too low so that the static pressure in the pump line is above 5 psi there are other pressure valves out there, but they are hard to find. It ought to be a simple matter to re spring another valve to perform at what ever pressure you need. It would also be interesting to do a test to see is. A pin hole in the line would work with no valve at all, eliminating one point of failure. After nearly ten years with the pump, I suspects it might have the oomph to do it.

  • Kenny Kemp
    Kenny Kemp Registered Users Posts: 1
    Re: Frost problem with drilled well


    First time posting here, so hi all.
    Here is an idea that may work for you. First determine the pressure the well can create, as in how far up the pipe does it push the water. Install a inline pressure relief valve (set about 5 psi above that pressure) in the well below the pitless adapter and remove any existing drainback valve or drilled hole in the pipe. The purpose of the pressure relief is to stop the flowing water from coming up the drop pipe, but the pump would still have enough pressure to go through it. Then either off the pitless adapter (can be drilled/tapped to 1/4") or a tee above the pressure relief place a street ell and a small check valve/plug to drain the pipe back. It will need an ~1/8" hole in the plug to restrict it so you don't just circulate water but large enough so the pipe drains before the well recovers.

    There are a few things that need to happen for this system to work properly. The pump must run long enough to draw the well down so the pipe can have a place to drain. If the well top is not sealed, does it have an overflow or does it just fill to about ground level and stop? If the well is sealed it will need to have a check valve to let air into the casing. That should be in place already. Depending on how far the well draws down that additional head would need to be factored into the inline pressure relief valve. (If the well draws down 100' and the casing fills with air, when it compresses you will have another about 10 psi or so to keep from flowing through the pump/drop pipe into the line you already drained.) If the well doesn't draw down enough to drain the pipe, it will never work in the first place.

    Well, that about covers my thoughts. I would run it by the local well contractor.

    Kenny Kemp
    Kemp's Well Service
    Cheyenne Wells, CO
    CO lic. 859, KS lic 213

    ps, a quick search came up with a few inline flow restrictors, one of which is