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Preparing for a Hard Freeze

It's going to be cold in North Florida tonight! There is a hard freeze warning with lows in the mid 20's for most of the area. This can leave some people scrambling to prevent possible damage to their home due to the weather. Here are some general tips for preparing your home:

When water freezes, it expands. This can result in a burst pipe. Make sure all exposed pipes around your well pump and your home are insulated with plumbing pipe insulation. It's cheap and easy to use, and you can find it at any hardware store. Just make sure to select the right size for your pipes!

Don't forget to disconnect any hoses, drain the water from them, and store them safely. If you have a shutoff valve for your outside faucets, it's a good idea to turn them off and drain any remaining water inside. Leave the bib open so that any water inside can escape instead of expanding inside the pipe. Just remember to close them before you turn your water back on.

If you can't turn off the water to your outside faucet(s), you can run the faucet(s) by leaving the bib slightly open while the temperature is below freezing. Let a trickle of water escape - a stream smaller than a pencil is enough. This keeps water moving through the pipe, meaning it is less likely to freeze. Leaving the bib open slightly allows water to escape, also decreasing the likelihood that the water will freeze and burst the pipe. Make sure to turn off the faucet(s) once the temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your pump is in a pump house or other sheltered area, you probably don't have to worry about the pump freezing. Some types of pumps are more prone to freezing than others, such as horizontal pumps.

For people concerned that the pump itself might freeze, a common practice is to wrap the well pump's outer metal casing loosely in a blanket to help keep the temperature in the pump above freezing. We advise using other preventative measures, as blankets are not the safest choice and can pose a fire hazard. See what happens when water pipe freeze protection goes wrong. DO NOT use any type of heater, light or other electrical equipment to warm the area. These items pose a potential fire hazard. Ensure there are no exposed wires and do not allow the blanket to touch any electrical equipment. Clear away any debris such as hay, grass or weeds.

While you are outside at your well pump, make sure there are no potential problems or hazards. See our post about dangerous well pump installations and potential problems for more information.

If you have a sprinkler system, pool or other special consideration make sure to research your specific situation and take the appropriate precautions.

For more information about protecting your pipes, see these resources from around the web:

Preventing and Thawing Frozen Water Pipes
Hard Freeze Homeowner Checklist
A Detailed Guide to Winterizing a Building to Protect from Frozen Pipes, Leaks, Water Damage

More from Gainesville Pump:

Cold Weather Tips to Protect Your Exposed Water Pipes

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

Erica Bales