How Can You Prevent Damage To Your Well Pump During A Drought?

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While short-term or seasonal dry spells shouldn't have much of an impact on the volume of water in your household's well, long-term droughts -- like those currently taking place in the Northeast and Southwest -- can wreak havoc on your water supply.  Even if your well is still holding water (albeit at a lower level), operating at low water levels can put a tremendous strain on your well pump, shortening its lifespan and increasing the risk of pricey repairs. What should you do to help protect your well pump during an extended dry season? Read on to learn more about how drought can affect your well's components and what you can do to solve these problems.

What dangers can a drought pose to your well pump?

Your well's submersible pump is designed to operate entirely underwater -- using this hydrostatic pressure to force a stream of water through vertical pipes to the ground's surface, where the well water is then piped into your home. A submersible well pump will operate normally whether it is just a few feet below the water's surface or located on the bottom of the well; however, most homeowners choose to locate this pump fairly close to the bottom of the well to avoid having to raise or lower it each time water levels rise or fall more than a few feet. 

However, if your well pump was already close to the pre-drought surface -- or if water levels have dropped so far that your lowered pump has become partially exposed -- this pump can suffer major damage. Running a submersible pump in too-shallow water can be analogous to running an internal combustion engine without oil; after a short time, the pump will overheat and damage crucial components. Homeowners who have inadvertently allowed their pumps to operate while dry often find themselves facing an expensive replacement. 

What can you do to minimize any potential damage to your well pump due to drought?  

If you're concerned about your well pump's ability to weather further drought conditions, there are a few steps you can take to protect your pump while preserving your water supply. 

First, if your pump hasn't already been lowered to its maximum depth, now is the time to do so. While it can be slightly more expensive to "pull" a pump from the bottom of a deep well than from somewhere in the middle, this cost is far less than the cost of a replacement pump, and making this simple change can be enough to help ensure your home's access to fresh, clean water even during unprecedented droughts. 

If you've placed your pump as far down as it will go and your well still isn't gaining enough water to completely submerge the pump, your issue is a bit more thorny. In this situation, you may want to refrain from placing any additional strain on your well until you can have a professional survey the area and determine whether the drilling of an additional well (or drilling your original well deeper) can help improve your water supply. 

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Replacing an Older Plumbing System

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