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stop freezing

12774 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  JeepHammer
How did people stop water from freezing in hand pumps? I'd sure hate to pull the head every time and then replace and prime whenever I wanted to use it again?
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I grew up with hand pumps, and we still have several on the family farm land...

I have a 'Mechanical' pump on my well at the river house...
I'm hoping very soon to have a windmill pump water through that mechanical pump!
(For now, I'm using an electric well pump and solar panels)

This is what one pump manufacturer has to say about 'DEEP' pumps.
That means the pump is actually far down in the well, not a 'Shallow' well pump...

"100% Freeze Proof! A 1/16 in. hole about 1 ft below frost line in the drop pipe of any pump system.lets the water drain out. Unlike pitcher pumps, no need to raise handle."

So, here is your answer....

The following pertains to them...

Hand pumps don't hold water in the body long enough to freeze most of the time, it drains back into the well where it won't freeze up.
It's called a "COLD PUMP" or "Cold Application Pump".
They drain themselves back into the well so they don't freeze in the body of the pump.

That's why you have to 'PRIME' them before you use them. You have to pour water in the body so the seals will start working again.
You can always tell a 'Cold Pump' by the funnel shaped top where the pump rod enters the center of the pump body.

The 'Prime' water goes in the top to melt away any ice crystals that might be keeping the 'Flapper' valves from sealing up, and to allow the valves to seal better to get water faster.

If your's doesn't have that funnel shaped top, you have the wrong pump for your application.

If it's just AMAZINGLY cold where you are (like -20°F or lower) then you might want to consider some insulation around the pump body and feed pipe.

What most people don't realize about a hand pump is...
When it's real blisteringly cold at night, you aren't going to be out there jerking on that handle!

Most people get water in the DAYLIGHT, when the pump head is at it's warmest,
And there is plenty of time for the water to drain back to the well (out of the body) before it has a chance to freeze.

In really cold areas, you will probably notice that people paint their pumps dark red or black, or just let them rust.
This draws heat from the sun better than painting them white or with aluminum paint.

People down south will often use white or aluminum paint so the pump body doesn't get as hot in summer, and don't heat the water up, but they don't have freeze concerns...

In extremely cold areas, you will find 'Pump Houses' aorund the pump.
This allows the heat from underground to rise up (heat always travels up) around the pump, trapping it there, and allowing the pump to drain back before it freezes.

If you pay attention to those pump houses, the doors will always face south, and slightly east, and the doors will be the full size of the wall of the pump house in most cases.

This is so when you go out in the morning to get water, you can open up the door to the sun and warm up the inside of the pump house.
Most pump houses will be brick or stone, at least part way up.

Two reasons for this,
1. Stone doesn't rot with the moisture that is going to constantly be present around the well.
2. Stone is 'Thermal Mass'. It stores heat in the daytime, and releases that heat all night long when it's cold.

If your pump is near electricity (and many old farm pumps are NOT) you can simply wrap a heat tape (thermostat controlled type!) around the main body of the pump and plug it in.

The thermostat will turn the heat tape on if the temperature drops below it's preset point (which should be below 32°F ideally) and keep the pump warm.

DEEP WELL PUMPS HAVE THE PUMP DOWN IN THE WELL, and only the operating handle & spigot is above ground...

IF it's the part above ground on a deep pump that is freezing up, you need to figure out how to drain the top part when you are done pumping!

Most deep pumps will drain back over time, but they don't routinely drain out like above ground, shallow pumps will...

There have been a couple of ideas floating around to get the job done, like drilling a very small drain hole in the tube below ground level to let the top drain without draining the entire tube...
Drill and thread in a brass lever valve and hook a rod or cable to it below ground level.
When you are done, open the valve and allow the above ground part of the pump to drain...

NOW, if you are talking about an Outdoor HYDRANT and not an actual 'Pump', that's a different story!
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