Rural living: frozen well pump edition

Rural living has been a crash course in survivalist training. We’ve had power outages that lasted for days. Our hot water heater stopped working and no one seemed to know how to fix it. We were clueless about the septic system. 

On Saturday, January 1 the water stopped. Of course, we would have a plumbing emergency on a Saturday that’s also a holiday. I guess technically, we had a well emergency, which is different.

We had extremely low temperatures for a few days which caused the well pump to freeze. And that means no water out of the tap. 

We called around and a helpful person asked if we had put a heat lamp on the pump. 

Us:  ….

Also us: This has never happened before. 

We had no clue! We did ask our neighbor with livestock if he had a heat lamp we could borrow and he told us a ceramic heater was safer. We actually got there on our own and had set up a small heater on a table in the pump house. (Luckily there’s an outlet in the pump house.) We read online that it was a good idea to open a tap to relieve pressure on the line. When the kitchen sink exploded out water about 30 minutes later I was both startled and relieved. 

We also learned that a 100-watt incandescent bulb can make the difference in keeping the pump going in low temperatures. We are all set now with a remote temperature gauge, a warming light and a heater at the ready, prepared for the next temperature dip should it ever happen again.