As anyone who has been subjected to my blog for the past little while knows, we have had constant trials and tribulations getting water from the well and into our lives. Mostly during the winter due to the extreme cold, and lack of ability to place our water lines in an insulated environment or to be able to supply them with enough electricity to run a heating cable on them.
Our system has been working better than last year when we lost water in late December just before we headed off for Christmas. At the time, I was fairly sure that the water had frozen in the pipe where it passed through the well casing.
I updated the heating cable arrangement and repositioned the water pipe to try to ensure that there was the option to heat that section of the pipe, as well as to prevent water from settling there.
I would have to say that repositioning the pipe has been a real success. The heating cables, not so much.
The last time I had them on for a few hours, I checked in the well and could see no evidence of even a little bit of melting. I admit that I foolishly did NOT insulate them, but I expected that they could at least melt a tiny bit of water around themselves, so I question if they are even functioning at this point.
As an alternative to the heating cable, I have been going with the low tech approach of simply pouring kettles and pots of hot water from the stove back down the well onto the spot where the pipe passes through the frozen surface of the well water. An interesting side effect is that after closing the well cover, amazing crystals develop on the inside of the well casing as the steam condenses.
This has worked a charm. So far it has thawed the pipe each and every time, although sometimes it does take a few heartstopping and stressful minutes after my last kettle goes down before the well pump manages to get some water up to the sauna.
Of course, within the sauna the pipes from the water tanks to the taps have frozen as well, but they thaw after a few hours of heating the sauna, so we tend to draw lots of water on the days when we take steam anyway.
If things change, I may let you know, but so far we are ahead of last years game, only schlepping buckets from the sauna to the cabin, instead of from the neighbours!