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Thread: Cottage Well Winterization Question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member rdjnel59's Avatar
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    Question Cottage Well Winterization Question

    New poster here and new cottage owner. Been reading all I can here and on other forum about winterizing our new cottage. It's a small place in Indiana with from what I can tell a shallow well with a jet pump located inside the cottage. I'm good with all the tasks of draining lines, pump, holding tank, hot water heater, and putting RV antifreeze in the traps. I'm most concerned with the well line running from the pitless adapter (I assume) into the pump inside the house. There is about a 4 foot section of about 2 inch black plastic (or something) that comes up from the ground and enters thru the side of the house wall to the pump. Does breaking the connection from this to the pump break the vacuum and cause any water in it to run back into the well under the freeze line? I've read on here about needing to use a T-Handle wrench to turn something down in the well itself to cause this and also read the recommendation of using a small drill pump and flexible hosing inserted down this pipe to pump the water out. Just not sure if the vacuum break alone will do it. Appreciate anyone's advice. Need to get this done in the next couple of weeks.

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    If there is a footvalve at the bottom, the water won't drain back.

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    DIY Junior Member rdjnel59's Avatar
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    I would assume there is a foot valve at the bottom but not sure.....so I'm faced with the drill pump method or the T-handle approach is what I'm hearing. Agreed?

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I would try lifting the pitless with a Tee, assuming the pitless style is not too complicated. Some require a cam lock be unscrewed or a spring-loaded crowfoot be lifted.

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    DIY Junior Member rdjnel59's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, this is all very foreign to me. What would that entail - removing the well cap and doing something to lift the pitless adapter to allow water to run back down the well? Would that process clear the entire well pipe leading from the adapter into the inside of the house? What tools would be needed to do something like that or is it best left for a professional well/plumber resource? Thanks again for all the insight.

  6. #6
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    There are several different styles of pitless so it really depends on what the driller in your area preferred. The simplest just hung by the weight of the drop pipe. If you can post a pic of it, someone here may recognize the style and know what is involved.

    Mine is the crowfoot style that has a steel release cable.

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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    I would try lifting the pitless with a Tee, assuming the pitless style is not too complicated. Some require a cam lock be unscrewed or a spring-loaded crowfoot be lifted.
    Wouldn't it be easier to suck the water out with a tube down to below the frost line with the pipe in place? I am presuming that there is a fitting that he can feed the tubing through.

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I don't know about sucking it out, but if I could not release the pitless, I would insert a long 1/4" poly tube at the pump end and blow air in to evacuate the line.

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    DIY Junior Member rdjnel59's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all the helpful info - means a lot to an IT guy who deals with computers all day. Spent the evening researching pitless adapters and finally get it. So theoretically, I make a 1" (I assume) black pipe T handle pulling tool (5' long or so) screw it into the top of the pitless adapter and either just pull it up if it's the slide type adapter or pull the release cable if the spring loaded type adapter then pull up. Assuming the pump end of the run from the house to the well is at a high point, upon release, all the water should flow back into the well. I just then slide the adapter back down and I'm all set. Assuming I have this right, is there anything special I need to do upon reseating the pitless adapter back in place? Anything special to do next spring other than prime the pump to get things working again (since the water is all back low in the well)?

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    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Shove a small tube in there and blow air into it, if you still have some doubts, get some NON toxic RV antifreeze and pour it into the line.

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    DIY Junior Member rdjnel59's Avatar
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    I've got the small tubing and plan to "suck" it out with a small utility pump as a first try. You're the second person to mention blowing air into the pipe to rid the water. How would that rid the water - and where would it go? I asked earlier if just breaking the vacum at the pump would force the water to run back into the well and was told no because the foot valve wouldn't allow it. In my case, the run from the well to my pump is downhill with about a 3 foot drop so gravity would definitely let it run that way if it can.

  12. #12
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Just like blowing hard into a straw in your drink will blow some of it out of the cup, the higher pressure from a compressor will blow all of it out the open end that you insert the tube into.

    Sucking it out may or may not work depending on how well your little pump can suck.

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