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Old 01-23-2011, 12:29 PM   #1
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Water may be freezing, need help asap


I'm kind of freaking out here and didn't know where else to ask. I live on a lake and pump my water from that lake through a jet pump and a pressure tank (tank under myhouse, pressure pump in a 6 foot deep pumphouse sealed at the lakeshore). I've never had issues in winter before.

Last few days have been -30's or colder. I got up this morning and had a shower without incident but when I went to run the kichen sink the water began surging and bucking. Then the aspirator on the sink plugged with some rust chips (these sometimes come up the line but rarely). I pulled the aspirator off and the water was dark brown, very rust coloured and more chips came out. The pressure bounced a bit then came back, now it goes sometimes from clear to a yellowish brown colour. I'm worried something is freezing and maybe the pressure of me drawing water is breaking loose ice that is breaking off rust with it?? The only steel line I have is the footvalve line into the lake.

I checked my pressure tank, it fills to 50PSI then drops to about 48 and seems to sit there, I'd assume if I blew off my footvalve it would drop very fast (the water lines run down a decent hill from my house). I'm terrified of this freezing up, there are -no- plumbers where I live. There is no way to excavate these lines if they freeze through the frozen earth. If my water blows up I have -no- running water\toilets\sinks\etc till at least end of may.

What do I do? I'm scared running my water may aggravate whatever is going on, but on the same hand NOT running it may make it worse. Don't know what to do. Very worried



EDIT: Right now I'm running one of my tubs into a bucket at a semi-fast trickle, I can't run the water directly down my drain as we're on a septic bed and I don't want to over-fill it by running water like this all day.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:05 PM   #2
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Water may be freezing, need help asap


Well your profile is real informative, thanks so much for that information.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:34 PM   #3
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Water may be freezing, need help asap


Thanks so much for your reply. I was definitely concerned with filling out my profile when my water is about to stop flowing for the next 3months, a profile is generally what I get concerned with when thinking that I'll have to chainsaw a hole in the ice of my lake and carry buckets up a hill for the next few months just to flush my toilet. Thanks so much again for your helpfull reply
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:41 PM   #4
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Water may be freezing, need help asap


Ayuh,... Considering your options are few,...
I'd leave the water trickling...
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:55 PM   #5
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Water may be freezing, need help asap


How old is your pressure tank and what is it made of?

Most are metal and this could be the source of your rust chips? What about your hot water tank? Maybe it is time to drain a bit off and clear out sludge.

You are correct about your foot valve. If it was leaking you would have a problem with keeping a pressure head. You are also correct about not running alot of water into your septic field.

How deep is your line in the lake? I had one that was down about 6 feet and worked for years until the lake finally froze almost to the bottom. The system sucked all sorts of crap then.

I am really worried about your profile though. That could really have an effect on your water problem for sure.........yuk yuk
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:59 PM   #6
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Water may be freezing, need help asap


Wow great forum here, I live in a FLY IN ONLY area in northern ontario, there are no trades people up here, I have the internet and only got it 2 yrs ago, this is my last bastion for help, where I live and what I do is none of your business, if you feel it is IMPERATIVE to know everything up to my shoe size then just go somewhere else, I'm asking for help, not looking to make a new BFF. There are no trades people, I do all my own work, I am stuck and in desperate need of help. You come on here and attack me visciously in my time of need, totally un-provoked. And you insinuate I am the one who must be fun to live with. Grow up.

Anyone else able to help me here? I've got a bucket I'm trickling water into now, the rust flakes are dimishing and the water has stopped surging at least so the pump is running normally again I think. Once in a while when I open the tap up full it blasts out brownish water and then goes clear again. A guy I know (closest neighbor) who lives about 15miles away had this happen when his heater line died and his pipes almost froze, brownish water, surging, etc, which is why I think this is cold related. Couple more days of -40 to come yet in the forecast.
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:01 PM   #7
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Water may be freezing, need help asap


Quote:
Originally Posted by kibblesret View Post
How old is your pressure tank and what is it made of?

Most are metal and this could be the source of your rust chips? What about your hot water tank? Maybe it is time to drain a bit off and clear out sludge.

You are correct about your foot valve. If it was leaking you would have a problem with keeping a pressure head. You are also correct about not running alot of water into your septic field.

How deep is your line in the lake? I had one that was down about 6 feet and worked for years until the lake finally froze almost to the bottom. The system sucked all sorts of crap then.

I am really worried about your profile though. That could really have an effect on your water problem for sure.........yuk yuk

Thanks so much for your reply, I was starting to think this was a joke site where people show up and get flamed for completely insane reasons. Pressure tank is less than 6 yrs old, it's located under my house out of the elements and still works great (assume it's steel, red powder coated tank, set to approx 50psi shutoff), pressure switched and pump was replaced ~1.5yrs ago when they blew (switch siezed over night closed, ran the pump full blast till it striped the head threads). Water pipes are less than 8yrs old and are the black sorta-ABS semi-flexible kind (not ABS, but some kind of syntehtic black tube). The intake is suspended under the ice, 6feet deep and about 10feet off the bottom, full strainer and footvalve on it, the pipe is steel and it's a bit older but rarely bleed rust that I've seen like this.
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:15 PM   #8
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Water may be freezing, need help asap


Guy from the North you know more than you think. You have done what needed to be done, as in keeping the water flowing and not into your septic.

I would also try to make sure nobody even walks on or around where your lines go to the lake as this will drive the frost down even further.

Nearly freezing water becomes like sludge and causes the surging in your lines which dislodge crap from your tanks. If possible try to drain a bit off like I said before.

I was joking when i mentioned your profile. I doubt that you did since you seem quite intelligent but if you took that wrong I am sorry.

Push the red ! down near the bottom left of the post window were your new non BFF Mr Cline took the time to be so helpful and report his less than helpful and not really even normal reply.

Good luck with the cold. It is only -2 or so here, just like spring!

Note: I was typing when your were replying. That is why this one is after yours.
Thanks for the thanks!!

Last edited by kibblesret; 01-23-2011 at 02:18 PM. Reason: timing of response
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:04 PM   #9
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Water may be freezing, need help asap


Quote:
Originally Posted by kibblesret View Post
Guy from the North you know more than you think. You have done what needed to be done, as in keeping the water flowing and not into your septic.

I would also try to make sure nobody even walks on or around where your lines go to the lake as this will drive the frost down even further.

Nearly freezing water becomes like sludge and causes the surging in your lines which dislodge crap from your tanks. If possible try to drain a bit off like I said before.

I was joking when i mentioned your profile. I doubt that you did since you seem quite intelligent but if you took that wrong I am sorry.

Push the red ! down near the bottom left of the post window were your new non BFF Mr Cline took the time to be so helpful and report his less than helpful and not really even normal reply.

Good luck with the cold. It is only -2 or so here, just like spring!

Note: I was typing when your were replying. That is why this one is after yours.
Thanks for the thanks!!
Great info thanks again, yeah the post I made asking why I was being attacked was directed only at the one individual who clearly has something else going on. I totally understood you were joking.

I figured I was doing all I really could, can't live in a place without "handymen" all over without knowing something of what you're doing, but it never ever hurts to ask just in case you've missed something. The water has stopped "surging" and I haven't seen anymore brownish\rust flecked water come out but I'm still trickling a bucket, I'll keep doing it into the night to keep the pump cycling and things moving, only a couple more days of these deep freeze temps, if I can clear them I may be ok.

I do make a very conscious effort to not walk over my pipe line, around my pumphouse, intake line, and of course septic bed. I have a pack of wolves that come through my property and took to scraping and marking ontop of my septic bed, so they tramped it down a bit but not heavily thank god. We have little snow this year (less than a foot of real snow, all light crystal-like fluff and deep-freeze temps) to act as insulation on the ground which is what I think is the cause of many years of no issue then suddenly this today. If anyone else has any ideas toss them in, thanks again to all the helpful responses.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:41 PM   #10
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Water may be freezing, need help asap


You picked a bad day for plumbing---big foot ball game today--Bears v Packers---

I will try to keep this 'bumped' to the top--I hope "the Eplumber" or "Lateral concepts" or one of the many respected plumbers takes a break from the game---

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