Many households throughout the Hudson Valley and the US receive their water supply from private wells. These private wells use electric well pumps to draw water from the water source and deliver it to the household. If you experience a power outage, your well pump will not work. You will continue to use water for a short time, as your system draws the remaining water from the well storage tank. However, once that water is used – you will not have access to fresh water until power is restored.
In many cases, this does not pose an immediate problem as power outages are often short-lived. Yet in the northeast, where areas are susceptible to large storms which can knock out power for days at a time, this is a constant worry.
How To Avoid Losing Water During A Storm
One of the best ways to avoid losing water supply during a power outage is to install a backup generator to supply power to essential appliances. The size and scope of your backup generator system will depend on how elaborate a system it needs to maintain. If you only need to provide power to a sump pump a smaller, gasoline-powered pump should suffice. However the more fixtures and appliances you add to the load like lights, well pump, furnace, refrigerator etc the larger the backup generator will have to be.
If you are using a gasoline powered generator please make sure it is placed outside; not in a crawl space, basement or attached garage. Make sure the generator is safely connected. And once power is restored, disconnect the generator immediately.
How To Flush Your Toilet Without a Functioning Well Pump
If you do not have a backup generator and lose power – remember that you can still flush toilets and then pour water into the toilet tank (not the bowl) before flushing again. This is a smart way to save potable water that you still have access to. To do so, first shut off the water supply to the toilet. Most residential and commercial toilets have emergency shutoffs with the water piping leading to the toilet. Then, use grey water (melted snow or ice, pool water, etc) to fill the toilet tank before each flush.
Water conservation during a power outage will allow you to continue with a usable water supply for a longer period of time. Try to limit shower times, drink bottled water, and refrain from using washing machines, laundry machines, or any other household device which calls for water.
After Power Is Restored
When your well pump stops working during a power outage, remember it is only temporary. Once power is restored, so will be your water supply. You must only stay calm, and consider your options of how to minimize water usage during the downed time so that you have water available for your most important day-to-day activities.
If however, your water does not return once the power has been restored, you may have to reset the pressure switch, which can be triggered when the tank pressure drops below a suitable level. On the rare occasion, power surges, lightning strikes or complications from no water situations may require the attention of a licensed well pump professional.
If you’re experiencing problems with your well pump, call T.Webber Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric.