Just as different seasons bring different temperatures, rainfall, and colors to the Napa Valley; the seasons can also impact the demands on your water system. Water usage is typically low for late fall and winter seasons and increases when spring comes along and gardening, spring cleaning, and getting the pool ready for the summer months are on everyone’s to do list.
Just like there are a few things you can do to prepare for winter, there are a few things you can do to prepare your water system for summer. Some people have put heat blankets in, heat lamps or heat strips. When the danger of freezing is past it is time to remove these and ensure there is air flow for proper cooling of the pump equipment.
Look at the plumbing and wiring. Does anything look like it is at strange angles, dangling, broken or leaking. If you have storage tank, walk around it looking for leaks, erosion around the foundation, damage from tree branches, or build up from fall leaves. Clean up any leaves, branches and ensure to cut back any branches that are overhanging or touching your water storage tank. Squirrels and other rodents like to get on top of storage tanks from overhanging branches when looking for water. These explorers can then end up inside the storage tank drowning in the water if there are any open access holes or unscreened vents. Make sure any vent holes or access ports are properly covered or screened.
If you have a water tank with an inspection port, it is important to get a flashlight and take a look. Is the water clean? If there are float switches for filling/emptying the storage tank, do they appear properly secured? Is the storage tank at or near the full mark? If you peer through the water does it look murky or smell bad? Can you see the bottom of the storage tank? Is there any debris on the bottom of the tank? Are there any bad smells coming from the storage tank?
Turn on a water spigot so that the well and or booster pump will run. Listen for any loud noises, vibrations or sounds that cause concern. Watch for leaks. Turn the water spigot off and make sure that the pump turns off and notice if there are any loud noises. The pump should turn off within a few minutes of turning off the water spigot. If it takes a long time for the pump to turn off you may have water running somewhere, the pump may be worn/not making pressure, the pressure switch may need the port cleaned or adjustment.
Look at the electrical lines that supply electricity to the pump, well, well shed, and pressure switch. Is anything loose? Do any of the electrical wires seem too short or tight, perhaps caused by a leaning tree branch. Sometimes walls or supports for electrical equipment rot and start to lean. Give things a push and ensure that all is sturdy and ready to go for another season. Electrical issues can be dangerous and result in electrical hazards including fire and shock!
Inspect in corners and under/behind any equipment or items stored in the pump equipment room. It is important to ensure rodents and insects haven’t invaded your pump house, equipment or pressure switch. One of the most common problems with well pump systems in the spring is caused by ants! Ants know spring has arrived and for some reason are attracted to the pressure switch on water systems. They climb into the pressure switch, walk on the small electrical contacts and then get smashed in those contacts when the water is used and the pressure switch actuates, smashing the ants. Ants are NOT very good conductors of electricity and keep the electrical current from going to the water pump. If this has happened to your pressure switch, it is best to replace the pressure switch and not just clean the ants out. Why? The ants bodies have acids that eat at the coating on the pressure switch contacts and they will continue to corrode and cause problems. The solution to insects in your pump system electrical components is to cut a small piece of flea collar and put it in the electrical boxes. Replace these annually as their effectiveness decreases over time. Always ensure that you turn off the electricity and practice proper safety precautions when working around or near electrical equipment!
Look for any leaking or dripping pipes as well as for evidence of water on the floor or ground around the filter equipment. If you have a UV light for your water or a cartridge filter, take a look around these as well. Many UV lights need the UV bulb replaced and the quartz sleeve cleaned on an annual basis. The cartridge filter may be due for cleaning or replacement as well. Some systems have a Triple O in tank ozone system, this requires maintenance every 12-18 month to change the UV bulb that creates ozone as well as verifying proper operation of the air pump and in tank filter. If you have a water softener, check and ensure the time is set correctly and that the brine tank has an adequate supply of salt. You may also want to dose the softener with Rust Out or some other type of cleaner designed to remove mineral build up in the water softener. It is important to follow the manufacturers directions when changing UV bulbs, cleaning or replacing filters.
If you have any questions or would like help ensuring your water system is ready to go for another season of gardening, spending time with family and friends or cooling down in the pool this summer; give Oakville Pump Service a call at (707)944-2471.