Do I need a foot-valve in winter? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi, everyone. I need some advice on a water well pump. My 12 volt pump went out on me, and I will have to use my house-force pitcher pump. It is pretty new. The weather has turned very cold on us, and I'm afraid to use a foot valve in cold weather, in fear of freezing and breaking my new pump. I can't seem to get the pump to prime without the foot valve. The pump came from Cumberlain, and it's advertisement says that it is freeze proof. Any advise?

-- Don Hughes (, November 28, 2001


The foot valve stays shut when the pump in not being used and what it does is keep water in the wellpipe which helps keep your prime. No water.. no prime... no water.

-- Ken in Maine (, November 28, 2001.

As above. All the priming in the world will just be pouring water down an open pipe, if it doesn't have a foot-valve on the bottom of it.

-- Don Armstrong (, November 29, 2001.

I assume that your "Force-pitcher pump" is the type shown in the picture below (that's me BTW): This is a "force pump." The actually pumping device is in the bottom of the well below the watertable and consequently the pumping mechanism will never freeze. This type of well "forces" water upward to the spigot, whereas small pitcher pumps "suck" water to the surface using vaccum. A vaccuum style pitcher pump requires the pump to be primed prior to every use. A force pump does not require priming. If there a foot valve is used with a force pump, water will remain in the delivery pipe. This water can freeze in the winter. To prevent water from freezing in the delivery pipe of a force pump one can either not use a foot valve or drill a 1/8" weep hole in the delivery pipe about 5 feet below the ground surface. Water will drain out of this weep hole to a point below the frost line and therefore the pump should never freeze in the winter. I am in northern Minnesota and I use my force pump all winter long even when the temps are 30 below zero. --Happy trails, Cabin Fever

-- Cabin Fever (, November 29, 2001.

Thanks to both of you for your helpful answers. Mine is a pitcher pump style. I did drill a weep hole in the water delivery pipe, but could not get any suction to prime it. So I sealed up the hole, put the foot valve back on, got it primed, used the pump for about 45 minutes, then as I had not bolted the pump on the base, I was able to lift out the pump, turn it downward, and dump out some of the water so that it won't freeze. This will work fine for me, as it is not hard to prime. Thanks again for your help. Don

-- Don Hughes (, November 30, 2001.

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