Ultimately, we want to have year-round water in a building roughly 300 feet (90m) from our well/house. Where we live the average winter temperature is ~14 farenheit (-10 celsius), and bottoms out around -40 on the coldest of cold days. The frost line for our general area is somewhere around 5 - 6 feet (1.5m). The issue is that we have 0 - 24 inches of soil, and then bedrock.

So - how to do we get water to not freeze in the winter when we're faced with low temperatures and bedrock preventing us from running it underground? I've looked at products like heat tape and Heat-Line. Both seem expensive and not-ideal, but I'm pretty stuck for options.

We have water in our house that comes from the well, how does that not freeze? I have no experience with plumbing whatsoever. Any ideas?


I would strongly suggest an "in the pipe" electric heating solution. Not to run all the time, but to be there if you need it, since this can be imperfect, to say the least, and it's a lot easier to plan ahead (and just be able to flip a switch until the water runs again) than to fix it when it's already frozen. I would not recommend this "instead" of the insulation technique below, but in addition to, as a backup. It just needs to run long enough to permit some water to flow, then you can shut it off and run water until the pipe is fully cleared of ice.

The non-electric approach (other than blowing a channel into the bedrock) is to excavate a WIDE trench to the bedrock, and place rigid foam insulation over the pipe. If it's down 2 feet and insulated sideways 4 feet, it's morally equivalent to being down 6 feet. That means an 8 foot wide trench and insulation, to get 4 feet to either side. You could also mound additional soil on top of the pipe run.

Running a "controlled leak" through the winter is an additional technique - typical well-water is 50F/10C, so running a little water all the time helps to keep the pipe from freezing.

You might also look up the well driller or plumber who ran the water from your well to the house and ask them what they did, if it's working.

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