There are an estimated 100,000 thunderstorms each year in the U.S. alone. It’s rare that a water well will receive a direct strike from a storm, but it’s possible, even with protective measures. With pumps being electrically powered, they are susceptible to power surges caused by lightning strikes.
Bedford Well Drilling and Pump Company was called to investigate a report of a failed well pump at a residence. Upon opening the well cap, the technician reported a burn smell inside the well, which was the first clue the pump had electrical damage.
During the recovery process of pulling the pump out, there were obvious charred electrical lines and even blackened PVC pipe which is ordinarily white.
The lightning had struck the well head, traveled hundreds of feet below ground where the electricity finally exited at the pump, leaving an obvious mark. This was likely a direct strike, or perhaps more than one. Yes, lightning can strike the same object multiple times.
When this happens, there’s very little that can be done to save the pump itself. It’s fried. Fortunately, most homeowners insurance covers lightning damage.
SIGNS OF A LIGHTNING STRIKE
Not all well pump damage appears immediately after the thunderstorm, and it’s not always the pump damage that is most obvious first.
Lightning strikes can damage the motor or other internal parts of the motor which sometimes won’t show for days or even weeks later. Electrical lines may have been damaged and are slowly impacting the pump. Some signs include a pump starting and then cutting off unexpectedly, or throwing a breaker.
Some well owners also experience cloudy or discolored water after a lightning storm. Due to the fierceness of the strike, the vibration into the earth can shake the well itself, causing built up minerals to fall into the water supply. A sudden addition of water in the well due to storms can also cause discoloration.
Detecting lightning strike damage can often be difficult to detect at first glance. Call Bedford Well Drilling and Pump Service if you have lost water or your well is showing some of these symptoms.
We can take a look and get your water running once again.