Dealing With It
It's been cold here.
Real cold. Well, for us anyway. Single digits for the past 36 hours or so.
We are happy we have a wood stove and lots of wood - we've been cranking up the “free” heat.
Came home from post-church eating out to discover our cold water did not work in the kitchen - frozen line.
Not too much of a problem - the water worked everywhere else in the house.
The mild inconvenience comes from the fact that we are having the First Annual (which my wife tells me is improperly named) "Bad Sweater Party" tomorrow night. House full of people expected so we are cleaning and cooking and tidying up and what not. No cold water in the kitchen means the dishwasher doesn't work, have to go to the bathroom to get cold water, etc. No big deal – the hot water works and we know how to wash dishes in a sink.
We emptied out the cabinet beneath the sink and placed a little space heater in there after using a blow dryer did not work and got tiresome...
I’m not worried – it will eventually thaw. I leave the cold water turned “on” and go about life in the home.
The Mini “Crisis”
I'm on the computer and I hear GURGLE SPONK BOINK in the water pipes. I pop out to the living room full of teens and say, "Is the water working?"
"Yeah, I can hear it."
“Cool” I think as I bounce out to the kitchen to turn off the water in the sink.
Water is shooting up the wall and pouring out onto the floor.
Okay, broken pipe – TURN OFF THE MAIN!
I know where that is so I run over and turn it off.
It’s not coming from under the sink. It’s coming from behind the cabinet next to the sink.
Oh, this is not good.
I empty and then pull the cabinet. I now know how they went in…
It is not obvious where the water was coming from but the drywall is very wet.
I easily cut out that part of dry wall and expose the pipe – yep, it’s busted.
I know how to fix this, having done it on Christmas Eve in 1991 in another house. You cut out the piece of pipe that’s busted and attach this little doohickey you get at the hardware store in its place. Not too difficult. Very inexpensive if you don’t count gas into town. The problem is, Home Depot is closed as is everything else anywhere near here on a Sunday evening.
There is no shut off in the line between the break and the main – we have to shut off the whole house. Note to self (and you) if you build a house – add a couple extra shut offs along the line…
Dealing With It Through Basic Preparedness
I don’t think duct tape will work so we have to wait until tomorrow to get the doohickey.
I have a house full of teens (kids and their friends) having movie night and a sleep over.
And the toilets won’t flush.
Well, we have about 50 or more 2-liter bottles stored away in the closet under the stairs – “Go get em kiddos and put some in each bathroom.”
We have hundreds of gallons of water stored out side. It is now in solid form – it’s solid ice. Then I remembered the two 5-gallon water cans I used on a training exercise two months ago and never got around to filling up. I was constantly making mental notes to do so and just never did. Turns out this time it was good to procrastinate.
See, the barn water spigot still works. So I donned my insulated Carhartts overalls and head lamp and ran out there and filled the two empty cans with water and brought them inside to use for the toilets. I love Carhartts. I love head lamps.
We now have an easy way to flush and we have plenty of water in 2-liter containers for making drinks, brushing teeth and so on.
We will live until tomorrow.
One of the teens hasn’t been around us much and was very impressed that we had water, and cans to hold even more water. Maybe he learned something.
Final Lessons and Ideas
Now, it’s been cold here before and the pipes never froze. Why now?
We think it’s because we have been using the wood stove more than usual which keeps the furnace from kicking on which means the kitchen is colder.
As you can see I exposed a lot of the pipe and we are going to look at insulating it better from the outside, and perhaps leaving it exposed to the inside of the cabinets. We have also turned on the furnace fan so it blows warm air throughout the entire house.
Everyone except one person in my household has insulated coveralls. That will change tomorrow when I get our youngest a set. These “body coats” are just excellent for throwing on and running out into the elements. Keep a hat and pair of gloves in the pocket and you are good to go.
I wish I had money enough to stick a head lamp in every coat. Man, I love these things. Maybe a hook near the front door on which to hang them.
Know where your water shut off is.
I think I need to keep MORE water in the house. Now to find space.
And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. – Matthew 10:42
If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe
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