Living in the Midwest, it’s cold. According to the local meteorologists, we’ve broken the 50-year record for cold and have to go all the way back to 1918 to find a colder low temperature. Wednesday the low was -13 Fahrenheit with wind chills much lower. Needless to say, we’ve been indoors the last several days.
Tuesday night, we went through the house, making sure faucets were dripping and preparing. When we got up Wednesday morning, all was well. Arthur’s work day was reduced due to the extreme weather, so he didn’t leave until late morning. It was pleasant to have a relaxed start to the day and the furnace was pumping out heat, so despite the cold, we were cozy.
I put the girls down for a nap around one and did my workout. Around 2:20, I headed up to shower, turned it on, and…no hot water.
I cranked the lever over to the hottest setting and the water stopped.
The house is laid out such that the second full bath is on the opposite side of the wall from the master bath, where I was, and uses the same pipes. I sprinted to the second bathroom, turned on the water in the tub/shower, and waited. No hot water.
I quickly checked the sinks in both bathrooms, which did have hot water. My stomach sank. The pipes to the showers weren’t on the outside wall of the house, but they were close to it. I knew that all wasn’t lost yet because water was still coming through, but probably didn’t have long before the pipes completely froze.
I called my parents, who I knew were home and had dealt with a wide variety of house issues. “Furnace up, run the water as far to hot as you can while getting a flow, and warm up the pipes wherever you can find a spot.” We normally keep our house at around 69 degrees (Fahrenheit) and just put on another sweater, but in this case, I cranked the furnace to 76 and prayed it would hold. I kept the water running, which precipitated another issue: the tub drain in one of the bathrooms had long been running slowly and now was blocked. I spent the next half hour bailing so I could keep the water going to keep the pipe unfreezing and wondering where Arthur was, as he was due home.
A few minutes later, I found out: at the auto supply store. The car battery had died in the cold to the point where it would no longer even jump. Fortunately, Arthur happens to work across the street from the auto supply store and getting a new battery was easy. About thirty minutes later, he was home.
We spent the next several hours unblocking the drain (hurrah for baking soda, vinegar, and hot water), bailing the tub, and cleaning up the mess.
Honestly, we were fortunate. It’s sheer luck that I caught the freezing pipe in time to get it thawed before it got to the point of bursting (and we’ll be watching for the next several weeks to make sure there are no small cracks/leaks). It’s also lucky that Arthur was able to get a new battery so easily.
But hey, so far, so good 😊.