Remember my last entry? I mentioned that I thought one of the outdoor spigots wasn't covered. It wasn't. So I went outside, using my walking stick (Marilyn suggested that!), walking carefully on the snow that's now covered with a thick coating of ice from the freezing rain. And sure enough, there's no cover! I've brought one from the garage, so I manage to get it on. But there's a coating of ICE on the faucet that I'm breaking free...
I go back in and Marilyn and I talk and I decide I should have tested the faucet by turning it on. So I head back out and repeat the walking with the walking stick and so on. It's VERY slippery out there. And I get back inside to relate the bad news: I turned it on, but nothing came out. We've got a frozen pipe!!!
Marilyn goes right into action. She remembers doing this many times when we lived at home with Mom and Dad. We were always having pipes freeze! And she takes a hair dryer and starts working on the pipes down in our laundry room. I'm in and out and I finally decide I should turn ON the faucet and leave it on. But I don't want to leave it entirely uncovered. So I take this hand warming thing and activate it. Then I put it on the faucet and I wrap it up with a towel. (I used to always wrap the outdoor spigots with rags and tape in the old days.) I need to leave the faucet part uncovered for when the water frees up and comes out -- but cover the rest.
Meanwhile Marilyn is working away. She has to stand on a step stool and lean across the downstairs fridge, with her arms way up in the air holding the hair dryer! I can only imagine how painful and exhausting that has to have been!!! Plus there's dust there from the damn ants coming in around the fridge (even with spraying I can't keep them away).
That spot -- which is close to the front porch -- is where we originally had an ant issue when we moved in. The previous owners had to have them drill down through the porch (which was only concrete then) and spray into the porch. Since then we had the porch covered in stone. But that area has always been a magnet for ants. Not sure WHY.
Anyway, she takes a couple of very short breaks, as it's tiring and she's so allergic to the dust!
I keep going in and out to check things outside. I've been walking from the garage (in and out the big door for the car) around the front of the house, because that's flat, at least. I'm nervous about going down the porch steps, as I took one hell of a fall in the last house down porch steps when there was ice from freezing rain. (I still have an injury from that fall today.)
But I suddenly decide I can go out the front door and lean over and LISTEN to see if the water is flowing.
Meanwhile, I go in the living room and PRAY VERY HARD to St. Jude for his help. Not sure why it took me so long to get around to asking him for help. But I prayed several times. Then I went back outside. It was hard to know what was up inside the house, as we've got water running in the kitchen and my bathroom, as well as the laundry room sink. Thankfully, considering! It's not uncommon for people to get more than one pipe frozen when it happens, after all.
I'm out on the porch and I swear I heard a drop in the bucket I have under the faucet. Then I swear I hear another! But that's it. So I go back in the house and downstairs to talk to Marilyn. I'm talking to her about the various pipes and what I've heard and I point toward the window that's right near the pipes and I suddenly see water POURING HARD from the faucet!!!
Now I'm trying to RUN upstairs, and tripping over my own feet in my haste to get outside and turn the spigot off!!!!!!!!
It's quite a mess, as I left it on more than I should have, and the water is really coming out hard. It's filled the bucket and poured on the ground and made the area near it sopping wet and slushy (snow and freezing rain). I get the towel and hand warmer off so I can turn the faucet and finally shut it down. Then I put the cover back on and move the bucket full of water. I'm pretty soaked! Boots, socks, feet, the bottom of my pants.
I'd already noticed a difference with the kitchen sink, by the way. As Marilyn heated the pipes, the faucet of the kitchen sink had been flowing more freely -- and no longer made that SOUND that tells you the pipes are starting to freeze (which I'd noticed all day long). The water also seems to be better in my bathroom, too...
Is this all because of the missing cover??? We've never had our pipes freeze in this house. We don't even run the cold water in Marilyn's bathroom (sink or tub), and it's fine. Those pipes appear to be well insulated.
But the pipes in the laundry room? They're right up against the outside wall of concrete, just under a window that's not insulated!
I'd mentioned to Marilyn how COLD the laundry room seemed the last few days. I know it's not a warm room, but I don't ever recall it being this cold before.
I guess we need to think about those covers for pipes that you can slip over them. I read a lot about the outdoor spigot -- and several times saw that they didn't think those covers we use actually work. Yet we never have trouble when it's covered. I'm pretty convinced it wouldn't have frozen if I hadn't forgot to put the cover on.
That faucet comes out of the brick planter that's on the side of the porch. I'm guessing the pipes are simply buried in the soil that fills it, but it's hard to know for sure. I touched the bricks many times, and they were VERY COLD. But soil can actually be very insulating.
Should we winterize that window? We've never done it before and we've lived here for more than 20 years with no issues. But if it would avoid something like this, why not?
Well, I'm VERY TIRED now and ready to head to bed. I'm grateful to Marilyn and St. Jude for fixing this situation -- which shouldn't have happened in the first place. Again, it's not like me to forget to cover that spigot!!! I've been pretty damn good about both outdoor spigots (the other one was covered from last year), as a rule.
The miracle here was that BLOGGING somehow made me think about it! And check it. Because otherwise we could have had a nasty surprise, if that pipe had burst!
And THIS is why I'm adamant about running the water when it's freezing or colder! Because we had a pipe burst in our house back on Fessenden street -- in the part of the basement that had dirt floors. What an awful thing that was! It happened on Christmas Day one year -- when there was no way to get help from a plumber. It made a HUGE HOLE in that room in the basement! I remember it like it was yesterday (and it must have been three decades ago, at least).
We're very blessed. I'm so glad we're NOT dealing with flooding this year. All that rain, and now this -- and we're doing fine. I'm going to do a lot of praying about my gratitude, believe me!
Oh! It probably helps that we blessed our house today! I didn't think about that before. (smile)
Marilyn was so calm about all this. She remembers always feeling that it was no big thing to have frozen pipes -- because you could always thaw them (which she did many, many times). I must have helped, but I think it was HER THING, if you know what I mean. And my memories go back to that burst pipe, rather than the times we fixed things without serious issues...
Good night, my friends. May all your pipes stay perfectly warm and working!
(I hate freezing rain so much. More than I can ever, ever say.)