Wednesday, January 8, 2014

And a little hairdryer shall lead them

When we had our house and separate guesthouse built, the contractor assured us that we wouldn’t have to worry about frozen pipes.  However, I don’t think he foresaw the 12 degree temperature that we had yesterday. 

Thankfully, our house weathered the cold without issue; our guesthouse that doubles as my climate-controlled inventory warehouse had a minor hiccup, though.

Yesterday, about 6 a.m., I entered the guesthouse to ensure that all was well.  The heat pump was pumping it’s little heart out, but could not quite reach the 72 degree mark set on the thermostat.  Still, at 70 degrees, it was warm enough, or so I thought, to forestall any problems that the chilly temperatures would bring.  To be sure, though, I turned on the kitchen faucet.  Nothing.

Oh, crap.

The bathroom and tub faucets brought the same result. Nada.  So, I checked all exposed under-sink pipes.  There was no sign of anything out of the ordinary, but I still had visions of a broken pipe flooding my inventory. 

I had a couple of options at that point.  I could call a plumber when the sun came up, or I could just wait it out, and hope whatever frozen pipe that I had would thaw by spring, or by the end of the week when the weather was projected to be in the 60s.  How insane is that, by the way, when the temperature one day can be 12 degrees, and four days later it can be 60 degrees?

But, I digress.  I decided on option two, and went to my day job.  Ella begrudgingly braved the cold and checked the house throughout the day, and I sat at work and worried, while looking up frozen pipe solutions on the Internet.

Not my house or Ella's hairdryer,
but a dramatic recreation of me
braving the cold and warming the pipe
By 4:30 when I got home, there was still no water, but I had an idea. I knew all the pipes in the house were protected from the cold.  The main waterline to the guesthouse was buried, so probably it was OK as well.  The one soft spot, so to speak, had to be where the waterline entered the home.  It, too, was underground, but came up in the wall to meet the outside faucet where the hose attaches.

Grabbing an extension cord and Ella’s hairdryer, I braved the 25 degree temperature, and proceeded to warm the faucet.    Much to my delight, water soon started trickling out of the kitchen faucet, and after a few more minutes, began flowing freely.

Crisis averted. 

As darkness fell, and I retrieved my last piece of sold inventory from the guesthouse, I decided to heed the weatherman’s advice, and leave the water dripping in the sink just to be on the safe side.

In between all the cold-related worry, I managed to have a fairly good sales day, including the sale of two pairs of thermal underwear to one buyer.  Better late than never, I guess.

I also sold approximately $130 worth of books and stuff on Amazon and 

Looking ahead, I learned today that the overpriced estate sale from Sunday is having an “everything must go … prices reduced” sale on Saturday.   I still think it will be overpriced, but we’ll probably take a second look. 


  1. The main waterline to the guesthouse was buried, so probably it was OK as well. The one soft spot, so to speak, had to be where the waterline entered the home. I like your decision to heed the weatherman’s advice, and leave the water dripping in the sink just to be on the safe side.

    Luxury Hair extensions

  2. My old dear departed father-in-law used to place a cardboard box full of screwed up newspaper over thep ipe/outside tap, cutting slots where necessary. Just whilst the weather was really bad - he would then take it away when the thaw came. We do the same trick here in France where we can get minus 20c most winters, just for a day or two.

  3. That sounds like a good idea. In my defense, in the eight years of owning the house, the weather has not warranted such precautions. I hope we don't see 12 degree F weather again any time soon.

  4. Our outdoor spigots froze. I hope they'll be okay once they thaw out.We lost some potted plants. I didn't think to take them in.Oh well. Maybe the cold temps will cut down on the bug population this summer. Wishful thinking?

    1. Actually, the heavy freeze will cut down on some of the bugs. Just don't forget to keep your mosquito repellent handy once the spring rains hit.

  5. EEK! THAT IS WAY TOO COLD! we have been lucky here in California with temperatures in the 50's- 60's. We are however facing a very nasty drought If It doesn't rain soon!

    1. Fortunately, we had a good amount of rain last year after suffering through several years of less than average rainfall. This year is starting off wet as well. As much as the rain crimps my yard sales sometimes on Saturdays, I'm not going to complain.

  6. So glad you were able to fix the problem before it became a flood. This weather has been crazy! We had wind chills of minus forty last week, and today, it's supposed to get up to around fifty, which feels like paradise after last week.