Physician – Heal Thyself

All week I’ve been talking about the cold temperatures and that you’ve got to respect the “3 P’s”: Pipes, People and Pets.

In the past, when the temperature has approached zero, we’ve had a problem with one pipe – bringing the hot water to our kitchen. The way our house is built, the kitchen juts out past the foundation, and the hot water pipe is right against an outside wall between the basement and first floor.

We drip a little water, and it’s just fine. And, when I came home, the water was dripping.

I had to wash out a dish I had brought to work for my dinner. As soon as I turned on the hot water, I realized the dripping had been on the cold side and the hot was frozen! Uh oh.

I went upstairs to get a blow dryer. It’s possible to thaw a frozen pipe, if the freeze isn’t too far from the exposed part of the pipe you’re heating, and if the freeze isn’t all that long in the pipe.

The cord on a blow dryer isn’t made to reach from a counter level outlet back under the sink. Up to the (very, very cold attic) to get an extension cord.

I had to clear the cabinet beneath the sink and pile our little home chemistry lab (well, that’s what’s under there) on the kitchen floor. I wedged the blow dryer on the pipe an turned it on.

Within a few seconds there was a drip. Thirty seconds later it was a tiny stream. Within a minute water (cold water) was flowing from the tap. Not long after that, it was hot. I washed the dish.

The one time our pipe really froze, we called Frank the plumber. It took him about 30 seconds, using what looked like an arc welding transformer to heat up my pipes by using them to carry high current electricity. To this day Frank is my hero.

Right now, the thermometer out my office window reads 0.3&#167! Sunrise doesn’t come for another 5&#171 hours. We might hit 5&#171 below zero – maybe more!

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