Our recent extremely low temperatures came with a lot of warnings, even from us.  I posted on Facebook to adjust your temperatures up a few degrees to avoid low temperature alarms or worse yet, frozen pipes.

There is so much information on how to protect your home against low temperatures and here are a few:

  • Insulate pipes in attics and crawl spaces
  • Heat tape on exposed pipes can be particularly helpful.
  • Seal leaks where cold air can come in particularly where pipes enter the home.
  • Turn a faucet on to drip to keep water moving through the pipes.

Yes, I know all the rules… Unfortunately, during the most recent cold snap, I didn’t follow all of them.  I didn’t check the insulation around pipes coming into the house.  I didn’t seal leaks where air can enter the house. I didn’t turn on the faucet to drip.  At 3 am, I discovered a frozen pipe.

I was not 100% sure what to do but I was 100% informed about what not to do!  I knew not to use a heat source that could create CO Gases.  I knew direct heat on the frozen pipe was a really bad plan and would change my day from bad to worse.  I determined the extent of the freeze and which pipes were affected. (Fortunately, only one!) Using my finest MacGyver skills, I created a way to suspend a ceramic heater 6 feet from the pipe and gently warm the area. I turned on the faucet in the kitchen.

3 hours later and multiple trips to the basement, I heard the sound of running water in the kitchen sink (and not in the basement!!) I did a happy dance, proud of my success!  Then I went to the basement, permanently sealed the air leak and left the heater on for another few hours, just in case!