Still cold. Still damp. Still windy. 26F when I went to bed, and likely still pretty close to that at the start of today. It did get above freezing, at least in the sun, for a bit yesterday.
We had some frozen pipes. Namely the cold water supply to the on-demand water heater, which we moved from inside the house, to outside when we replaced our tank water heater. All the lines were insulated at install, but for whatever reason, 8 inches of galvanized pipe coming out of the house and a valve were not insulated. The bypass valves at the heater unit were also not insulated. Predictably, that is what froze. It took a while to slowly thaw, using an incandescent light bulb applied to the big valve and cold water line, and then later adding a ceramic ‘personal’ heater under the pipes and the unit, but we escaped without damage to the pipes or the heater itself.
Some lessons were learned. I forgot about the hot water heater. I forgot it was hanging out in the wind on the side of the house, and I didn’t even check to see if the pipes were insulated. When my wife thought of it, I was already in my jammies ready for bed, and didn’t go out to check in the 17F wind. I decided to go to bed and let fate take its course. LAZY! Of course I woke up to no hot water. I don’t know if the additional insulation would have kept the pipe from freezing. I don’t know if the “skirt” I’d planned to build to enclose the lower half of the unit and cover the pipes would have been enough. The combination probably would have been, especially if I put a lamp bulb in there to raise the ambient temp.
So ‘prepper fail’ for sure. If the job of installing the heater had been properly finished, likely no issues. If I’d checked, no issues. We got lucky. Now, I did have the propane fired on-demand water heater we’ve been using for the outdoor shower at the BOL I could have plumbed in if the heater got damaged. Or I could have used one of the two used on-demand heaters I’ve got stored in the attic at my rent house, or even the used on-demand heater I’ve got stored at the BOL, because if the heater got damaged, there would likely be a lot of people with damaged heaters and zero in stock to buy. That happened last time. I didn’t want to be in that position, so I bought the used one at the BOL as a spare. NOT breaking the heater would be the best option by far. And I didn’t take the steps I should have taken.
I also have most of my plumbing supplies and tools at the BOL. I would be hard pressed to do more than very basic stuff here, and probably wouldn’t have the fittings. I certainly wouldn’t be in a position to help other neighbors like last year. Now my neighbors at the BOL- them I could help, and I let two of them know where the stuff was and how to get to it if needed. It’s clear that managing stores and logistics for this house and the BOL, making decisions about what and how much to stack at each location, is going to involve duplication and some compromise. I need to get more serious about equipping the BOL with its own set of tools and supplies. Can’t compromise the place we live most of the time, and don’t want to be moving stuff back and forth all the time.
That goes for food, water, meds, household supplies, etc. I really need to make a place for a lot more stuff to be transferred and stored up there. That is why I bought the shelving units from the circus estate. Need to execute on the plan…
The biggest difference between this cold snap and the last one is that we didn’t lose power. That makes all the difference. Also, it’s going to be a much shorter event. Probably. Touch wood.
Today I’ll be in last minute present wrapping and food preparing mode. Then we’ll open most of the gifts tonight. Some will be tomorrow morning. We’ll eat Christmas dinner here, then head to the BOL later Christmas day (probably.) Or we might just stay here, and mom will see the BOL next visit. Don’t really know. I might end up driving up by myself to unload my tower, and check on everything. It’s all kinda fluid at the moment.
Enjoy the days. I hope you get some good preps from the jolly fat man.