Friday, February 04, 2011

Mea Culpa

On January 1 the year began with minus twelve degrees. Julie started a load of laundry and the washer failed to fill with water. A little trouble shooting and I knew the water lines were frozen to the washer.

Last year when we built a utility room and moved the washer and dryer I thought about protecting the pipes. Our addition turned an outside wall into an inside wall so I ran the pipes on this wall. No danger of freezing. I cut the drywall close to the floor in the back of a closet, pulled insulation out of the way, installed the water lines and pushed the insulation back in place. What I didn't realize was that my "inside" wall was actually an outside wall for the first foot. Our addition didn't extend as far as I thought with just a quick visual inspection. Since I had put the waterlines behind the insulation I had doomed that one foot section to freezing at some time. My mistake. It took about 10 minutes to open the wall, thaw the frozen pipes, put the insulation behind the water lines and put the drywall back in place.

Last Wednesday it happened again but a little more serious this time. We discovered we had water to the bathroom sink and washer but nowhere else, not to the tub or the kitchen. The overnight temperatures were about minus ten for two or three nights and the daytime temperatures were barely out of single digits.

When we remodeled the kitchen in November and December I had to move water lines, a drain and a gas line. This necessitated cutting the vapor barrier and insulation under the floor. I finished the task but left the cuts unrepaired for a few days to check for leaks. No leaks so all was fine. Wanting to finish the kitchen I left the vapor barrier unrepaired with intentions of finishing the repair "soon". Small holes only large enough to get my hand through them didn't seem critical but they let a freezing wind get to the pipes. A complicating factor was the fact that we no longer use our central furnace and I had closed all floor vents. Had the furnace been running it would have heated the ducts that run parallel to and a few inches from the water lines. Had the floor vents been open a little warm air could have circulated through the duct. Once again, my mistake.

Since both Julie and I are working and since we had hot and cold water at the bathroom sink we ignored the problem and left it for today to fix. But I had to work today on my regular day off. Shortly before noon Julie phoned and said "Good news! We have water" Last nights low of 20 degrees and today's high of 47 took care of the problem. The water pump hasn't come on at unexpected times so that's an indication there are no breaks in the lines. Problem solved.

Actually, small problems like this are enjoyable. They provide a pleasant break to our routine. This is my opinion. I haven't asked Julie for her opinion.

Tomorrow I'll fix the holes in the vapor barrier and insulation.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You love this stuff. Don't you?

2/04/2011 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Buffalo said...

I would have been banging my head on the wall.

2/04/2011 10:58:00 PM  

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