Another polar vortex swooped down from the Arctic yesterday afternoon, and I tracked its progress online trying to figure out when the howling winds and eye-crossing headache it brought would abate.
It was 10 degrees here this morning at 7:00 a.m. It’s close to noon and the temperature still hasn’t passed 20.
I just went outside to bring in some firewood—to get the woodstove going to supplement the electric heat—and while I was out I turned on the outdoor tap on the wellhouse to fill Tucker’s water bucket. Well, the tap turned, but no water came out. Hmmmm….Then one second later my well house began to cry, water running out of the wall along the lower layers of siding. That’s when I saw the icicles, incongruously where no water usually flows…
Of course I knew what this was. All the plumbing for my house runs through the well house basement, which also houses my well pump, and it’s exposed to significantly more temperature variation than within my house. I’d had a taste of winter plumbing issues a few weeks earlier when my water filter, also in the basement, froze and needed emergency defrosting before I could get any water to run to the indoor taps.
So expecting a new basement swimming pool, I went inside to put on my wellies. Thankfully the basement wasn’t entirely flooded, but I found some nice icicles and dripping water, which I traced back up the stairs to the pipe that runs from the basement to the outdoor tap.
I peeled back the insulation to reveal the money shot. Sure enough, the pipe had burst. Another copper victim for the polar vortex!
I suppose burst pipes are a homeowner rite of passage and all things considered, if one had to go this was the one that would cause the least damage. Now I stand in solidarity with my burst-pipe brothers and sisters across the country as this winter continues to beat the crap out of most everyone.
Thankfully, when a friend did some plumbing upgrades I’d asked him to install a shutoff valve to this external faucet, with a scenario just such as this in the murky back of my mind. I can turn the water off to the the entire affected section and only be out the use of my outdoor tap. I’m pretty sure I’ll wait a few weeks—or maybe a few months the way this winter is going—to have it fixed.