I made my way to the kitchen and fired up the Keurig. The Today Show playing in the background. Simply perfect.
As I turned on the faucet to wash my face, a new addition to my morning routine, nothing came out. I switched off the hot water and tried the cold. Ice cold water came rushing out. I moved to the guest room, same thing. The shower, same thing. The kitchen sink, same thing. No hot water in the entire house.
Feeling slightly panicked, I did the only thing I could think of… I called my dad.
After answering several questions, we came to the conclusion that my pipes were frozen.
This will be my first test in homeownership.
I was at a loss.
Will the pipes “unfreeze” on their own and begin functioning normally? It’s supposed to be sunny
today, maybe they
will warm up? -a true sign of
inexperience and lack of knowledge…the pipes are under my 90-year-old house,
read: out of the sun…sigh.
With no other options, I called my plumber (Roy).
Roy said to turn on all of the hot water faucets and crank up the heat. The hot air should help to speed up the process. However, I will need to be home to monitor the pipes. If and when they thaw, there is a chance one (or all) of them might bust causing hundreds of gallons of water to flood my house. Hold me!
Before getting off the phone with Roy, he assured me it was just a waiting game. That there is nothing else I could do.
After about 10 minutes of playing the “waiting game,” I conducted a thorough search online. I came to the conclusion that the pipe leading up to the hot water heater was frozen and I needed to locate a space heater to warm it up! Easy!
Off to Home Depot I go!
Home Depot was sold out of space heaters; however, they have a “pro desk” where you can consult with the pros!
A nice man, let’s call him Charley, spent a good 45 minutes with me explaining all of the worst case scenarios.
My original idea of putting a space heater in front of the hot water heater was very ambitious.
Charley suggested (with a straight face) that I crawl UNDER the house and clamp heat lamps to the pipes. It should only take 15 minutes or so for them to defrost.
His other suggestion was to crawl under the house and use a space heater to warm up the pipes *but* I would need to stay down there with it in case of a house fire.
Can we all agree that that is a disaster waiting to happen?
After explaining my hesitations with crawling under the house myself, Charley called his old pal (a local plumber) and got me on a waiting list.
In the meantime, Charley had me convinced that all of my pipes were ruined and the entire plumbing system needed to be replaced, which will cost me thousands and thousands of dollars.
I called my dad on the way home, completely beside myself.
Dad tried to explain that Charley was an “extremist” but I wasn’t buying it. After all, Charley was a “pro” and he knew what he was talking about!
That afternoon was spent going back and forth between Google searches, getting upset, calming myself down and looking through the vent space debating whether or not I would get eaten by a rat if I did muster up the courage to crawl under the house.
Convinced that the plumber had misplaced my address and wasn’t going to show, my only option was to crawl under the house. I decided to improvise where the space heater was concerned. I dug out a long extension cord and located my beloved blow dryer.
I would blow dry those pipes! Surely my Rusk Speed Freak hair dryer would work! It puts off a ton of heat!
About the time I located the door to the crawl space, I got a text from my friend. She had heard of my troubles and had a few ideas. What if I closed off all of the vents under the house? That would help the pipes stay warm…and maybe they would thaw out!
Unbeknownst to me, I was supposed to take care of this last fall.
I rounded up a few cardboard boxes and began the tedious process of covering the vents.
Right as I was finishing the last vent, the plumber arrived!
I’ve never been so happy to see a plumber in my entire life!
Thankfully, no pipes had burst and I was just out an $80 service call.
Stephen (the plumber) mentioned that he had worked on my house before, with the previous owners. He told me about the new septic system he installed last year …that it was sure to last a long time! He was familiar with the hot tub and had fixed several leaks.
It was a very informative service call.
Finally, I could relax. I could breathe.
I don’t have to go under the house!
I don’t have to sell a kidney to pay for the busted pipes!
-I guess Charley was an extremist after all!
And the cherry on top of what turned out to be a pretty good day?
Roy called to check in! -Remember Roy? The first plumber?
He just wanted to know how my pipes were doing, if they had thawed.
In and effort to keep the call short, I spared him the details of how the pipes were fixed, “yes Roy…they are working!”
His reply: “Great! I knew it was just a matter of waiting it out!”
Me: “Thanks Roy, I really appreciate all your help!”
Roy: “Anytime Brittney, Let me know if it happens again!”
It's days like yesterday that make me realize how lucky I am to live in Ada. The people here care for one another. No one ripped me off. No one took advantage of the clueless-single girl-first time homeowner. Everyone wanted to help!
Roy didn't have to call me back. Even though his advice wasn't very helpful, I appreciate that he took the time out of his night to call the crazy lady and make sure she was okay.
Charley was a little extreme but he did connect me with his pal Stephen.
And Stephen? Stephen was my savior.
It was a long day and I spent most of it stressed and agitated...
But looking back, I think I will consider it a success!