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I wish I would have remembered to leave the water on last night.

Leave the Water On

You’d think by now I’d remember to do that when the first true cold snap arrives. But no, I always forget, just like I forgot last night. And now, of course, there’s no water running from my faucet when I turn it on. If only I had remembered to leave the water on. Just a little.

The consequences multiply

Worse, when the water freezes at the house, it means there’s no water running down the mountain in the exposed lines. Which means there’s ice in them. All of which bodes ill for my to-do list later today when the ice thaws. I’ll be out tracking down burst lines and doing repairs. It doesn’t hurt the lines at the house to freeze, thank goodness, because those can tolerate the expansion that happens when ice forms in them. Only the ones leading from the tank way up on the mountain to the barrel just behind the house are the issue. Why, oh why didn’t I just leave the water on last night?

Sometimes it isn’t enough to just leave the water on

Sometimes, leaving the water on isn’t enough, as you can see in the photo below. Fortunately, this icy stalagmite would never happen in the house we live in now. But it has gotten cold enough so that even leaving a good stream of water on didn’t keep it from freezing. Still, a lot better than being so cold the indoor water makes ice sculptures in the sink.

When we first moved to the Ozarks, we lived in an old house with no insulation. I literally had to put things in the refrigerator (as opposed to leaving them on the counter) to keep them from freezing overnight. Oh the lessons learned during those years were many, and mostly related to coping with winter’s effects on water.

Even when I do leave the water on, sometimes it's not enough. Stalagmites in the sink one cold winter morning.
Stalagmites in the sink one cold winter morning.

The Water Woes of the Past

I’ve blogged before about what happens when the water freezes here. Here’s a few of those posts if you want to commisserate with me this morning.

Note to self for the future: Don’t get complacent. Remember to leave the water on!

Just in case you need some instructions on repairing pex water lines: https://www.instructables.com/id/Water-Line-Leaks-Fix-It-Yourself-Heres-How/ Fortunately, the PEX has never leaked when the water freezes here. That’s what we have the entire house plumbed with and I highly recommend it if you deal with freezing water, too. Eventually we’ll get our entire line from the spring to the house buried and we won’t have this problem every winter. I don’t think the pex will work for us on that long stretch… but not sure why. Might be something to look into.

Cold weather affects the art process, too

In the meantime I’m working on framing a painting this morning but can’t move forward with it until I spray the initial fixative. I want to varnish the painting so it can be framed without glass, like some of the others I’ve tried. But the cold weather is interrupting that plan, too. This has to be done outside where there is enough ventilation. But at 20*F, I’m afraid it’ll come out of the can all stringy. So I’ll just wait until it warms over 40 to get that done.

4 thoughts on “Leave the Water On”

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  1. I can’t imagine how cold that was when you had to refrigerate things to keep them from freezing! Makes me cold just to think about it. Hopefully things have thawed out by now and you’ll remember about the water next time. When it’s very cold here, we leave the cabinet doors open under the kitchen sink and one bathroom sink as they have outside walls. Thankfully we’ve never had any freezing but then it’s also a good deal above freezing in the house, even though I don’t keep it nearly as warm as many people do.


    1. It seems like I always forget the first time, but the panic serves as a good reminder the rest of the year, lol. It’s hard for me to imagine how bad the settlers must have had it. At least I had a refrigerator to put things in! It never gets that cold in this current house, thankfully. That’s a good idea about opening the cabinet doors. It wouldn’t do much good here, though, because the critical spots are up on the mountain in the water lines. If I just would have just left a small stream running, it would have done the trick. Annual lesson learned 😉

    2. I also can’t imagine how cold it was for the settlers or even for many people in castles and places like that. Fireplaces aren’t all that efficient for the most part!

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