Last week was cold. Inside and out. The coldest it got in our living room was 37 degrees a couple of mornings. We had an unfortunate combination of the outside temperature being about zero degrees, having a drafty house, and not having heat downstairs. We ate breakfast upstairs most mornings last week while the space heaters did their best to warm things up downstairs.
The workers only worked about a half day last week. They came Monday morning, when our windows and doors were being delivered. They unloaded those and then also did a tiny bit of work on the house. Then it started snowing.
They came by briefly Wednesday morning and cleared the snow off of our subfloor. It snowed again on Saturday, and Peter was going to attempt to use their push broom to clear the snow off, but it was so cold that the broom had frozen to the subfloor and the handle snapped when he tried to pick it up. Oops.
We had a couple of exciting things happen on Thursday. The porta-potty company guy came to clean it, but (my theory is) all of the liquid was frozen, so the normal process didn’t work. Instead, he added a scoop of something (sand? salt? kitty litter?) to it and went on his way.
Thursday afternoon we had a frozen water pipe. This was a first for us, which is kind of impressive given how cold it has been and how exposed our pipes are. We have been careful to leave the water dripping each night it’s below freezing, and there is a space heater running in the cellar to keep the pipes warmish. After being gone for a few hours Thursday morning, I came home and found that the cold water in the kitchen sink wouldn’t run. I was in the middle of trying to put Micah down for nap while also trying to figure out what to do about the pipes, and Peter was at a meeting an hour away. Micah was less than understanding and did not end up napping that day.
I went down into the cellar, which involves leaving the children inside, locking the door, walking around to the back of the house, and climbing up a dirt wall that is about 3 feet high. Once there, I discovered that the space heater was not running, which is probably why the pipes froze (and it was about 7 degrees outside). After going in the house and back out a couple times, I figured out that the breaker had tripped for that circuit (which only has the one cellar outlet on it). I flipped the breaker back on and went back to the cellar. The outlet is a ground-fault one (you should see the letters GFCI on outlets in your kitchen and bathroom), and I pressed the test button and then tried to reset it. No matter how hard I pressed, it would not reset.
The dirt wall.
I consulted with my dad over the phone, and then used the contractor’s extension cord to plug the space heater in to the newly installed outlet on the front porch. After about half an hour of the space heater running again, the pipe was unfrozen. Yay! I waited a few minutes and then went back down to the cellar to check for leaks. There were none. Double yay! My dad and I had determined that the outlet was probably bad and needed to be replaced. When Peter got home, he changed the outlet but made a rookie mistake during testing and ended up making sparks and charring the outlet. It was a good try though! My dad came by the next morning and changed the outlet again, and it seems to still be working.
Also, on Thursday afternoon, the hot water in the bathroom sink was very brown when I got home. I ran it for a while to get it clear, but then it only had about half its former pressure. On Saturday, Peter worked on it a little and was able to get the dirt cleared out and turn the water pressure up.
We were sad that the cold, snowy weather prevented work on our house, but we did manage to enjoy playing in the snow several days last week.