When I got home from work Tuesday our water was out…we are on the city service but the main that runs down our street is buried way to shallow to be fully protected for our heavy cold. Frost depth here can often reach 5 or 6 feet. It was a bit unexpected as the temps Tuesday were in the low to mid 40’s.
The main which is a 6″ line does not freeze but the individual “taps” that come off the main are quite vulnerable. Our sub-division was built in the early 70’s and when they dug the main they were digging through some pretty expansive bands of rock..most likely they said…”F*#@ it….its deep enough”. There are a few houses on my street that freeze many times each season. In my near 20 years here this was the 3rd time in the last 3 years…its a trend I would like to avoid.
When it happened 3 years ago the city dug down to the main and installed a “Thaw Wire” This is basically a fat cable that was bonded to the tap that can be used to supply an electric current for a pipe thawing machine.
It was Wednesday afternoon before the “machine” was hooked up to my place. We were thawed out in just a few minutes. The neighbors up the road had been out for 5 days, and had a machine installed on their line for some time. Our friendly and helpful city guy tried hooking up 2 units in series at the neighbors to help break them free…the neighbors do not have a thaw wire installed on their tap so the “circuit” is less than ideal routed through their “buffalo box” ( the valve that supplies their tap). I’m not sure if their service has been restored yet.
Having no water is a hassle…especially when it strikes with no warning. At the cabin we have no running water and survive just fine…even a week or more at a time. Its the way the cabin was designed. A sawdust composting toilet, 10 gallons of drinking water via 2 large jugs…and a week is no trouble.
At home 10 gallons would be wasted in a few toilet flushes…If the water was going to be out for too long we could always pull water from the hot water tank, that’s 40 gallons and could get us through a spell. We keep a couple of gallons of drinking water in the pantry to supply our morning coffee if needed.
When I talked to the city guy, they said they plan to add more dirt to our road to put some more distance…between the cold and the pipe…but I have heard this line before…I’ll believe it when I see it.