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LuckyGuy's avatar

Has this cold weather made your home do anything unexpected?

Asked by LuckyGuy (34730points) January 23rd, 2014

I store a pile of boxes belonging to my adult son against the wall in the unused, back bedroom. I have the heat almost turned off back there since it is for storage only. Yesterday, I went to move the boxes and found that one was frozen to the wall! The box had acted like insulation and formed a vapor barrier allowing water to condense and freeze. I moved the boxes so they are not touching the wall and the problem is solved.
Houses here are built to take the cold. Our plumbing is buried deep in the ground and all plumbing is located well away from cold walls. What about your home? Do you need to worry about pipes freezing? Do you do anything to prepare? Do you leave cupboards mounted on outside walls open so food or cleaning supplies do not gel or freeze? Do people who live in warm climates do anything to their pools?

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13 Answers

livelaughlove21's avatar

Well, I’ve been hearing some weird noises during early morning hours lately, but I’m not sure if it has anything to do with the weather. It is unusually cold here in South Carolina lately, and weather sounds like a better explanation than what I was thinking (damn, why did I have to watch The Conjuring again?).

My parents have a well and their water has been freezing every single night even when they leave the faucets running. Faulty plumbing is the culprit.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The cold makes me a little nervous, minus 20 degrees F, but my home handles it well. It’s a modular built in 1991 and I didn’t cut any corners putting it up. I’m glad now.

jca's avatar

My pipes often freeze after a few day long cold snap. The pipes under the kitchen sink are the ones that will freeze, and a plumber told me a few years ago to leave the cabinet doors open under the sink so the heat gets under there. He also said don’t keep too much stuff under the kitchen sink, so the heat will circulate.

My kitchen used to be really cold and drafty. Last year I took all the stuff out of the cabinets and caulked the corners, and caulked where the cabinets meet the floor and it’s much better now.

This year, for the first time ever, the cold water that runs to the shower froze. There was only hot water, and needless to say, I would have gotten scalded if I tried to take a shower. I had to get a pot and get cold water from the kitchen sink, and take a sponge bath type of thing in the bathtub. It was disgusting. I had to then wash my hair in the kitchen sink. A friend had to come and unfreeze the pipes that evening.

That’s why I have this fascination with the poor folks in Alaska living in these crappy little cabins, off the grid. I just can’t imagine.

ibstubro's avatar

Honestly, I wish I lived in a cave, where the temperature is consistent, year round.

This crap with the thermostat reading 76° and the house being freezing cold just gets my goat!

“Climate controlled” is a silly human myth.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@livelaughlove21 The creaks and groans of a house seem to be amplified when it is cold. I particularly like the squeaking of the snow when I step on it or pull it off the roof.
@Adirondackwannabe Minus 21 F. It sounds scary but in our/your area the houses are built to take it. I wonder about the houses that only expect temps down to 40F.
@jca Is there any chance you can open the cupboards and have a fan circulating the air? That might keep the pipes from freezing. Do you know where the cold water pipe is freezing? Having a fan blow near it will help. Having ceramic heater blowing on it would help even more – even if it was in a crawl space. It is not wasteful. The heat will rise and warm the house a little.
@ibstubro There is an unused, depleted salt mine around here. The owners are looking for tenants that have a use for an area that is 56F, 365 days per year. Maybe you can rent some space?

hey_now's avatar

Frozen condensation on one of my windows. Looks similar to this.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

We have had a mild winter, but many years ago when I had sliding glass patio doors, a sheet of ice would form on them, sometimes an inch thick!

ibstubro's avatar

Underground storage is a huge business, hereabouts, @LuckyGuy.

laurenkem's avatar

@LuckyGuy , I’m in Florida (luckily) and, while we’re not experiencing anywhere near what the rest of the country is, it was in the low 30s here this morning (20s with the wind chill). In Florida, that means you wrap your tropical plants and run the pool pump so it won’t freeze!

I think I pissed off some people up north when I posted a reminder to my Floridian friends on FB last night to turn their pool pumps on.

jca's avatar

@LuckyGuy: a heater is a good idea, except I am paranoid about fires (I lived in a building that had a bad fire).

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@jca Try an electric heater. we have a built in heater in the kitchen, an electric fireplace in the living room, and a small electric heater for the bathroom at the opposite end of the house off the master bedroom. We can put the heat right where we want it. Our main heat is hot water baseboard, oil fired. But the electric runs less than the oil, probably because it reduces the heat where we don’t need it. And those fireplaces are amazing. It will drive you out of the room if it’s set too high.

rojo's avatar

No, not that I can think of and we are experiencing a cold snap, with freezing precip. as I type this.

augustlan's avatar

My laundry room is built on what was previously an outside concrete stoop to the back door of the house. The house was built in 1929, and whenever the previous owners added the laundry room, they just walled in the stoop, added a new back door, put linoleum flooring right on top of the concrete, and slapped paneling on the inside walls – with no insulation. Needless to say, the pipes in there would freeze if we didn’t keep the inner door (from laundry room to kitchen) open in the winter. Which naturally means my kitchen gets damn cold, all winter long. Old houses. Pfft.

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