It’s Always Something

140301 RadiatorThere are decided disadvantages to not living in a house full time.  There are squirrels moving into the shed, spiders just taking over each and every room and pipes freezing during subzero nights.  Yeah, the photo pretty much says it all.

This winter is one that will be burned into memory.  It has been harsh.  The cold has been unrelenting.  The roads are heaved and full of pot holes, the house has heaved enough to cause problems closing outside doors.  The oil truck visits weekly, I swear, and there is no end in sight.  Sigh . . .

The issue with the frozen pipe reared its ugly head on Friday – I came up early to warm the house.  I lit the stove and then looked at the temperature in the room to watch it rise – it was 46 degrees in the room with the thermostat set at 54.  Uh oh.  I turned on the water in the sink – nothing.  Beautiful.  I just cranked up the wood stove thinking that I could at least warm the room enough to thaw out the water.  We have a propane heater that we put in the shop to thaw it out another time and that was turned on once Bill arrived later in the evening.  Then we waited.

Saturday morning in the light of day Bill saw the hole in the radiator and called our heating guy.  He lives in town and probably the sound of desperation in our voice sent him over within an hour.  We had put enough antifreeze into the heating system to keep it liquid to 20 below so this came as somewhat of a surprise to us.  Apparently the pictured radiator had been leaking slowly for that past month or two (maybe longer).  The system has an automatic fill on it so when the liquid gets low it automatically refills it.  Enough had leaked so the water to antifreeze level was lowered considerably and it was diluted enough so on a night where the temperature was -8 and the wind coming out of the north the system froze in a room with little insulation.

The fix was something we had been talking about but had put off thinking the antifreeze was the answer.  We rerouted the circulation to a shorter loop that no longer went to the outer room.  In the long run this appears to have been the best solution, now the heat works much better in the kitchen. Unfortunately it took a lot of worry and angst to get us here.  Now I can check that off of the list.

Here’s the thing, it’s always something.  Each and every week there is some disaster (or impending one) whether it’s winter or any other season of the year.  We are caretakers of two very old houses (the newest one being 175 years old).  Things happen, and they happen regularly.  We signed on to the old house thing a long time ago knowing what we were getting ourselves into.  Plans are made for major repairs but it’s this sort of thing that often supercedes those renovation plans.  You end up doing a lot of seemingly little things because of the immediacy of the situation.

Spring is coming.  Really, it will get here and I have a feeling it will be about two weeks long and we’ll be into summer.  Then we can complain about how hot it is and I’ll be thinking about that insulation that needs to go into all those places before next winter gets here.


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