Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I had thought that the reason my lair has no running water since the Big Freeze was because of a patch of pipe I foolishly left unburied, after digging it up a few months ago for a new junction. Laziness, like stupidity, brings its own reward. However earlier today it became clear that this was not the case; I warmed that pipe until lead would have melted in it, let alone water. But still no water flowed.

So I went back and did what I should have been doing in the first place. Last winter the outflow pipe on the cistern froze, and left us without water for days until my landlord and I dug it up and wrapped it with heat tape and insulation, then built an insulated box over it. Well, I reasoned, if that was where the water froze again clearly all that insulation was of little value, but there was still the heat tape. Now, heat tape takes electricity and lots of it, more than the system can provide during a winter night. So I can only run it during the day, but that's okay; several hours of it should thaw the pipe, if indeed the pipe is frozen.

And sure enough! About three hours after I plugged it in, my kitchen faucet began to trickle. It trickled for maybe ten minutes, and then it began to flow. Running water again! Happy day!

Now I must remember to let the water drip, so that there will always be a little flow. And on cold mornings, after the solar panels start to produce, I'll plug in that heat tape. Also I've already reburied that section of pipe, just in case.

Winter habits will return. And I'll start getting them all right, just in time for spring.

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