January 16, 2013

pipes can freeze?

Before I embarrass myself, let me start out by informing everyone that I am a California girl. I am used to warm temperatures, I can maneuver traffic on the five like no ones business, and the snow is super foreign to me. I did spend two years in Idaho for school but when I was living here, I was living in a dorm/campus apartment style house. I turned on the heat when it was cold and turned on the air when I was hot. I didn't have to think about pipes and stuff like that. 

I am not dumb. I swear. I know that this whole thing probably makes me sound very naive, but there are so many factors that go into having your own home in a different climate! 

It's been ridiculously cold in Idaho lately. I'm talking waking up to zero degree mornings and having it be twelve degrees at the warmest part of the day. Maybe some people are used to that, but not me. When I left for California in mid December it was cold, but not super cold. It was a normal chilly winter. Ain't no thang, right?


I got a call three days before I left to come back to Idaho from my boss saying, "Hey. So I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?" Bad news, obviously. You always want the bad news first so that the good news smoothes it over and leaves you hopeful. Well, she just decided to tell me the good news first totally throwing off my system! "Good news is you're getting a new kitchen in the house. Bad news is that a pipe in the kitchen burst." After talking for a little while she asked, "Did you leave the heat on when you left?"

Leave the heat on? Yeah right. I know better than that! Turn off the heat! Go green. Save money and energy! A heater left on in an old empty house could start a fire or something, right? 

Wrong again Jess.

Because of my naive California ways, I thought I was doing something so smart and helpful by turning off the heater before I left, when in reality, I was setting this old house up for failure. The couple weeks while I was gone in California happened to be some of the coldest that this area has seen in a long time. This house is old, the pipes are old, andddd those old little pipes just decided to freeze, explore, flood, and refreeze. Real mature of them if you ask me. 


There you have it. The picture on the left is the basement which is directly below the kitchen. It looks much worse than it actually is. There's damage to the ceiling and the electrical outlets, plus I need to make sure that the espresso machine is still in working order. They decided to rip out the carpet because it was damaged from the water, but that's something I wanted to do already.

The picture on the right is the kitchen. I took this after they removed all the appliances and ripped out the flooring. The kitchen needs a new sink and a new floor, there was a tiny bit of damage to the cupboards so they are trying to see if those will need to be replaced as well. I sure as heck hope so, the people who lived here a couple years prior painted them red and brown. I am not a fan of them. They've been on my to do list as well, so I wouldn't be disappointed to see them go. 

The university I work for has been talking about doing some renovation in this house for a while, so I just expedited the process, right? I'm so lucky to work for a place so understanding and gracious with me when I make naive mistakes like turning the heat off in the dead of winter for two weeks. 

Lesson learned. Pipes can freeze. Fifty five keeps people alive... and houses



  1. Yikes. I probably would have done the same thing!

    1. Right? That's why I don't feel horrible, I mean I feel bad that the house is damaged, but I also realize that so many people would have done the same thing! Whoopsies!

  2. I live in Florida so my idea of "cold" is anything under 68F. I probably wouldn't be able to function in 30 degree weather, let alone 12F. So I totally would have done the same thing, except because it's me, my whole house would have frozen solid and just crumbled to the ground.


    1. I never thought I could handle this weather, but I'm totally surprising myself with my newfound ability to drive in the snow and wear cold weather clothes!

  3. Oh no! That's horrible! At least you get a new kitchen : ) Did your pipes never freeze in Korea? Ours did in our school all the time (probably because our bathroom was outside...smart)

    1. It's funny how Korea, a very cold country in the winter, does things like building school bathroom outside. Not the smartest move! My pipes never froze in Korea, thank goodness! I can't imagine dealing with that in a country where no one could understand me!


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