We don’t often get hard freeze warnings in East Alabama, but when we do, we load up on milk and bread. We also drain the water heater and all the pipes in older
homes. My house was built in 2009, so it’s not really a factor. The house we live in now is relatively old, but we keep it warm and leave a pencil-thin stream of water running in the kitchen sink when the temps dip into the twenties. The home place, however, was built well over a century ago.
The well is a couple of hundred feet from the house, and the water heater is actually under the house. Please note that I called it a water heater and not a hot water heater.
I’ve drained the pipes there a time or two, so I thought I was doing everything right. I did have an issue with my hot water, though. I didn’t have any. It was lukewarm at best. There’s nothing worse than lukewarm water, except for maybe busted pipes.
After draining everything that I thought needed draining and flipping the breaker to the well pump, I thought I was good to go. I assumed my worries were over, but they weren’t. They were just beginning.
I left the water off for almost a week but was ignorant to the fact that I should have flipped the breaker to the water heater, too. I did the same thing last month, which explains the lukewarm water. The heating elements quite literally burned up because they weren’t submerged in water.
In the past, when I’d restart the well pump, I could hear the water a’huffin’ and a’puffin’ as it made its way through the pipes. This time, I heard nothing. It was dead silence, much like Bama fans after this past Iron Bowl. I looked under the house to see if there were any busted pipes but didn’t see any water spewing.
I decided to call a guy named Terry.
I can’t recall the details, but last year, my mother-in-law needed someone to do something with her gas line and gas logs. She checked with several higher profile companies who all wanted to charge her an arm and a leg, along with a couple of thousand dollars. Someone recommended Terrry. He did the work for a fraction of the cost of the other guys. He didn’t know about my connection to her, and she didn’t know anything about him. But, I did. He’s my first cousin, once removed. I think we’re cousins on both sides of the family. That’s country.
Terry put in the well pump at the home place years ago, so he knew what I was dealing with. He and Steve, another cousin, were already working when I got there. There were no busted pipes under the house, and the pump was pumping. We found ourselves perplexed until Steve noticed the water coming out of another shed. He found the busted pipe, and it was a muddy mess.
They repaired that pipe, so we thought we were good to go, but after flipping the switch, water began to flow from underneath the house. It was coming from the pipe connected to the hose going to the sink. The pipe didn’t bust, but it popped off the piece it was connected to. Steve got the job done, but there was no joy in Mudville.
We thought we were good to go, but we were wrong once again. It was literally freezing in the kitchen during the hard freeze. A bottle of water on the counter had frozen. This time, the hose to the dishwasher popped off, so there was water flowing all over the floor. It was a mess, but Terry and Steve got the job done. I keep a heater on in another room but keep that door closed when I’m not there. The kitchen needs heat, too. Lesson learned.
I learned a lot and think I can likely do basic repairs myself next time, if and when that day comes.
This isn’t an advertisement for Terry. It’s just a testimony for the good work he does and the way he does it. It seems that most folks these days just want to rip people off and make all the money they can. He does the job and does it well. Most importantly, he does it with integrity.
The next day, it was 69 degrees. You have to love this Alabama weather.