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February 20, 2015


We've found the dual control heated mattress pad to be a life-changing invention. It is seriously the best piece of technology I've ever purchased. You can find one here. I don't really need it but my spouse absolutely adores it and I make a habit to turn her side on about 20 minutes before bedtime.

It says something about the radical difference in our climates that my first reaction was: "You left the water running?!?!? All night?!?!?"

Because when you are having a multi-year drought, that kind of water use is a very serious no-no. (But I know from my youth -- we had our own well -- that it *is* the sovereign treatment for freezing water pipes.)

My first thought about that picture too was: 'Oh, an Old One got frozen' ;-)

One of my worst nights was searching for the frozen spot, finding it, applying hair dryer, then racing to turn off the water as the ice had split the pipe. I'm good at sweating a copper pipe, but location, temperature and general foul mood made that repair one of my least favorite ever. Sorry for your long day.

Rastafarian Lighthouse was my first thought

Here's hoping that the pipe will unfreeze in the warmth

Here's hoping the pipes are OK, if you're leaving them unattended! Or you'll have a swimming pool in your new kitchen. Feature!

Fond memory from my childhood was when the pipes connecting the house to the mains supply froze and cracked. Digging up the yard to find where was an interesting exercise.

We've found the dual control heated mattress pad to be a life-changing invention.

indeed, indeed.

we do the dual-zone heating pad thing, too. turn it on about 10 mins before we get into bed and.... perfect. no more icy sheets.

Rastafarian Lighthouse was my first thought.

I see the Death of Rastafarian Lighthouses; note the scythe. (ht Terry Pratchett)

wj - the idea isn't to have them on at full blast; just a little trickle will do.

I moved into my townhouse back in the late 90s. The first time after that when Seattle temps dropped into the teens, we were told to make sure to leave the cabinet under the kitchen sink open, and to leave faucets running a tiny bit. (Leaving the cabinet open lets the warm house air keep the sink pipe from freezing.)

I was surprised when I first discovered a heating register in my crawl space. As it turns out, it has saved us a bunch of grief.

Isn't Cthulhu sort of cranky by definition?

icicle hanging from the faucet is always a bad sign.

spent the morning and afternoon climbing around the roof and various ladders with an axe and tube socks full of ice melt.

we're not all the way to cthulhu lighthouse yet, but we're on our way.

i did manage to wreck a hose tap on the outside of the house. turned it on and torrents of water shot out from behind the siding. second time i've done that. someday i'll learn to take that hose off the tap before December.

Over here in Germany spring seems to have come early already for several days now. Up to +12°C and sunshine.

Same for Arizona. We haven't had winter this winter. On Thursday I turned my garden and sifted the dirt.

Here in sunny California opened all doors and windows by noon. Tilling garden today. Things started blooming a couple weeks ago and my lady saying we should have our garden planted already. I'm thinking we should skip our amateur efforts and conserve water for the desperate almond growers. I must have taken a nap and missed winter.

The forecast for north central Texas is freezing rain, Monday. :(

We had record low temperatures in Tamps yesterday, 35F. So I'm not one to complain.

The hair-dryer thing is cute, but you're not taking this Provided Clue seriously.

You can buy thermostatically-controlled pipe-heater cable from Home Depot, Ace, Amazon, etc. It costs far less in money and hassle than another incident of frozen pipes might.

You've been fooled once by unexpected cold snap.

Don't get fooled again.

(If the climate continues on this pattern, you may become acquainted with plug-in heaters for car engines)

tonyp asked me to post this image, which I did, because we are a full service shop.

Years and years ago, an enclosed porch was used to store a case of diet coke in winter, when the temperature suddenly dropped to negative.

The distorted coke can? All of that case, except the ones that exploded. Frozen coke on the porch ceiling, and walls, that's how violent it was.

Learned the lesson.

My thanks to LJ for posting the picture, which might well be captioned
"The smallest and most trivial casualty of the 2015 cold snap".

Both cans were in a 12-pack that stayed in the trunk of my car for a few days. The bulgy one (still sealed) was the only one of the dozen that showed any sign of damage. A curious thing.


The hair-dryer thing is cute

I want one of these.

The words "jet throttle" just give me a warm feeling inside.

via good old xkcd.


See also "frost heaving".

I want ["Snowzilla"], a giant railcar leafblower ]

Feh. Suitable for trifling accumulations, a white blanket for hobbit toes.

In the Sierra in a good year, overnight snowfall is over three feet on ten or twelve nights in a winter.

Set your thumpers for an old grandfather Maker



I'm moving from N. California back to winter in N. Iowa over the next few years.

I want this in my garage:


We've found the dual control heated mattress pad to be a life-changing invention.

We've got one. It's very, very nice. When I was sick, I had to keep it dialed up to high all of the time, but I normally sleep with it on the 2 or 3 setting.

Your mileage will vary quite a bit, depending on what kind of bedding and covers you have.

Because when you are having a multi-year drought, that kind of water use is a very serious no-no

Probably more water is wasted when the pipes burst and flood your basement, though.

I too have had the hose-bib thing happen. Twice. We have self-draining stopcocks, but if you forget and leave the hose attached, they're not going to drain, and then they freeze and burst.

So now we have quick-disconnect hoses.

No doubt it is. But if you have lots, that's a very localized problem. If there isn't enough already, any water loss is going to hit everyone else as well.

Gleep. Snorg. Fundopickle.

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