Frozen pipe turns into one unhappy disaster


By Cindy Beamon

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

When I arrived home, water was cascading from our ceiling.

The rabbit we were babysitting for my daughter was drenched. It sat in wet bedding surrounded by about an inch of water that pooled in the bottom of the cage.

I didn't know what to do first — rescue the rabbit, spread towels on the floor, call my husband to find out how to stop the flow. Everything needed to be done at once, all at once.

The recent winter storm was the culprit. Single-digit temperatures had caused one of our pipes to freeze, like at other places across our area. We didn't detect the problem until after the weather warmed and things began to thaw.

Luckily for the rabbit, the leak was emptying the hot water heater, so the water was warm. Wet fur was the least of our troubles. We spent a long night sopping up the mess with towels and a wet vacuum. 

The next day, I heard reports of frozen pipes everywhere.

At work, a sign on the door read "bathroom closed." Problems with the plumbing.

Shortly afterward, I learned our church sanctuary, foyer and bathrooms were flooded, the result of a frozen pipe. The carpet and furniture were ruined.

I’ve always heard that bad luck comes in threes.

The leak was just the beginning of our bad news. A mediator for the insurance company told us we needed to pull up our rugs and wood floor to prevent rot and mold from invading. I had no problem with the rugs; they needed replacing. The wood floor was different.

Bob found the white ash planks on sale after a hurricane had flooded a warehouse. He bought them for a bargain price, figuring he could salvage enough to install the floors in what-was-then our new house about 12 years ago. Bob had not put down wood floors before, but he taught himself with a little trial and error and more time than we thought the job would take.

The end result was worth it. The floor turned out beautifully, and it became a testimony to what hard work and some penny pinching could accomplish.

Now we have to pull up those boards with "diamond strength" finish that I imagined would last a lifetime. I am still having a hard time believing that we should.

Cindy Beamon is editor of the Albemarle Life section of The Daily Advance