I never had this problem when I lived in Africa. In Sudan, we were lucky to get water at all and in Kenya, the compound had invested in huge water tanks to protect from water cuts. In no place that I’ve lived did it ever freeze, so frozen taps were not a consideration. Now, I had to think what to do.
First, I contacted my neighbors to find out if they had water. Perhaps I was not the only one, and misery loves company. However, they all had water. I alone was without.
Next I tried to find the number of the water company, but I needed the emergency number, and that was nowhere to be found. So, I got online, and sure enough, there was a place to report an outage. I reported.
My neighbor suggested that I get some old towels or blankets and put around the meter and pipes to warm them up. It was about 15°F out there, and I couldn’t really see that blankets were going to help. But, I found some old sheets and after throwing on some warm clothes, headed out to put them down the hole where the meter was. Much to my amazement, within 15 minutes of my reporting the outage, the water repair people were on the job. They had the lid off and were studying the situation.
Their solution was interesting to say the least. They took a “sacrificial” rag, put alcohol on it and set it alight in the hole. One had a fireproof glove, so he moved the burning rag around to warm up the pipes. He sent me in to turn on the water and then report when water started flowing. It didn’t take long. I asked if this was one of those “don’t try this at home” tricks, and they assured me it was.
They explained the freeze up should never have happened. Apparently the connection on the water company’s side of the meter was poorly done. He said he would report it because it should be repaired properly. I don’t think he used that term, however. I asked what I should do until then, and he said, “Run water”.
So, I’ve washed clothes, washed dishes, washed me and left the tap running at night until the temperatures rose. Ben and I are even more grateful than ever for warmer weather in the forecast!