Furnaces only last 15 years?


I’ve been in this house for 13 years, and the furnace was old when I moved IN. Not sure how old, though. My water heater has an inspection sticker from 1995, so it’s at least 18 years old. But at $4000 for the furnace, it won’t replaced for a WHILE…

It has been mandated this week that everyone in our areas


(northern Michigan) keep one faucet dripping at all times with a stream of water the size of a pencil eraser, and the water must be warm. I’d always thought a drip was sufficient, and hadn’t any idea that the water needed to be warm, either. Those with a well (such as ourselves) need to keep the faucet the furthest from the well streaming continously at this time. I just thought this was interesting and informative info to have on hand. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this problem. I’ve dealt with broken/frozen pipes before, and it was very expensive to deal with (vacant home with extensive water damage).

One hint on keeping water pipes from freezing in cold weather


– open each tap enough for a thin stream of water to come out, and let that run all night long. For those combination hot/cold faucets, open up both sides enough that a little water is flowing through both sides. Since it’s difficult (and annoying) to have the toilet running all night, drink a lot of water right before bed so that you have a compelling reason to get up in the night to pee and flush. And if water lines are coming into the house along an outside wall, contained within a cabinet, open the cabinet doors before bed so that warm interior air can circulate within that compartment so those lines don’t freeze. I don’t have any sneaky hints for the washing machine lines; wish I did. And finally, if lines do start to freeze, get a heat lamp shining on them ASAP. Even 30min of that can often free up the lines before they freeze enough to burst the lines. Letting those blocked lines stay blocked, only allows more and more water in the line to freeze, thus taking longer to free up later.
If copper water lines do freeze and burst, and you can reach them, there’s a very easy way to fix them. A small brass widget called a compression fitting, can be used to replace the burst section of line. Any hardware store worth the name will know what a compression fitting is. Go to the hardware store with a sample of your plumbing tubing (to check for size), and they’ll be able to get you a compression fitting that will fit, along with a pipe cutter that will allow you to splice it into place. All told, that repair should cost less than $10 for a pipe cutter and compression fitting, then perhaps a few more dollars for each additional fitting.
These lessons (and more) have been very patiently but thoroughly given to us over the years, courtesy of our nearly 100 year old farmhouse. If anyone needs more detailed information, email me offlist. We spent the first 10 winters here with our lines frozen at least a few days each winter. This winter is hopefully (knock on wood) our first without a single line break. Hope everyone is able to stay warm tonight…….

We have a three year old

electric heater

so it makes everything a bit more anxiety inducing for me…and keeps me away from some of the alternative heat sources, for safety sake. :). We did spend some time playing in the basement today and our tiny electric heater kept us warm, and served the dual purpose of warming up the area that has a lot Of our pipes as well!