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Polar vortex burst my PEX

Skill level skill3

The voice on the other end of the line said, “Uh, Mr. Pardun? This is Security.” Conversations that start out like that generally do not bring good news.

“Your water pipes have sprung a leak. We’ve shut off the water to your house.”

It was cold last week. Really cold. The polar vortex swirled down out of Canada, through the Midwest and Northeast, and froze the pipes of our beach house all the way down in coastal South Carolina. That just ain’t right.

Total exposure

Beach houses in our area are built on top of large poles to keep them above any storm surge caused by a hurricane. This means that the main water line runs totally exposed from the ground up 10 feet to the house itself. If this isn’t a prime target for freezing, I don’t know what is.

When we arrived at the house, I asked my ever-loving wife, “Molly” (not her real name),  to watch the pipes while I turned the water main back on. It’s not that I wanted her to be the one to get sprayed, of course, but I had to be the one to kneel down in the dirt to turn the valve. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

When I turned on the main, the water sprayed out of the pipe feeding the outdoor shower in Molly’s general direction a few feet away from the main water supply pipe and not the main pipe itself. This was excellent news. We could easily turn off the shower shutoff without turning off the water to the whole house.

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