I’m sure at this point, we’re all feeling the pinch of our most recent utility bills. MidAmerican Energy warned customers of high prices this fall, but it didn’t do much to lessen the blow of a bill 85% higher than previous months.
As first-time homeowners, my partner and I thought we were being savvy by keeping our thermostat at a comfortable 64 degrees, but we quickly learned that this decision put us at even greater financial risk.
Frozen pipes can happen when the outside temperature drops below 20 degrees, and are most commonly caused by quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low.
Phone calls to parents and google searches for “how to unthaw frozen pipes” confirmed that we needed to call a plumber. On a holiday weekend. I placed a phone call to an emergency line, got in contact with our HOA, cranked the thermostat, then opened all the cabinets under sinks, turned faucets to drip, and sent my husband to buy a space heater as I took my hairdryer to one sink’s water lines, hoping to prevent an even bigger problem.
More than 24 hours passed before I heard the faucets burst back to life. While it was a huge relief to once again have water running in all the right places, now we faced the anxiety of increased expenses from utilities used to unthaw our pipes.
Our first homeowner emergency could have been so much worse, and we’re thankful that our issue was resolved (relatively) inexpensively, but thinking about what could have happened… just made me think of our neighbors who face this same feeling on a regular basis.
When it comes down to it, heating and cooling our homes is more than just for comfort. The extreme temperatures we face in the winter can cause frozen pipes, furnace failure, hypothermia, frostbite, illness, and even death. We can help prevent crisis by showing our community we’re here for each other.
By Julia Winter
Director of Development
To learn more about Housing and Utility Assistance, or other Basic Needs services, please visit builtbycommunity.org/basicneeds.
It feels good to do good. You can help keep our neighbors safe and warm this winter with a gift to CommUnity’s Warm Hearts, Warm Homes fundraiser. To give, visit builtbycommunity.org/donate.