#AtoZChallenge | A is for Arctic Blast and Frozen Pipes

Arctic Blast has such a great ring to it. It sounds like something refreshing and fun that might even taste a little minty in your mouth but it’s not quite as nice as it sounds.

What is an Arctic Blast? “The word arctic describes frigid and inhospitable weather.”1  We do get extreme low temperatures in Maine from time to time during the winter and our cold snaps can be intense. We started the new year with a record setting January 1st when temperatures dropped to 17 degrees below zero beating the previous record of minus 12 which was set in 1957.2

When temperatures get that low, you need to be prepared. Pipes can freeze. Before we renovated our house, our basement wasn’t well insulated and there was one pipe close to an exterior wall in the far back corner that would freeze semi-regularly. I spent many hours moving a blow dryer set on high back and forth across the frozen pipe coaxing it back from the brink.

We were only up on weekends in those days and would set the heat lower during the week while we were away which further aggravated the issue. We insulated the pipe as much as possible but continued to have intermittent problems although thankfully it never resulted in a burst pipe.

My Dad also rigged a thermostat for us that would turn on a light bulb to heat the pipe when the temperatures dropped below a certain point. It was something that would have made McGuyver proud although I was convinced the jerry-rigged contraption was a fire hazard. My Dad assured me that it was not and the pipe did freeze far less often.

I wouldn’t recommend this temperature controlled light bulb method as the best solution to anyone struggling with frozen pipes. The other thing that we tried was leaving a faucet running.  It only has to be a light trickle or even a drip. Moving water is less likely to freeze and it reduces pressure in the pipes. We left many a drippy faucet when we were having freezing issues and it did seem to help along with Dad’s unique heated bulb solution.

Winter in Maine is cold although every now and then there will be that random day or two where the temperatures inch up and it can even feel balmy.  Those days are a welcome surprise and help re-energize you before the next arctic blast.

Arctic blasts don’t bother me. It just mean a little less time spent outside and more time snuggling by the fireplace, at least as long as our pipes aren’t freezing.

Since it’s hard to get a picture that visually shows an arctic blast, I’ve including winter beach scenes instead. Even when the temperatures drop below zero, the winter views are still beautiful.

How cold does it get where you live?

1Arctic – Dictionary Definition. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2018, from https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/arctic

2Yes, it’s getting warmer; but a nor’easter and another arctic blast are coming. (2018, January 03). Retrieved March 24, 2018, from http://www.sunjournal.com/sure-its-getting-warmer-but-a-snowstorm-and-another-arctic-blast-are-coming/

I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2018. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Winters in Maine. To read more of my A to Z posts, click HERE.

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38 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge | A is for Arctic Blast and Frozen Pipes

  1. Lulu says:

    What a winter! Our pipes didn’t freeze but part of the heating system in the Maine house went out which left the temperature in a coup,e of rooms in the 40”s. Not fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      Wow – that’s scary. I’m glad you didn’t have any issues with pipes freezing. When we were only up in Maine on weekends, that was always one of my worries that something would happen at the house but we wouldn’t be there to deal with it right away. Now there are some great ways you can monitor things remotely which can help let you know when there are issues.


  2. leannelc says:

    This is SO different to Australia – we have such mild weather in comparison – it rarely drops to single figures (in Celsius) and never near 0 degrees or below. I always admire people who have adapted to such extreme weather conditions and consider it normal – it would be such a challenge!

    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au
    A for Avoid Negativity

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I think you get used to whatever the conditions are where you live. Cold, snowy winters are what I’m use to in Maine. There was a period where I didn’t like it as much, but then I just embraced it and now I love it. Sounds like you have nice weather where you are in Australia. I could do with a few less 0 degrees or below days myself.


  3. dyannedillon says:

    Your dad sounds a LOT like mine. He would rig something up just like your dad did with the lightbulb.
    I think one of your Arctic blasts got away and came down to the Ozarks to visit, because we have ICE in the forecast today. Fortunately, the ground is pretty warm now and it shouldn’t cause any harm, but the tulips and forsythia and other flowers and trees are NOT going to look very happy in their ice bath!
    Glad to see you at the A to Z again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I’m so glad you’re doing the A to Z again this year! I can’t wait to see how you fare with your Pinterest challenges.

      It’s so great to have creative Dads. Mine has helped us out in so many situations. He’s a problem solver that’s for sure.

      Sorry to hear you have ice in the forecast. The great thing about nasty spring weather is it doesn’t stay around for long.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. scr4pl80 says:

    I’m in California too so my cold is maybe 30? Nice start to the A to Z and I’ll be looking forward to reading more about Maine. The pictures are great! Don’t you have a huge water bill if you left your water running?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      We are on a well, so no water bills and it was only the slowest of drips. I suppose though that could be an issue for some.

      California is beautiful and definitely warmer than Maine in the winter. In addition to my San Diego trip, I went to California for three weeks after I graduated from College. We drove up the Pacific Coast Highway. So many beautiful spots.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Donna B. McNicol [@dbmcnicol] says:

    I grew up in New England but we were always home year round. I don’t remember having any pipe issues but then again, I was a child. When we moved to Ecuador for two years, we had to winterize our RV (41′ fifth wheel trailer) to keep things from freezing and fortunately, we had no issues.

    Living full-time in our RV for ten years, except for the two in Ecuador, we traveled to where it was warm and never had to worry. Now that we own a house in middle TN, we are back to thinking about what has to be winterized. It was colder than normal this winter. Brrrr….

    Donna B McNicol, author & traveler
    Romance & Mystery…writing my life
    A-Z Flash Fiction Tales: http://dbmcnicol.blogspot.com
    A-Z of Goldendoodles: http://ourprimeyears.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alana Mautone (@RamblinGarden) says:

    I am from New York City, and have lived the past 30 years plus in New York State near the Pennsylvania border – about 30 miles from the snowbelt. My personal record is -15 but we normally don’t get quite that cold. I was in Central Florida in January, though, when they got a frost, and that weather challenged them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      Yes, when they get rogue weather in the south it’s challenging as they’re not equipped to deal with it. We’re use to that type of weather up north. -15 is cold. Sounds like an arctic chill to me.


  7. Tamara says:

    That sounds scary, but I guess you get used to it and deal with it the best you can.
    I think Diane Keaton’s character in “Baby Boom” hat similar challenges when she moved into an old house in Vermont.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Liz A. says:

    I have heard the term artic blast, and I know it’s not a good thing. Although, when we get such things, it’s not nearly as bad as for you. Interesting ways to keep the pipe from bursting.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. sizzlesue15 says:

    Oh my goodness I can’t imagine cold like that as I live in Brisbane, Australia. Artic blast does sound freezing!!! We did take a cruise through Nova Scotia at the end of October and it was quite cold then but no snow. I’ve been to Boston and loved it but never quite made it to Maine. It is definitely a place I would love to visit but perhaps in the Spring or Fall (for the colours).
    Sue – http://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au
    A is for an Ageless Attitude

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      Marine snow creatures sound perfect by the beach. Some winter, I’d like to make an ice fishing family snow creation out on the lake. It’s fun to get creative with snow”men”. Spring is arriving quickly now here too now.


  10. M.J. Fifield says:

    I grew up in southern Maine and lived for a while in northern New Hampshire, so I’m no stranger to arctic blasts or frozen pipes (that was one cold, wet winter…).

    I live in Florida now and laugh whenever the weather man says it’s going to be a “cold one.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      There are lots of former Mainers down in Florida. My parents are there in the winter so I’ve visited a lot. “Cold One” certainly means something different in Florida than it does in Maine.


  11. Melanie Crouse says:

    Another Mainer and A-Z Challenger! I’m so glad I found you. Last year we redid our kitchen, and we added a layer of insulation in the ceiling in the hopes that our upstairs bathroom shower pipes would stop freezing. It helped a little, but we still spent a good week or two with pipes frozen solid. They have never burst though, (knock on wood!).
    Good luck with the challenge! Melanie’s Stories

    Liked by 1 person

  12. momsmethods says:

    I have not seen snow yet nor experienced really cold weather.. I have family living in Canada and I always tell them how lucky they are to have snow and they keep telling me that its not easy living in such low temperatures

    Liked by 1 person

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