Frozen image

5 lessons learned from a frozen pipe

5 Lesson from a frozen pipeAs you may have seen on the news, London has had a spell of cold weather. Those in Canada and Minnesota may laugh, but us Brits don’t know how to cope with the cold and snow. Never mind the infrastructure of our country, which is rapidly disintegrating in the snow. We have roads closed, trains cancelled and people trapped in their cars all night. To keep our spirits up we build and photograph snowmen, and share photos of our pets in the snow. Anyway this post is a tale of resilience and determination and keeping on going. And how lessons learned in the everyday world are directly transferable to the personal finance world. The traits that helped me deal with this minor emergency, are also those that are driving my journey to financial independence.

Frozen Pipe Saga

On day four of the big freeze, I was taking a snow sanctioned working from home day. All was well, I ate my porridge and the heating was on. As I made my second coffee before starting work, I noticed something strange.  Some sinks were not emptying. I thought it would just be the cold, so ignored it. Then logged on and started working. I noticed it was getting colder, and kept working. Then the cold hit me. The heating had broken, on one of the coldest days of the year. Realising the boiler was plumbed into the same outlet as the broken sink, I hoped and prayed that this blockage was the issue.

Operation unfreeze pipe them commenced. I have no real plumbing skills (I un-blocked a sink once, it was gross). I still recall the day in uni when a lecturer asked our class to draw a household plumbing system. None of us could.  I like the think now I could at least give it a go. Anyway I put the kettle on, as I googled how to sort this, and prayed I did not need a plumber. Google delivered as usual, and I learned the cure is a hot water bottle and lots of hot water. I boiled up pots of hot water, then flung them over the outlet pipe. The outlet pipe got a hot water bottle when batches of the water were boiling.

Lesson 1 – #donotdelay

The first lesson that I learned, was a mistake I made. I delayed investigating and sorting the sinks, which caused the heating to go off. Afterwards I was chastising myself, realising I could have sorted the issue much quicker. Not to mention, I wouldn’t have been as cold. Lesson learned from that mistake.

Also, I had a last minute application to proofread and submit for a volunteer role. I would love this role, and had been debating applying to it for a while. But it is a stretch, and a bit of a long shot. So I kept procrastinating up to the last minute, when I had decided to take action and throw my hat into the ring. My late decision caused this to be a stressed and brief proofread, after dealing with the pipe saga. Lessons learned here, I will try not to procrastinate as much.

#donotdelay In the Personal Finance World

When it comes to retirement savings and long term investments, compound interest is your friend. Don’t delay starting to put money by for retirement. Future you will be eternally grateful to present you. Dumpster Dog has a great post on this theme – Save now, Party Later.

Lesson 2 – #ingenuity

So here I am, getting a bit chilly and boiling water to defrost the pipes. I was using the biggest pot I have, and my pipe now had four hot water bottles along it’s length. After doing round one with the pot, I realised I was wasting the water that ran off. It was still warm, and could be used again. Thus I levelled up my game, and brought out pot 2. Pot 2 was placed underneath to catch the run off, and allowed the water to be reused many times between the two pots.

What were the lessons learned here? Do something once then evaluate. Is there a better way to do this? Can I make any tweaks that will get me better results? In this case recycling the water was a simple win. With a minimal bit of additional effort, I got much more value of the resource, in this case hot water.

#ingenuity In the Personal Finance World

The world is complex, and thus there is not always one way to do things. I’m always impressed with the ingenious hacks personal finance bloggers come up with. They aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo, and look at things differently. Whether it is productivity, time or money hacks they are always inventive and interesting to read about. As an example I like this Twocuphouse post on house hacking.

Lesson 3 – #selfsufficient

By self sufficient, I mean you need to be able to cope when things go off plan. Despite having no serious plumbing knowledge, I was confident I could have a go at sorting the problem. We have been brought up in a society that teaches us to outsource, and suggests certain segments of the population can’t do certain things. This is bunk. Simple home repairs are easy, and youtube is your bible. By insourcing repairs such as this, you can save yourself time and money. Lessons learned here, insource and do-it-yourself. Even if you don’t currently have the skills, you can get them quickly. And what better than someone available immediately to do your repair for free?

#selfsufficient In the Personal Finance World

When it comes to finances, you can DIY. You can manage your own financial plans and investments, and save yourself the fees you would pay a financial advisor. Here is RogueDadMD’s tales of breaking up with his financial advisor.

Lesson 4 – #donotpanic

Half an hour after discovered the frozen pipe, I had to chair a conference call. People seemed concerned that I labeled my frozen pipe and no heating a minor issue?? They seemed even more concerned that I wanted to press on with the meeting, I don’t want my minor inconvenience to derail the project.  And a mute button makes conference calls a perfect multi-tasking opportunity. Lessons learned here, that keeping calm is the way forward. Calmness alongside taking action is the winning formula for any unexpected issues and challenges life throws at you.

#donotpanic In the Personal Finance World

And the January stock market “crash” is a timely example of this. The market long term trends upwards, but there will be extreme volatility along the way. You need to get comfortable with the risk, and make sure you are in for the long haul. Once you’ve got these under control, do not panic if the market goes down. This is expected behaviour. And you must remember, it’s only a real loss when you sell and crystallize it. Paper losses turn to paper gains with time. I love SunshineYourGreens take on it in Market Timing – A Fools Game.

Lesson 5 – #resilience

The frozen pipe didn’t defrost immediately, and I had no way of knowing if I was really making any progress. It was disheartening to keep boiling water, and not see any immediate progress. But as water takes time to boil, water takes times to defrost and unfreeze as well.  I knew this may be a long game I was playing. Inside the temperature was dropping, but I knew I needed to keep on trucking, and not get derailed off the plan. Lessons learned here, are to simply keep on going. Sometimes things take time, and you need to have confidence in the approach you have chosen and the plan, then stick to them. In this case I knew hot water defrosts frozen pipes, I just needed to wait for the action to happen.

#resilience In the Personal Finance World

Life always throws you curveballs alongside more pleasant serendipitous surprises. What differentiates us is how we deal with impacts that we can’t control. If you expect the unexpected then you are ready to react when that curveball comes your way. You accept things happen, make plans to overcome them and then re-adjust long term plans if needed. Freetopursue takes it one step further in Could you Make it on Mars?

Operation Unfreeze Pipe Success

I’m pleased to tell you all the pipe did defrost in a few hours. Then I got the heating back on, and got back to work. Later reflecting on this mishap, I was impressed. I got it fixed myself, for free in a few hours. And got to work on my resilience muscle, overcoming some temporary hardships. And then it dawned on me, these lessons learned are the skills that are getting me to financial independence. 

Over to you

  • Are you laughing the snow drama in the UK?
  • Ever had a frozen pipe?
  • Have you had similar situations where the lessons and skills transfer to persona finance?

This post is shared as Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays hosted by BrokeGirlRich #finsavsat

Disease Called Debt

11 comments on “5 lessons learned from a frozen pipe

    1. Hey FF, I’ve got every confidence you’d be able to do DIY …. it’s a myth they’ve been peddling us for years that it’s really hard, so hard you need an experienced man to do it. Bring out your inner Rosie the Riveter. She rocked.

  1. Lessons you can apply to finance are everywhere! You did a great job handling the frozen pipe. It’s so much easier to be more self-sufficient these days thanks to the internet. Assuming you don’t buy into the brainwashing that you need to outsource most things.

  2. Well done on sorting out your frozen pipe! My boiler broke down during that cold week in Feb and I was without heating for 3 days – although I did go at the boiler with a screwdriver (which has worked in the past), this time, it needed an expert to fit a new circuit board. Fortunately, I have boiler cover but it was 3 days before the engineer could attend.

    It’s been a while since I had a frozen pipe but instead of using hot water bottles, I used a hair drier which did the trick!

    1. Hi Weenie, you are badass, coping without a boiler for 3 days in this weather. Take a bow. And yes, attacking it with a screwdriver is completely normal. Can’t believe they took 3 days to come, why have boiler cover then?

      I’ve heard of the hairdryer technique as well, sadly I couldn’t use it as it was an outdoor pipe. I love the fact you’ve already had this experience and sorted it yourself.

  3. Job well done, both in defrosting the pipe and in finding the personal finance lessons in it! Do-it-yourself is the way to go. Not too long ago we had a leak…and I am not a handy person…but with the internet at my side, I was able to diagnose the cause and fix it myself.

  4. Great post. I think the best lesson learnt is to not delay. I had a problem with my vans ignition barrel but just limped along as I could still work it with a bit of fiddling about. Big mistake. It failed completely a few weeks later and probably cost me four times as much to fix than it would have done if I had sorted it straight away.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting FuMonChu. I agree, do not delay is the best lesson, and I one I need to apply more. Hope you’ve got your van sorted now, and it didn’t cost you too much extra?

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