The good news is that the pipe in the ceiling of the laundry room burst while we were awake and right above it in the kitchen. If we had been asleep, or even just upstairs, it would have been much worse.
We woke up on Monday to a cold house with the pipes frozen from the laundry room, up through the kitchen and on to the second floor. The bathrooms all had running water though, so we consulted with a plumber, made do, and hoped for the best. We also located the main shut-off valve for the whole house. Just in case. The previous owners said that the pipes had frozen once before, years ago, but that they thawed without incident. It had never been so cold before though, they added!
We had left the faucets on so that we could tell when water started to flow again, so when Brandon heard the water running last night, he assumed it was from the utility sink. I went down to check on it, and water was pouring out of the ceiling. I swore loudly, Brandon ran downstairs, and we sprinted over to shut off the water to the house completely.
We’re working with the plumber that the previous owners had used for the house, which we’re grateful for because as they put it “he knows this house.” He’s downstairs right now and has been for a few hours, working to cut out the damaged copper pipes and replace them with new. Because it turns out that not only did one pipe burst, a second one did too, right above it. Fun!
He said that there isn’t really anything we could have done to prevent this from happening. It was just too cold, and copper doesn’t hold up to being frozen for a few days like the old cast iron pipes do. (Thankfully those are fine.) We are wrapping the pipes in insulation, and we have some people coming out tomorrow to look at the heating system. It’s a balmy 60° downstairs right now, but that’s in the dining room where the thermostat is located. On the other side of the house, you know, where the pipes burst? There’s a tomato on the counter that has frozen solid, and the 12-pack of pop on the floor froze and burst open too. Eh, we’ll get it sorted.
This is really only tangentially related, but I couldn’t resist.
*Update* In case this information is helpful to anyone, it took three hours and cost $250 to have the two pipes replaced and wrapped with insulation. Also, the house is up to 65° and rising! It’s 10° out now, so the heat can finally catch up.