It is far from amusing to awake some zero morning and find the house without water because the well pipe has frozen. It can be thawed with a blow pipe but that means calling a plumber or a handy man who happens to have a tool of this sort. One such experience will keep you from forgetting or neglecting to provide a well cover. Similarly, if you are in doubt whether the pipes from water source to house are below the frost line, a carpet of leaves about two inches thick on top of the ground along the course of the water pipe, will obviate any such unhappy event. Thawing a frozen pipe plainly visible in the well is child’s play compared to the task of arguing with any underground. Once, such pipes had to wait for nature. Today, they can be thawed very skillfully with special electrical equipment, but not cheaply. The standard charge ranges from $20 up, mostly the latter.
The family living in the country will also find that cold weather puts a great strain on the automobile. A car that has worked perfectly all summer simply refuses to start, and the storage battery that operates the self-starter is exhausted and powerless. The sensible course is to have the car put in condition for winter before the first cold snap congeals the crank-case oil. Replace the latter with one of lighter grade; have the radiator filled with a good anti-freeze in sufficient quantity so that you will be safe on the coldest days against the hazard of a frozen radiator; have the ignition system thoroughly overhauled and new spark points put in the distributor. Most important of all, get a new storage battery if the one you have is more than a few months old.
This course of action saves annoyance, is better for the automobile, and less expensive than calling for garage help some abnormally cold morning when many others are also in trouble and you must wait your turn. Don’t take just anybody’s advice when changing to lighter and more freely flowing motor oil. Go to the service station handling the make of car you drive and have it done there. They will know which is the right grade. We once almost ruined a car by following a layman’s advice. With our own hands we refilled the crank case with oil that was rated as S.A.E. 10 and was perfect for the light car of our well-intentioned adviser. Unhappily the lightest suitable for our make and model was S.A.E. 20, practically twice as heavy. Fortunately we burned no bearings before our error was discovered and so learned a valuable lesson more cheaply than we deserved.
Keeping the radiator protected against freezing is not complicated. Nearly any filling station has the necessary hydrometer. To be sure the anti-freeze liquid has not evaporated unduly, have the radiator contents tested about once in two weeks, particularly after several days of abnormally warm weather. For real safety, it is wise to have any automobile radiator filled with enough of the compound so that its freezing point is fully ten degrees colder than