Polar Vortex 2019 has been sweeping the nation with record-breaking cold weather this January, and Minnesota has certainly taken the brunt of it. On Jan. 30, 2019, Minneapolis experienced a temperature of negative 28 degrees Fahrenheit—not including that deathly wind chill. Thief River Falls, Minnesota experienced extreme temperatures of 77 degrees below zero the evening of Jan. 29. According to AccuWeather, Minneapolis was close to breaking record low temperatures that were set in the 1800s.
Around the country people are keeping a close eye on their pipes, hoping that their efforts to prevent pipes from freezing were enough to suffice such drastically cold weather. But for some, pipes seem to be the least of their worries. Especially when bursting toilet tangs tend to be the problem.
Yes, this is not a drill. One person posted a photograph to Instagram showing that the water tank on their toilet did indeed explode, leaving a frozen toilet-tank shaped water figure in its place.
Someone in Minnesota had their toilet tank explode because the water inside froze 😬 pic.twitter.com/fCBLjDwChx
— mistress misandry (@hannahtraining) January 31, 2019
It’s not every day that you see a bursting toilet tank, but apparently, it’s something to keep in mind when extreme cold weather approaches. If you’re also experiencing cold weather, or live in a climate that experiences it often, it’s probably safe to prepare your pipes and your toilet for a deep freeze.
Gary Wentz, the editor in chief here at Family Handyman, brought up some points on how to avoid a situation like this in your home. The most important thing to remember? Keep your bathroom warm! In order for a toilet to freeze like this, the water had to reach below 32 degrees—which also means that the room temperature would have to match that.
“Some people will try to cut costs and not put heat in a bathroom,” Gary said. This can especially be true for a basement bathroom, which some people may not see a need to heat the space. If this is a way you decided to cut costs, you could always put a space heater in the bathroom to keep the toilet (and those pipes) nice and warm.
The other important thing is to keep all of your doors open. Some people may believe that if a room isn’t being used, it’s not worth the money to keep it heated, so they close their door. This can often be the reason to why pipes will freeze in a home since pipes run throughout the house and can even be parallel to a room you don’t use.
Next is to pour antifreeze down the toilet tank. Gary recommends using a non-toxic antifreeze that is meant for household plumbing, versus the antifreeze typically used for cars. The reasoning has to do with the bacteria within your septic system. This type of bacteria is actually good since it helps to break down waste in your septic system and keep everything running smoothly.
Doing this task is pretty simple. All you have to do is empty out the tank of your toilet and simply pour the antifreeze.
That’s it! Keep that bathroom warm, use the proper antifreeze, and an exploding toilet shouldn’t be in your future. Speaking of toilets, did you know you should always be closing the toilet lid when you flush?