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It's Freezing in Texas, please shut the freezer door up north......


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I don't understand the "burst pipe" thing.  When we travel during the winter, we turn off the main water inlet and drain the pipes before we leave, just in case there's an extended power outage -- are people not doing this, or does that not actually work for some reason?  

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Sorry, well behind on this thread and not going to try and get caught up. Went to a hotel Monday that had power after we were basically 40 minutes off, 5 minutes on, repeating. Was awesome. Warm, grea

Seems like kind of a #### thing to say when its 10 degrees and there are millions of people without electricity.

I’VE GOT THE POWER! Very glad to be back. 

3 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I don't understand the "burst pipe" thing.  When we travel during the winter, we turn off the main water inlet and drain the pipes before we leave, just in case there's an extended power outage -- are people not doing this, or does that not actually work for some reason?  

I don't think people knew what to do.

Honestly, you just need to have a hot tap and a cold tap dripping at all times, that usually does the trick.

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22 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I don't understand the "burst pipe" thing.  When we travel during the winter, we turn off the main water inlet and drain the pipes before we leave, just in case there's an extended power outage -- are people not doing this, or does that not actually work for some reason?  

This is probably unintentionally a dumb question, but would it matter that their pipes are not used to these sorta conditions?

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26 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I don't understand the "burst pipe" thing.  When we travel during the winter, we turn off the main water inlet and drain the pipes before we leave, just in case there's an extended power outage -- are people not doing this, or does that not actually work for some reason?  

Many don't know how since they have never done it in their lives.  And many homes in TX are slab homes so getting to a low point to fully drain is a challenge. Most pipes are PVC with limited wall insulation.

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38 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I don't understand the "burst pipe" thing.  When we travel during the winter, we turn off the main water inlet and drain the pipes before we leave, just in case there's an extended power outage -- are people not doing this, or does that not actually work for some reason?  

I started dripping all of my faucets last Friday. Finally shut off the main valve on Monday. First of all, Texas does not build in preparation for a winter storm like this. Second, nobody anticipated these extended power outages. And lastly, many people are simply incapable of thinking about it or the ability to shut their water off even if they knew it should be done.

Texans were unprepared. And this was shared between our leaders/elected officials and individual responsibility. 

Edited by Tom Skerritt
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40 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I don't understand the "burst pipe" thing.  When we travel during the winter, we turn off the main water inlet and drain the pipes before we leave, just in case there's an extended power outage -- are people not doing this, or does that not actually work for some reason?  

As many have mentioned, I don’t know that homes here have a easy or efficient way to drain the system once you shut off the main water line. And even if there is, no one I know around here knows about it. Most people run the faucets to keep the lines moving when it gets cold. But I am now aware of several people who had the supply line to their hot water heaters freeze and subsequently burst, so I’m guessing they weren’t running the hot water. Also, having running water is pretty important when you’re living in a house without power. Just ask the hundreds of thousands of people without water for days now.

Edited by bigbottom
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12 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

As many have mentioned, I don’t know that homes here have a easy or efficient way to drain the system once you shut off the main water line. And even if there is, no one I know around here knows about it. Most people run the faucets to keep the lines moving when it gets cold. But I am now aware of several people who had the supply line to their hot water heaters freeze and subsequently burst, so I’m guessing they weren’t running the hot water. Also, having running water is pretty important when you’re living in a house without power. Just ask the hundreds of thousands of people without water for days now.

And now many cities are getting boil notices because the water treatment facilities have lost power and have been unable to maintain treatment pressures. 

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Another reason for more burst pipes in southern states when they get freezing temps is where the pipes are.  In northern states where you need to get your foundation below frost depth, the pipes are run in the basement/crawl and are kept within interior walls to protect them from freezing.  Some areas like kitchen sinks will still end up with some pipes near an exterior wall, and this is were leaving cabinets open help out.  In the southern states the houses are all slab on grade so to run pipes around the house they are in the attic along with the water heater, and often times they are located above the insulation.   When it is freezing outside it will be freezing in your attic.  Water filled pipes in a freezing attic equals burst pipes.

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39 minutes ago, Ron Swanson said:

Many don't know how since they have never done it in their lives.  And many homes in TX are slab homes so getting to a low point to fully drain is a challenge. Most pipes are PVC with limited wall insulation.

I think that first sentence is probably the biggest reason. If you have never had to deal with it before in your lifetime, you’d just have no idea what to do. And if your power is out, most people probably aren’t spending a lot of time on the internet risking running out of phone battery trying to Google what they should do.

I would also think that anyone with a well would be in even more trouble. If you are on slab and have well water, you’re going to have a hard time draining your water and you also can’t run your water continuously either.

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1 minute ago, grateful zed said:

Who here thinks we could actually colonize Mars?

It's colder there, so no.

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Something that has become a summer standard here in California is for me to top off the charge on our 30000mAh Power Bank Portable Charger that was around $35. It's not as good as a generator but it allows us to use our phone/tablet for entertainment, research, and work while not having to worry about losing contact since LAN lines are gone now.

This won't help now but it is something that is nice to have in your survival toolkit fyi.

Stay safe out there.

Edited by madshot31
Edit: we have used it probably 5 times for a total of 7-8 days in 2.5 years, making our QoL much greater on the cheap.
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Abandoned my house 2 days ago with all my pipes dripping to an area less hit hard by the rollings.  Lost power here for 30 min this morning.

Now can't get in touch with anyone that stayed behind so I'm on my own to go check my house for pipe burst.  

 

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3 hours ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I don't understand the "burst pipe" thing.  When we travel during the winter, we turn off the main water inlet and drain the pipes before we leave, just in case there's an extended power outage -- are people not doing this, or does that not actually work for some reason?  

A lot of different reasons for this. Very few people are travelling due to COVID so they are at home. Most people including the local news did not believe the models predicting single digit temps and did not do much prep. External faucets need to be wrapped/covered to prevent freezing/bursting. On our street the only water turnoff valve is out at the street and you need a special tool (sold at hardware stores). Many homes will have an easy turn off valve in the garage or kitchen pantry. Also water heaters tend to be located in the attic or in a closet in the garage. There are no basements. The garage wall is probably not insulated and in the attic there could be wide ranging levels of insulation of the pipes and water heater. Many pipe bursts occur with the cold water pipe entering the water heater. So as mentioned by others it's important to drip faucets on both cold and hot. I don't understand the lower levels of insulation in homes in the South. I am from MN and they insulate homes with 2x6 walls and thick attic insulation and good windows. Seems there is an equally good reason to do the same in the South. The only emphasis down here seems to be "low E" windows to minimize solar heat and UV rays in the summer. You also could get a pipe burst in the lawn irrigation system. Some people will drain the system for the winter. We have never done that; in fact we were continuing to water some flower beds in the yard last week. I usually have one or two sprinkler heads that need to be replaced in the Spring.

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17 hours ago, culdeus said:
On 2/16/2021 at 12:46 PM, Binky The Doormat said:

so you're suggesting that people should no longer have natural gas heated homes?

We will spend the next 100 years regretting how we wasted natural gas heating homes 

would you explain that?  

not arguing, just haven't heard this before.

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4 hours ago, cosjobs said:

42 straight hours with no power except for five minutes yesterday afternoon. 

Can you get to the Renaissance hotel in the Arboretum? I heard they were offering rooms for anyone without power.

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4 hours ago, Jayrod said:

I don't think people knew what to do.

Honestly, you just need to have a hot tap and a cold tap dripping at all times, that usually does the trick.

That's what I did, but now I have barely any pressure. A tiny bit more than a trickle on all faucets. I opened them up hoping maybe it's a partially frozen pipe and the water flow will melt it out.

It's been two hours and same trickle. Also my pool pump is now frozen. We had a big candle in a jerry rigged enclosure. Evidently some critter spent the night in there, breeched the enclosure and knocked over the candle.

Also at 47.5 house without power. 15 without internet.

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6 minutes ago, Phil Elliott said:

Can you get to the Renaissance hotel in the Arboretum? I heard they were offering rooms for anyone without power.

Pets?

I'll call

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My power just went down again. Had been on since 7am, so my house has mostly warmed up. Still have a roaring fire going. Was out splitting logs most of the day, and have a good amount of firewood. Took a wash cloth shower, as I have no running water.

Two more days to go!

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9 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

Geez man. Do you have a neighbor with power you can get to?

I've got a little generator, so we aren't in harm's way. But we are definitely in the way of  inconvenience, discomfort, discord, and stress.

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We have intermittently had power, and are currently in the longest prolonged access to electricity since Sunday early evening (~4 hours now today). A few things to share:

  1. Our house is brand new (built in 2019-20) and extremely well insulated - even with that, it's dropped as low as 50 degrees during this time. With 4 consistent hours of power, the house temp is now approaching 75, in anticipation of losing it again. If we manage to keep power through the day, I'll probably go turn it down somewhat.
  2. We lost hot water Monday, and it appeared there was a leak on our tankless heater. Our water heater is OUTSIDE on the external garage wall (some pros and cons to this, as I'm learning) so zero damage from the small constant trickle leak. Today, when we got power, my neighbor and I got the hot water running again by thawing it out, leak be damned - something to deal with next week. First showers my wife and I have had since Sunday (she literally twice has boiled water and dumped in bathtub like a damn pioneer to bathe)
  3. As of this morning, there was a small water fountain in the middle of the street in front of our house. As of now, there are 8 gushing fountains bubbling up through the street, and the city is trying to decide if they're shutting it all off or what, so now we have sinks, bathtubs, bottles, pots, pans, etc full of water expecting a potential multi-day stint with no water (at least we still have electricity somehow?) to begin sometime in the near future, likely to coincide with a surely on the horizon power loss.

 

All that said - we have been having ~1 hour of electricity/12 hours since Sunday night (and much more today as stated), and no other pipe damage (fingers crossed that when they shut off water and we can no longer run anything through hot or cold lines that we aren't totally ####ed). We are ok on food because I'm an insane Costco purchaser with a giant pantry and two refrigerator/freezers. Thoughts and prayers to those also struggling here.

Just trying to survive while also managing a team on the coast where I would typically be during the weekdays.

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6 hours ago, MAC_32 said:

This is probably unintentionally a dumb question, but would it matter that their pipes are not used to these sorta conditions?

Well from the videos at Hilton Ft Worth and Dallas CC businesses got slaughtered with broken pipes too. 

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Under a boil water notice now and within the last couple of hours the water pressure has been reduced. A few people around me have had pipes burst. Still more fortunate than those without power and/or water. Took a quick trip to the gas station market for some non-essentials. Slim pickings and several people doing the same. Grocery stores have long lines and I’m not in dire need of anything to deal with that mess. 

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What I am hearing now.

No water in south austin including the south austin regional hospital (St David's south).

If the grid fails, and evidently we are very close , there could be a state wide blackout for months.

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2 hours ago, cosjobs said:

That's what I did, but now I have barely any pressure. A tiny bit more than a trickle on all faucets. I opened them up hoping maybe it's a partially frozen pipe and the water flow will melt it out.

It's been two hours and same trickle. Also my pool pump is now frozen. We had a big candle in a jerry rigged enclosure. Evidently some critter spent the night in there, breeched the enclosure and knocked over the candle.

Also at 47.5 house without power. 15 without internet.

It may not be you. Many water utilities are struggling with system pressures due to the electric problem.

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54 minutes ago, cosjobs said:

What I am hearing now.

No water in south austin including the south austin regional hospital (St David's south).

If the grid fails, and evidently we are very close , there could be a state wide blackout for months.

😳

why in the world would it last months ?

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7 hours ago, UOFI_316 said:

Another reason for more burst pipes in southern states when they get freezing temps is where the pipes are.  In northern states where you need to get your foundation below frost depth, the pipes are run in the basement/crawl and are kept within interior walls to protect them from freezing.  Some areas like kitchen sinks will still end up with some pipes near an exterior wall, and this is were leaving cabinets open help out.  In the southern states the houses are all slab on grade so to run pipes around the house they are in the attic along with the water heater, and often times they are located above the insulation.   When it is freezing outside it will be freezing in your attic.  Water filled pipes in a freezing attic equals burst pipes.

I think this has to be the main difference.  I've lived in the upper midwest most of my adult life and have never touched our water main or left taps dripping (although I'm aware of people doing those things).  Every winter, I shut the valves on the two pipes that lead to outdoor faucets - that's it. Our house is over 100 years old and is heated by radiators, so we have a huge boiler in the basement and pipes running all through the house.

 

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1 hour ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

This is a report from FERC and the Electric Reliability folks from after the freeze in Feb 2011, with recommendations (at the end).  Apologies if it's already been posted.

Here's a TLDR for that report in a twitter thread. I hope things return back to normal for you guys soon.

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19 hours ago, Tom Skerritt said:

Power went down 10 minutes ago. Gonna be a long night.

Supposed to snow/ice throughout the night. Power came back on around 2pm this afternoon, after being off for the previous 24hrs. Was able to get my house from 45-50 degrees back up to 70.

Shut my water off last night. Have a propane camping stove and 3 propane cartridges. Also have two fully-charged battery packs for phones and tablets.

Sent my daughter to a friends house earlier today, a friend who has had constant power throughout this mess.

Wife and I are hunkered down with two dogs and a guinea pig. Candles are lit. Fire is burning in the fireplace. Hope I have enough wood to get through the night.

Gonna be a long night. 

You did post my name on a milk carton once so I feel obligated to come see that you're OK. 

We have a pullout in the living room, it's been around 80 here most days.

It doesn't sound like a lot of fun where you're at right now. 

You couldn't join your daughter or at least thaw out over there for a little while before returning to the meat locker for the night?

Was it really 45 degrees in your house? I cannot imagine that for a long period of time. I'm sorry you and all the great texans in here are suffering thru this. 

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1 hour ago, ghostguy123 said:

So basically an entire state isnt ready to provide power because of some cold weather?  Didnt they go through this like a decade ago?

yep.  2011.  made a few improvements.  apparently not enough.  statewide infrastructure collapse on multiple fronts.

Edited by joffer
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