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Thread: Probably a stupid question...

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Bruette View Post
    Simply because they don't know what they don't know. If you've never dealt with those types of temperatures you aren't aware of the consequences.
    This is a key observation.

    Each time a catastrophe strikes, it removes (by Death or dislocation) most of the residents that could warn others.

    Transient populations don't have a local history and will always remain ill prepared without guidance.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm McLeod View Post
    YeeeHAW!! Lawsuits for ALL! I'm 90% that this was the provider to the victim I saw interviewed. The one that she said warned her to change plans. Cuz' her contract allows variable rates.

    Blame who you wish ...politicians, or BIG OIL, or BIG POWER, or even little power (Griddy). Believe the media - hook, line, and sinker - or not.

    Come visit. Some of us are still here.

    Out.
    Don Quiquote,

    The original question was why are Texans shivering in the dark and wet. Thank you for the exposition on how (once again) the poorest and defenseless are responsible for their own predicament.

    While we do appreciate your efforts to educate us poor misled steeple, most of us are Vegan heathens that are allergic to your blessed Spam diet.



    Consider decamping to more welcoming environs.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 02-25-2021 at 8:13 AM. Reason: removed inappropriate content

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew whicker View Post
    The only way people know things are by learning things. What class teaches you home ownership?
    Well, I don't know anyone who has actually read *any* manual.

    I'm only guessing but most of the dramatic videos were taken inside Apartments.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    This has never happened before in Central to South Texas, in its extreme, and nothing even _remotely_ like it has happened here in over thirty years. Most Texans have no experience with it.

    What really mystified _me_ is all of the so-called facilities managers who had no idea what to do. Some of the most dramatic media footage after the fact was of commercial and institutional buildings that had severe water damage. I guess they never saw it coming.
    The same thing happened in financial services before 2008.

    All the risk management departments were eliminated.

    When dealing with sprawling, complex organizations you get what you don't pay for.

    This is why ServiceMaster pivoted to remediation, disaster recovery and smoke removal in their business model. Nobody signed up for actual maintenance plans.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm McLeod View Post
    Again, not trying to be oblivious to other's plight
    Try harder. That should require very little effort.


    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm McLeod View Post
    ...but a lot of responders are not in TX and the alphabet media may have overdone it ... just a bit.
    4.5 million in the dark, in houses with no heat is significant.
    https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02...treme-weather/

    The only thing you got right is some of the Alphabet people overdid things, although the recipients appear glad outsiders did not remain oblivious to their plight.

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ale...weather-crisis

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by John Goodin View Post
    Like Erik, I live in the Austin area. These homes are not built for long term freezing temperatures. Main waterlines are typically about a foot below grade but did not freeze. Exterior hose bibs, especially in uninsulated garage walls, froze quickly causing leaks upon thawing. Power outages allowed pool pumps, filters and plumbing to freeze as well. Austin has grown significantly in the last 20 years drawing people from all around the country and many are not familiar with how homes are built...
    John, our tankless water heater burst. It was an exterior wall mount, which is the common installation in my neighborhood. 10+ years, no issues until now. These units have some sort of internal heating elements that kick on if the ambient temps drop below freezing but of course, that requires electricity. I did not think to drain it on Sunday night because, well, I did not think we would lose power for so long. My next door neighbor also has a Rinnai but wisely drained his and no problems. As soon as I figured out ours had burst, I got online and ordered a replacement unit because I know there would be a run on them. Rinnai apparently makes a dual-solenoid kit that automatically drains the heat exchanger if the unit loses power and I'm going to order one of those and install it later.

    To your point, we have a large number of CA tech transplants in my neighborhood (no shade: I came from CA in 2004). It's deceptive because you can live here 5 years and never see anything like this, so it just won't ever occur to you. On one of days last week, my neighbors and I were wandering the neighborhood and spotted a house with water gushing out the side yard. His Rinnai had burst as well but he had no idea how to shut the supply off (we did it for him). Point being that while most of us are handy about household repairs, there are at least as many folks who aren't.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by John Goodin View Post
    Like Erik, I live in the Austin area. These homes are not built for long term freezing temperatures. Main waterlines are typically about a foot below grade but did not freeze. Exterior hose bibs, especially in uninsulated garage walls, froze quickly causing leaks upon thawing. Power outages allowed pool pumps, filters and plumbing to freeze as well.
    Interesting that pools should come up. Standard practice down here is to not “winterize” pools (whatever that means) but to turn the pumps on whenever the temps get below freezing, so you can power through it. That’s what we did, but in the interest of preparedness we threw some heavy blankets over the equipment, just in case. The power went off at around 1:45am Monday, and when it didn’t come back on by 3am as promised, I threw the breaker and went out and pulled the drain plugs on them.

    Snow and ice are good insulators (ask the Eskimo in his igloo,) so with 8 inches of snow and at least 1 inch of ice on top of that, everything apparently survived intact, having (with great trepidation) turned it all back on today to check.

    In the past few days I’ve been bombarded with emails offering good prices on replacement pool pumps and filters, and pool repair services. Thankfully there is no need.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    3.) I agree that folks ought to know how to disconnect their own water at the street. I have owned one of those tools for years but most folks don't. Several of my neighbors ended up using it and were glad I had it.
    You can take that fitting and drive a hand wheel onto it. Everybody should do this.

    The hand wheel should be modified to make this happen.

    Alternatively, Vampliers (linesmans) are a nice thing to have around, should you run into an oddball.
    Last edited by Doug Dawson; 02-26-2021 at 4:25 AM.

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    You can take that fitting and drive a hand wheel onto it. Everybody should do this.

    The hand wheel should be modified to make this happen.

    Alternatively, Vampliers (linesmans) are a nice thing to have around, should you run into an oddball.
    Curb Stops (what I've always heard used to describe this 'lug' style valve) at the street seem to universally suffer from a lack of exercise. Very high torque requirements, restricted access, and dirt washed into the valve box can complicate things. Around here, Mr. Loza's tool (assume the 3-4' long T-handle style) gets you up high enough to get some 'grunt' applied to a valve. Not sure I understand how Mr. Dawson's wheel is applied here, but I have the T-handle so SWMBO can get enough leverage if I'm not on scene.

    The area around me hit -2F at the coldest, but the ground still never froze. Bare dirt was still soft and shoveling the walk found a layer melted against the concrete; the water quickly sublimated once exposed. ...And is why pools don't get winterized here (assuming power to circulate is available, of course).
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 02-26-2021 at 10:14 PM.

  10. #40
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    4.5 million in the dark, in houses with no heat is significant.
    https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02...treme-weather/
    From the story at that link:

    One power generator (name omitted by me) defended its performance during last week’s deep freeze, saying it produced about 25% to 30% of the power on the grid Monday and Tuesday, compared with its typical market share of about 18%.
    Interesting the power generator put it in terms of percentage of power on the grid instead of wattage output.

    For some reason my brain always looks at this as some kind of mathematical trickery.

    For example, if the power on the grid is typically 100 megawatts and the one generator typically produces 18 of those megawatts, that would be an 18% share.

    If during the freeze the grid's total power was 10 megawatts and the one company was producing 2.5 to 3 megawatts they would be producing about 25% to 30% of the total power.

    So the power company could have been producing more power than normal or less power than normal. From their Public Relations department's statement we have no way of knowing.

    The statement makes them sound good. They may have been doing good. They could also have been failing terribly, but the PR makes them sound like they stepped up to the challenge and deserve some credit.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    Interesting that pools should come up. Standard practice down here is to not “winterize” pools (whatever that means) but to turn the pumps on whenever the temps get below freezing, so you can power through it.
    I am glad you made it through. The “whatever that means” seems to be the problem for a lot of people. They just have no idea what to do with cold weather.

    I do not have a tool to shut my water off at the street. I have a valve inside my house, about two feet from where the water lines comes through the foundation. Do people not have those in Texas? They are useful in all kinds of situations, whether it is cold or not.

  12. #42
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    I’m surprised that there isn’t an inside shutoff as well. I often turn off my main shutoff if I’m away for a couple days. I’ve known of several cases where a joint has let go and a home has flooded without any unusual weather events.

  13. #43
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    If you don't live in an area that deals with cold temperatures, you don't know the simple remedy's.
    When we lived in a trailer, even with insulated water lines and heat trace, heat trace doesn't work in a power outage. We would shutoff the main water and open a faucet to relieve pressure and we would attach a garden hose and drain a couple inches out of the water heater tank and open the pressure release valve whenever the temperature dropped below 20 deg and power was out. Never had an issue.
    If we just lost power, we would open all the faucet and let it drip and get up in the middle of the night and run the water wide open for a few minutes.
    We have a main shutoff inside the house, but we also bought a tool at HD to shutoff the water at the street. Wasn't that expensive.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    This is a key observation.

    Each time a catastrophe strikes, it removes (by Death or dislocation) most of the residents that could warn others.

    Transient populations don't have a local history and will always remain ill prepared without guidance.
    Don't follow your logic in this case. If we were talking about Alaska and people who moved there from Texas then yes the transient population wouldn't be aware of the history of water lines freezing but we are talking about Texas where freezing water lies is possible but rare.

  15. #45
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    It is a good time for homeowners to learn about their houses. Where are the shut offs or drains. What pipes are likely to freeze. This will likely happen again. What can be done for the next occurrence?

    Maybe houses need to be built with better insulation and pipe protection.

    Up north we know what we need to do for winter to protect from burst pipes and other cold weather issues.

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