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Texas deep freeze carnage thread


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Live in Houston where half block are new homes and half 1950s originals.  We all lost power for 36 hours. 

At 37th hour, almost simultaneously, my two neighbors in older homes had attic pipes burst.  A slew of us lucky ones spent a couple hours helping them clean up the mess.  Luckily, it was not whole house but they each lost a large rectangular portion of their ceiling and items under said ceiling.   Now, they are looking for places to live for a few weeks.

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3 hours ago, gmr548 said:

 


What you people have to understand is that this senior citizen and this dog were honored to sacrifice themselves to ensure Texas could avoid federal oversight of its power grid, and to make sure energy companies generate maximum profits.

Condolences to your friends, troph. Infuriating.

 

giphy-downsized-large.gif

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27 minutes ago, dcar00 said:

I had to use a wrench on the gate valve to get mine to move.  I'd be careful hitting it with the hammer.

Yeah I don't feel comfortable going after it with a hammer. Gonna wait until tomorrow when it warms up a bit and try again. 

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power was out for about 50 hours but been on but for a few short outages since early yesterday morning.  having pressure issues with water now but other than that water has been good the whole time (pressure and hot/cold functioning).  dripping inside and wrapped outside.  if i continue to drip and no other obvious issues bw now and going above freezing for good tomorrow will i make it through unscathed?  

 

tldr if water continues to function are you out of the woods once it gets above freezing (meaning not vulnerable to busting when warming up since you've maintained flow the whole time?)

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2 minutes ago, Gale Snoats said:

power was out for about 50 hours but been on but for a few short outages since early yesterday morning.  having pressure issues with water now but other than that water has been good the whole time (pressure and hot/cold functioning).  dripping inside and wrapped outside.  if i continue to drip and no other obvious issues bw now and going above freezing for good tomorrow will i make it through unscathed?  

 

tldr if water continues to function are you out of the woods once it gets above freezing (meaning not vulnerable to busting when warming up since you've maintained flow the whole time?)

I have this same question

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1 hour ago, lockport said:

Yeah I don't feel comfortable going after it with a hammer. Gonna wait until tomorrow when it warms up a bit and try again. 

if you tapped straight down on the middle of it might lossen it enough to move it with a wrench.

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1 hour ago, ROFL BOX said:

Re: PEX & deteriorating plastics / water, dont get that product mistaken with "KiTec".

http://www.kitecsettlement.com/faq.cfm

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk
 

Well, Kitec is a PEX product, although it is different from what is sold today.  One of its problems was that some of it was PEX-Aluminum-PEX and used brass/bronze connectors.  And that's worse than cats and dogs.

 

There was a more general problem with early PEX formulations used in the US.  Chlorine and fluoride deteritorated it.

Edited by TwiceHorn
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2 hours ago, Anastasis said:

Pex is vulnerable to rodents chewing through the lines.  I love the idea of a pex manifold, but something to consider based on site.  

There are manifolds for copper as well. My house in Denver had it in the basement. It had steampunk (similar to below). It was built at the time of construction - and must have cost a pretty copper penny for all that copper. 

Pex appears the way to go to make this work. 

Quote

 

Copper:

65161d1355865124-copper-manifold-mfg-imag0185.jpg

(not my photo)

v.

Pex:

Are There Hidden Dangers with PEX Plumbing? - Fine Homebuilding


 

 

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11 minutes ago, Snake Diggity said:

Still absolutely no communication as to when people can expect the water to come back.  W. T. F. F. MF.

Plenty of blame to go around in this shit show, and Austin water is no exception.  The lack of any kind of communication is perhaps the biggest issue.  

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1 hour ago, lockport said:

Yeah I don't feel comfortable going after it with a hammer. Gonna wait until tomorrow when it warms up a bit and try again. 

MIght try dousing it with some WD40 or penetrating oil like Liquid Wrench before you go after it.  If it is maybe frozen, some warm/hot water first.

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PSA -

Cut off valves: be careful working with those cut off valves. They can and do fail. Nice and easy with them.  

Flooding inside: If you have power, get some fans on the damp areas. 

Insurance: Should be helping with restoration/cleanup efforts (your homeowner/renter insurance may vary)

I feel for all of you. What a shitstorm. Good luck.

Edited by washparkhorn
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1 hour ago, Hornbeliever said:

Live in Houston where half block are new homes and half 1950s originals.  We all lost power for 36 hours. 

At 37th hour, almost simultaneously, my two neighbors in older homes had attic pipes burst.  A slew of us lucky ones spent a couple hours helping them clean up the mess.  Luckily, it was not whole house but they each lost a large rectangular portion of their ceiling and items under said ceiling.   Now, they are looking for places to live for a few weeks.

Yeah, but it's okay because they have their freedom from evil federal regulation and libtard oversight.

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The good news: ERCOT is so awesome they saved large portions of the state from going through a months long power blackout.

The bad news: The TX power grid is apparently so fragile that the state was minutes away from being engulfed in an even more unimaginable power catastrophe

https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02/18/texas-power-outages-erccot

 
Texas was "seconds and minutes" away from catastrophic monthslong blackouts, officials say
Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said that grid operators implemented blackouts to avoid a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months.
BY ERIN DOUGLAS FEB. 18, 2021 3 HOURS AGO

Spoiler

 

Texas’ power grid was “seconds and minutes” away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months, officials with the entity that operates the grid said Thursday.

As millions of customers throughout the state begin to have power restored after days of massive blackouts, officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which operates the power grid that covers most of the state, said Texas was dangerously close to a worst-case scenario: uncontrolled blackouts across the state.

The quick decision that grid operators made in the early hours of Monday morning to begin what was intended to be rolling blackouts — but lasted days for millions of Texans — occurred because operators were seeing warning signs that massive amounts of energy supply was dropping off the grid.

As natural gas fired plants, utility scale wind power and coal plants tripped offline due to the extreme cold brought by the winter storm, the amount of power supplied to the grid to be distributed across the state fell rapidly. At the same time, demand was increasing as consumers and businesses turned up the heat and stayed inside to avoid the weather.

“It needed to be addressed immediately," said Bill Magness, president of ERCOT. “It was seconds and minutes [from possible failure] given the amount of generation that was coming off the system.”

Grid operators had to act quickly to cut the amount of power distributed, Magness said, because if they had waited, “then what happens in that next minute might be that three more [power generation] units come offline, and then you’re sunk.”

Magness said on Wednesday that if operators had not acted in that moment, the state could have suffered blackouts that “could have occurred for months,” and left Texas in an “indeterminately long” crisis.

The worst case scenario: Demand for power overwhelms the supply of power generation available on the grid, causing equipment to catch fire, substations to blow and power lines to go down.

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If the grid had gone totally offline, the physical damage to power infrastructure from overwhelming the grid can take months to repair, said Bernadette Johnson, senior vice president of power and renewables at Enverus, an oil and gas software and information company headquartered in Austin.

“As chaotic as it was, the whole grid could’ve been in blackout,” she said. “ERCOT is getting a lot of heat, but the fact that it wasn’t worse is because of those grid operators.”

If that had occurred, even as power generators recovered from the cold, ERCOT would have been unable to quickly reconnect them back to the grid, Johnson said.

Grid operators would have needed to slowly and carefully bring generators and customers back online, all the while taking care to not to cause more damage to the grid. It’s a delicate process, Johnson explained, because each part of the puzzle — the generators producing power, the transmission lines that move the power and the customers that use it — must be carefully managed.

“It has to balance constantly,” she said. “Once a grid goes down, it’s hard to bring it back online. If you bring on too many customers, then you have another outage.”

ERCOT officials have repeatedly said that the winter storm that swept the state caught power generators off guard. The storm far exceeded what ERCOT projected in the fall to prepare for winter.

“The operators who took those actions to prevent a catastrophic blackout and much worse damage to our system, that was, I would say, the most difficult decision that had to be made throughout this whole event," Magness said.

Nine grid operators are working at any given time who make these sorts of decisions, said Leslie Sopko, a spokesperson for ERCOT.

“At the end of the day, our operators are highly trained and have the authority to make decisions that protect the reliability of the electric system,” she said in a statement.

ERCOT made “significant progress” overnight Wednesday to restore customer power to many Texans, and remaining power outages are likely due to ice storm damage to the distribution system. Some areas that were taken offline will also need to be restored manually, according to ERCOT.

ERCOT warned that emergency conditions remain, and that “some level of rotating outages” may be necessary over the coming days to keep the grid stable.

 

 

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its almost like ercot is releasing that info to gain sympathy that their "rolling 30-45 min blackouts" turned into 2 days or more for roughly 40% of Austin, and similarly in other cities  on all their non-critical lines.

 

cant wait to hear how Billy the Grid Operator flipped the last switch to save Texas....

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54 minutes ago, dcar00 said:

if you tapped straight down on the middle of it might lossen it enough to move it with a wrench.

Just had a tap on the outside corner of the house burst, water was spraying everywhere so I ran down with a hammer and wrench and tried the tapping method and got the thing to turn. So I was able to get the main line to the house shut off, but now I have a burst pipe outside. Got on a waiting list with ARS but there's no ETA. At least I got the main shut off though. Crazy how adrenaline increases your strength haha.

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18 minutes ago, TexArcher said:

Yeah, but it's okay because they have their freedom from evil federal regulation and libtard oversight.

Not ok, but we do have electricity that is nearly half the price of those in CA. Do you think that regulation factors into that? And yea, they have blackouts too, but people die sweating instead of freezing. 

I’d much prefer we risk homes/pools for those that can afford to fix it once every 100 years rather than double the utility bills for those that struggle to get by as it is.

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1 hour ago, Gale Snoats said:

power was out for about 50 hours but been on but for a few short outages since early yesterday morning.  having pressure issues with water now but other than that water has been good the whole time (pressure and hot/cold functioning).  dripping inside and wrapped outside.  if i continue to drip and no other obvious issues bw now and going above freezing for good tomorrow will i make it through unscathed?  

tldr if water continues to function are you out of the woods once it gets above freezing (meaning not vulnerable to busting when warming up since you've maintained flow the whole time?)

We know quite a few people across Austin that have had their pipes freeze/bust/start gushing already.  

Many were folks that possibly didn't prepare properly, or had shitty construction (pipes running along exterior walls that were hard to keep warm, etc.), or in most cases, they went through a prolonged power outage and lost the ability to heat the pipes from the inside (or a combination of the three).

I'm not saying you are out of the woods, just saying that plenty of people have already had their problems manifest - we had those two nights were it was around or below 10 which did a helluva number, and then we had some daytime temps that were high enough, combined with home/sun heating, to unleash the beast, so to speak, and that is before we inject those folks who went days without power.

I would love to be able to tell you that "okay, you made it to today, you're home free, any serious problems should have manifested by now!" but we still have some stress for 5-6 hours tonight.

Do you know how low your house got inside?  And when you say you've got water going right now, are all faucets running the way you think they should be running?

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2 hours ago, ChickenSandwich said:

Still without but have a truck full of gas. Might as well be useful to others. 
 

Now Att has throttled my unlimited internet plan and im fucked. LTE. Smdh

Holy moley. That is crazy that you've got no power yet.

 

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The CVS on Bee Caves Road was open Tuesday and said it would re-open on Friday.  There is also a compounding pharmacy at 3010 Bee Caves Road that is opening tomorrow.  Quick jaunt for those of us, like your sister who live in South Austin but a quick trip across MoPac shouldn't be too hard tomorrow as the roads melt and clear.  Also, the People's Pharmacy on South Lamar should be open Friday as well.  It looks like Walgreen's got a mandate from up-top to shut down in total for the time-being.  

We did 30 hours no power.  Just came back on, hope it stays on.  Fireplace worked well, but pipes froze.  had to cut the line this morning at 3am under 6" of ice (that's what she said).  That was a fun chore.  Could actually be the second coldest night tonight of the whole debacle with wind chills and cloud cover moving out to allow for colder air to descend.  Everybody raise a glass to the sun tomorrow because it's coming back in full force and we need it desperately to thaw out this madness (and also possibly set ERCOT officials on fire as they walk to their cars).  

Edited by Lobo
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House up the street apparently was unoccupied and had a pipe burst.  Water pouring out of the house.  The next door neighbor is terraced a level down from them and the water was overflowing the upper lot down into their lot, creating a lake on the side of their house.  Fortunately they happened to go outside and see what was going on.  Apparently they figured out how to shut off the main to the other house, and I help them create a channel through their yard and cleared a path for the water to flow down to the gutter.  Someone is going to have a nasty welcome home whenever they return. Place may have been a rental. It's gonna be a good time to be a trade for a while. Lots of houses getting new flooring and plumbing. Looking forward to taking it in the ass on the propane bill and insurance premiums when I reup. 

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39 minutes ago, AUS-97HORN said:

its almost like ercot is releasing that info to gain sympathy that their "rolling 30-45 min blackouts" turned into 2 days or more for roughly 40% of Austin, and similarly in other cities  on all their non-critical lines.

 

cant wait to hear how Billy the Grid Operator flipped the last switch to save Texas....

There's mounting evidence that their inability to rotate or roll blackouts has something to do with the local grids in Austin and Houston.  It was much less of a problem in Dallas.

So that part may actually not be their fault.

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24 minutes ago, Enchubben said:

Not ok, but we do have electricity that is nearly half the price of those in CA. . . . they have blackouts too, but people die sweating instead of freezing. 

San Diego had zero black/brown outs this summer. There were warnings, but nada.

The blackouts in Texas are exponentially worse. Polar vortices are ice sledge hammers compared to hot weather. 

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6 hours ago, gmr548 said:

 


What you people have to understand is that this senior citizen and this dog were honored to sacrifice themselves to ensure Texas could avoid federal oversight of its power grid, and to make sure energy companies generate maximum profits.

Condolences to your friends, troph. Infuriating.

 

You only thought this was satire.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/18/rick-perry-texans-endure-blackouts-keep-government-out

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San Diego had zero black/brown outs this summer. There were warnings, but nada.
The blackouts in Texas are exponentially worse. Polar vortices are ice sledge hammers compared to hot weather. 
Whenever someone's argument boils down to "well LA sucks too" you know you're dealing with political hackery that's not worth your breath.

"While there are 48 other states that have managed not to endanger their citizens' lives multiple times in a decade due to poor planning and greed, LA is bad too so that excuses everything and we're fine lol"

It's like this amulet of protection that allows them to never have to acknowledge things that cause them feelings of confusion like their politicians fucking them over time and time again.

"We're only second worst out of 48!". American exceptionalism at its finest. I blame participation trophies for the shift towards celebrating mediocrity.
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52 minutes ago, Enchubben said:

Not ok, but we do have electricity that is nearly half the price of those in CA. Do you think that regulation factors into that? And yea, they have blackouts too, but people die sweating instead of freezing. 

I’d much prefer we risk homes/pools for those that can afford to fix it once every 100 years rather than double the utility bills for those that struggle to get by as it is.

You can kindly go fuck yourself with this bullshit post of complete disingenuous crap.

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We are in hotel for one more night as water is borked at our crib. Took dog on a walk and there is a significant water main rupture on 5th between San Jacinto & Brazos. Coming up under sidewalks, and running down 5th towards gutter at Brazos intersection like crazy. I called 311 to report, they tried to send me to water dept but apparently the water dept phones still down.

 

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That sucks. If anyone is hard up enough for water to drive to New Braunfels hit me up. Got basically infinite well water. Fill up whatever you need. Not as good as Austin water but after the water softener it's decent enough. Anyone, even if you've called me the dumbest motherfucker on the site at any point or vice versa.



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4 hours ago, Spaulding Smails said:

Yes.  Austin.  We received 19 incoming leads yesterday for plumbing issues.  And, we're not even a plumbing company.  We JUST got our plumbing license last week, and I have ONE plumber on staff, so we're prioritizing existing customers.  Temps got above freezing yesterday for a bit, and issues started arising.

I'm hearing the big plumbing companies are telling folks mid to late March before they can even come out to look at a leak.  This is going to dwarf Hurricane Harvey from an insurance claim standpoint.  Lots of these issues are NOT minor.  We have five in queue that will potentially be $100K+ due to the damages sustained.

Do y'all offer spray in insulation? Asking for me

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PXL_20210218_211705809.thumb.jpg.04cf242438e03f83df50bd5996055dbc.jpgPXL_20210218_211704462.thumb.jpg.8e6bedb112b97679bd5bc1be6221ef0e.jpg

one of the businesses in my office park where our office is. Went up there this afternoon to see if we had any damage...we were fine but damn, that sucks. The plumbers were already there when I pulled up and said it probably burst Monday or Tuesday and they had 6 inches standing water. Water was pouring out the front door. We share a water line with them but it didn't reach us.

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3 hours ago, Hornbeliever said:

Live in Houston where half block are new homes and half 1950s originals.  We all lost power for 36 hours. 

At 37th hour, almost simultaneously, my two neighbors in older homes had attic pipes burst.  A slew of us lucky ones spent a couple hours helping them clean up the mess.  Luckily, it was not whole house but they each lost a large rectangular portion of their ceiling and items under said ceiling.   Now, they are looking for places to live for a few weeks.

So 1st hour that power was back and thawing started?

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28 minutes ago, BayouBill said:

PXL_20210218_211705809.thumb.jpg.04cf242438e03f83df50bd5996055dbc.jpgPXL_20210218_211704462.thumb.jpg.8e6bedb112b97679bd5bc1be6221ef0e.jpg

one of the businesses in my office park where our office is. Went up there this afternoon to see if we had any damage...we were fine but damn, that sucks. The plumbers were already there when I pulled up and said it probably burst Monday or Tuesday and they had 6 inches standing water. Water was pouring out the front door. We share a water line with them but it didn't reach us.

There’s been a meeting or two where I wanted to go off on some condescending prick. We sure that didn’t happen here?
 

seriously, that sucks for them and I hope y’all don’t have issues as we get thru this. 

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3 hours ago, Biff Tannen said:

I have this same question

I'm pretty sure it does.  The question is, is there something you haven't thought of that's hard to "flow" that might have frozen.

For me, I was paranoid about my W/D connection, but I kept it flowing and it continues to.  Also fire sprinkler, which pretty inherently can't flow, but can be drained and if built properly, doesn't have full lines anywhere near exterior walls or exterior sprinklers.

Empirically, this seems to be the case, as we got up near freezing today, a couple of friends have had busted pipes, and nothing for me so far.

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1 hour ago, Enchubben said:

Not ok, but we do have electricity that is nearly half the price of those in CA. Do you think that regulation factors into that? And yea, they have blackouts too, but people die sweating instead of freezing. 

I’d much prefer we risk homes/pools for those that can afford to fix it once every 100 years rather than double the utility bills for those that struggle to get by as it is.

From what I've read this week about the TX and CA energy grids, both states have neglected maintenance and redundancy of their grids to the extent that both states are an anomaly among the rest of the US.  

Much of the price difference probably comes down to this: CA doesn't produce much natural gas, has 1 coal-powered plant whereas Texas gets about 20% of its energy from coal, and Texas has many more oil refineries putting out about 3x the quantity as in CA. Proximity to a refinery is a huge cost-saver. Also CA has significant air pollution and earthquake regulations applying to those refineries, which Texas does not have. Thus the difference in what energy costs.

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I'm cutting my system off at the tank in the garage (so after the water softener, before house and hot water heater) and opening up spigots to drain the system the next two nights. Got away with one busted pipe with no damage except a hole in my office closet drywall and a wet floor. Got enough water for drinking and brushing teeth in the RO system under the kitchen sink. Not going to tempt fate again.

1bb22acd0870eaf8d47325e56f7c8a1f.gif

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Still no power going on 90.5 hours now (none since Monday 2am) here in my Austin neighborhood. Getting used to the cold, dark house; seeing my breath as I sit or lay down to sleep. It’s a bit like Groundhog Day though - days are kind of running together  

no water either, not a dribble for the last 36 hours. Still quite haven’t worked out the what to do with #2 when/if the moment arises. 

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4 minutes ago, yoladu said:

Still no power going on 90.5 hours now (none since Monday 2am) here in my Austin neighborhood. Getting used to the cold, dark house; seeing my breath as I sit or lay down to sleep. It’s a bit like Groundhog Day though - days are kind of running together  

no water either, not a dribble for the last 36 hours. Still quite haven’t worked out the what to do with #2 when/if the moment arises. 

Got any of those HEB reusable bags hanging around? Might work in a pinch.

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29 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

For me, I was paranoid about my W/D connection, but I kept it flowing and it continues to

Fuuuuuck. I haven’t been running this, but it’s also in the absolute middle of the house.  Too late now I guess. So do I just let the temps go up and not do laundry until a couple of days above freezing?

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10 minutes ago, yoladu said:

Still no power going on 90.5 hours now (none since Monday 2am) here in my Austin neighborhood. Getting used to the cold, dark house; seeing my breath as I sit or lay down to sleep. It’s a bit like Groundhog Day though - days are kind of running together  

no water either, not a dribble for the last 36 hours. Still quite haven’t worked out the what to do with #2 when/if the moment arises. 

Dude. Go somewhere with heat. You need help?

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