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Texas deep freeze carnage thread


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13 hours ago, Axle Hongsnort said:


hell yes an issue if you’re roof flashing isn’t tight. especially if you have different pitches. i think austin melted so fast most skipped over, but nothing to roll eyes at.

Ice dams have nothing to do with roof flashing or the pitch of a roof.

Ice dams form when warm air escapes the interior of house (and especially in houses with poor attic ventilation) and the warm air melts the snow on the roof.  

The melted snow exits the drainage plane of the roof and runs into the unmelted snow at the eave of a roof (which is outside of the attic and “unheated”). The former snow now water re-freezes at the eaves and becomes the ice dam.  
 

Warm attics and poorly ventilated attics cause ice dams.  This has been studied over and over.  
 

Don’t insulate your attic.  Insulate the conditioned living space of your house and insulate the pipes in the uninsulated attic.  
 

Caveat: spray foam insulated houses are a different animal. 

Edited by deadshank
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31 minutes ago, GhostOfTomJoad said:

So if I dripped all of the interior faucets/showers until we got above freezing Sat morning. We only experienced one frozen line (cold water under the kitchen sink on Wed morning; thawed after 45 minutes of hair dryer application). Just amazingly fortunate since we never lost power/heat/water.

My question is, when should I uncover the two outdoor spigots & attempt to turn them on to determine flow? I haven't detected any leakage or problems at those spigots, so am I safe in just letting mother nature do her work on them? 

I uncovered mine yesterday and ran the outside spigots and everything was good.  Just be careful turn it on gradually like it's South Austin's mom and you should be rewarded (like with south austin's mom).

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Thanks for the tips. I think I'll wait until noon which should be a full 24 hours above freezing before slowly opening the spigots. My challenge will be detecting any leaks since one spigot is located in brick & the other in hardiplank. If I don't see obvious water leaking through the interior walls (brick's opposite wall is sheetrock to front office, hard is sheetrock to garage) I guess I'm just trying to determine if the flow is too low as an indicator of a leak.

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Yeah. I checked for leaks now when I turned the water on after I bled the system for air, and plan on doing it later today again. Just turn everything off and go see if the triangle on the meter is rotating. 

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10 hours ago, CHIEF said:

Because they run on natural gas at extremely high temps. Think of a hot air balloon burner, they have to vent directly to the outside.. I use electric tankless on all of the houses I build, the entire house is foamed, so the attic is within 10 degrees of the interior. BUT, I also put drain valves for a case such as this. Drain the coils in extreme cold if you have lost electrical power.

CHIEF

Mine is electric and on the outside. House is foamed too, which I think is what saved my pipes. Lost power for 17 hours, but it was mostly during the day and not on one of the coldest days. Was worried about the tankless, but as soon as power came back, we were back to hot water. 

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2 hours ago, El Diablo said:

HEB does not open until 9 this morning. This news ungruntles me. A friend's wife said that she went, not sure what day because it was a woman telling the story, and the shelves looked worse than they did in the early pandemic panic days.

Go to Sprouts. All staples, water. 25 minutes to checkout but a lot shorter than heb. 

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Ice dams have nothing to do with roof flashing or the pitch of a roof.

I had a lot of snow accumulated on the sub roof above my front door. The angles of how it accumulated and was then melting was sure as shit putting the flashing protection at risk. Maybe mine was a “snow berm” but i knocked all that shit down to be safe.
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25 minutes ago, Axle Hongsnort said:


I had a lot of snow accumulated on the sub roof above my front door. The angles of how it accumulated and was then melting was sure as shit putting the flashing protection at risk. Maybe mine was a “snow berm” but i knocked all that shit down to be safe.

I’m not going to argue with you about this.  You’re seeing the location of your ice dam and not the cause. 

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@TexasEd talked to my cousin who is a plumber in our area...I guess houses in the mountains have freeze proof spigots installed that actually stop the water a few feet away from the spigot head, where it’s safely always in the crawlspace or other climate safe environment. They aren’t insulated.

mystery solved.

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I think the danger ice dams pose is if they sit there all winter and the snow on the roof is constantly thawing (then snowing again, thawing, etc.) then overtime the water/ice that form will damage the shingles and eventually find it’s way into the attic. I don’t think they pose any risk for a one off snow event unless your shingles are pure shit already.

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Well hell I feel pretty damn good about everything now.  I was team drip, after being team frozen kitchen sink line.  One a little cun, a little heat gun, and a little torch the flow came and I kept it coming on that  fixture with the worst elemental exposure.  Wife was thrilled with my Trailer survival prep, and now the toughest thing for us besides water pressure, is fining a patio to eat on.  My Dad and mom were down to 39 degrees indoors and my 90 year old Dad lost a few pound from shivering. Now getting support from wife's brother in the water and support department for her parents which was basically a half time job the last week or so.  Hope they don't have leaks as the pressure returns.

The one thing that is a bit of a mess is that the hot water line in the sink is not coming up to pressure as much as the cold.  I assume there is some sort of blockage and I will hillbilly engineer a back flush so try and remove what I assume is debris or scaling since it's only on the HOT side.

My father sent me a link to shark bites on Amazon saying there were some good repair videos.  These guys sell shit on Amazon but they had several plumbing quick fix option videos that might be able to help some of you in trouble.  https://www.amazon.com/shop/got2learn  Not endorsing their products but the videos seemed on point.  

I need to do a good search for repair materials as I have a few friends that need leak repairs that they can't yet find. Without pressure how can you find the damn leak?  I did buy a little camera called a Ferret that I needed for another project that I am hoping will help my friends see behind into cut out areas to try and find the leak sources without tearing the hell out of everything.  Keep your chins up! Water pressure is coming back up, and hopefully in another day or two pressure will be back to the point where we can do a countdown on the boil notice...

 

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1 hour ago, GhostOfTomJoad said:

Thanks for the tips. I think I'll wait until noon which should be a full 24 hours above freezing before slowly opening the spigots. My challenge will be detecting any leaks since one spigot is located in brick & the other in hardiplank. If I don't see obvious water leaking through the interior walls (brick's opposite wall is sheetrock to front office, hard is sheetrock to garage) I guess I'm just trying to determine if the flow is too low as an indicator of a leak.

If you can find someone with access to a FLIR camera, the thermal image is accurate to .5 degrees, and it will detect a leak through the wall. We have a friend that works for a home builder, he brought one home and has been going through homes in our neighborhood to check for leaks, but it's like trying to dip out the ocean with a Dixie cup. But he can go through a house in 5-10 minutes. If you bought one, you could pay for it a hundred times over.

CHIEF

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1 hour ago, GhostOfTomJoad said:

Thanks for the tips. I think I'll wait until noon which should be a full 24 hours above freezing before slowly opening the spigots. My challenge will be detecting any leaks since one spigot is located in brick & the other in hardiplank. If I don't see obvious water leaking through the interior walls (brick's opposite wall is sheetrock to front office, hard is sheetrock to garage) I guess I'm just trying to determine if the flow is too low as an indicator of a leak.

Until the flow is back up I would only do shorter term pipe tests.  IF you have a two story house, it's likely that you may not be able to pressurize the second story to the point of having any chance of finding a leak

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5 minutes ago, Enchubben said:

Should/can I try to fix thus myself or just call a plumber/irrigation guy? Part impossible to find?


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What does it feed below?  And how easy is it to connect/disconnect below?

Based on your comments about calling an irrigation guy, it sound like it feeds your irrigation system.  If so, I'd consider capping and solving later.

However, you might be forced to do what available parts allow you to do.  I was in HD and Lowes yesterday (78750) and they are entirely picked over for caps.  Some have ball valves; some don't.

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4 minutes ago, boilerhorn said:

What does it feed below?  And how easy is it to connect/disconnect below?

Based on your comments about calling an irrigation guy, it sound like it feeds your irrigation system.  If so, I'd consider capping and solving later.

However, you might be forced to do what available parts allow you to do.  I was in HD and Lowes yesterday (78750) and they are entirely picked over for caps.  Some have ball valves; some don't.

The pipe goes into the ground, it’s the water supply to sprinklers. The bell/assembly looks fine above it and with that valve closed, no issue with leaking so far.

B7D37A2F-DA6B-4963-8BC4-BBB6E022A2FF.thumb.jpeg.39d47e6d9abe92d51e157798321781ed.jpeg

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9 minutes ago, Enchubben said:

The pipe goes into the ground, it’s the water supply to sprinklers. The bell/assembly looks fine above it and with that valve closed, no issue with leaking so far.

B7D37A2F-DA6B-4963-8BC4-BBB6E022A2FF.thumb.jpeg.39d47e6d9abe92d51e157798321781ed.jpeg

I’ve now seen this a few times. What is this? I mean I know thru the comments it’s for irrigation but what’s it called. I’ve had several homes with irrigation and never seen this. Building a home now and working in some stuff I learned this week. 

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21 minutes ago, horn4life said:

Until the flow is back up I would only do shorter term pipe tests.  IF you have a two story house, it's likely that you may not be able to pressurize the second story to the point of having any chance of finding a leak

Well it looks like we pretty much won the lotto this go 'round. Two story house in CP and we've been showering (all full baths are on 2nd floor) all week with no drop in water pressure. This morning I cleaned up the asian jasmine that surrounds our water meter/street shut offs, cleaned out 6" of packed mud/dirt so I could get to the owner's shut off spigot (although I've got the valve tool to shut off on the City's side as well), took off the bib covers and all of the extra towels I'd wrapped them with, then gently cracked the spigots open. Both began trickling immediately. I just let them trickle for 5-10 seconds & did a visual inspection of the pipes. Everything looks good so far. I'll keep an eye on everything for the next few days, but damn do I feel like we dodged a bullet. I sincerely feel for those of you who are dealing with much more severe troubles. Other than re-hanging a fence gate & needing to have some broken (not cleanly; still attached to the trees) live oak limbs trimmed we're in good shape. Which makes me feel guilty as shit.

One thing that may have helped with our outdoor spigots--and I'll damn sure do again in the future--is that in addition to the covers and towels (one wrapped around the pipe & inside the cover, another bigger towel around the outside of the cover, duct taped, then covered in a ziploc bag & taped again), I built wind breaks using large, outdoor plastic tubs that I use for firewood and charcoal storage. I put patio furniture cushions over the wrapped spigots & then pushed those big tubs up tight against the cushions to hold them in place. Since the spigot on the front of the is on a north wall I wanted to do everything I could to block the wind from hitting it. It seems to have worked.

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5 hours ago, Judge Roybeanbag said:

Still I’m glad for the first time in 4 days I don’t have to dread the feeling of a turd forming.  

Every time I had to shit, the numbers went through my head on how many buckets of snow I needed to refill the tub with and/or melt to replace the tank full of water.

giphy.gif

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8 minutes ago, FizzleFish said:

I’ve now seen this a few times. What is this? I mean I know thru the comments it’s for irrigation but what’s it called. I’ve had several homes with irrigation and never seen this. Building a home now and working in some stuff I learned this week. 

Backflow preventer.  Kind of a recent code requirement of environmental origin.

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11 minutes ago, Enchubben said:

The pipe goes into the ground, it’s the water supply to sprinklers. The bell/assembly looks fine above it and with that valve closed, no issue with leaking so far.

Good that it does not leak when closed.

How it is connected below (under the wrap) is what will dictate the complexity of a DIY fix.  Looks like a common threaded ball valve at the top, but it does not show how it is connected below.  In my experience, *Most* irrigation repair is easy to DIY, esp. the above-ground stuff. 

If you are not comfortable w/ that kind of thing, ask your irrigation guy to fix.  He likely has parts and will be more affordable than a plumber (IMO).  You'll be lower on his list, as water is not pouring out of your system.

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If the unit is in the attic, it guarantees hot water pressure to the entire house. If it's on the ground floor, you could have pressure issues in the rooms furthest from it.
Nope, it's to save space, that's it.
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Made it through relatively unscathed, couple of plumbing issues but nothing catastrophic. 

Had a small crack in a valve on the water supply line to my tankless water heater that needs to be replaced. Luckily it was dripping straight into the drain pan, so nothing got wet. Additionally, there's a small leak coming from somewhere under the tub in the upstairs guest bathroom. Only an issue when you try to run it. Will require a little sheetrock to be cut out of the ceiling of the closet below it.

Luckily my house is only 3 months old and our builder is having the plumbing sub-contractor come out tomorrow to fix everything. They're so busy they're only accepting calls for houses where they've installed in the past 2 years. Water to the house is shut off until then, but fortunately the garage apartment is on a separate line, so we have access to a full bathroom and a dishwasher. Laundry really starting to pile up though.

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^

Thanks for the reminder.  Water back on late Saturday. Been compulsively checking the city meter to see that it doesn't move unless something is on.  however, a slight crack in the Water Heater piping or recirculating pump wouldn't register unless you stared at it for an hour.  I have sensors on the main drain pan but not the little one (never thought I'd need it).  I need to go check it in the attic a few times and go hunt down another sensor because when regular pressure comes back from City of Austin, a slight crack could still reveal itself.  Pos rep.

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Homeland Security, and 60 years worth of presidents have deemed agriculture a critical Infrastructure for the US, and a matter of National Security. We are the "bread basket" of the World. If money were to become worthless, food is the main barter item that the US has in abundance. I also hate the idea of subsidies, but you can't let good cropland go fallow, and become overgrown, it would take too long to make it productive in a national emergency. It is a necessary evil.
CHIEF


I don’t necessarily disagree with this, but those farmers and their neighbors are probably the first ones to argue against socialized anything, except their subsidies. And their Medicare. And their social security. [/NoCR]
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Both my tankless are fucked. Tenants didn't leave the hot running like I asked. 


Tenants are assholes. They probably didn’t do it because they were cheap. Next time offer them a rent reduction if there are no issues post-thaw.
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4 hours ago, 4th&Five said:

Go to Sprouts. All staples, water. 25 minutes to checkout but a lot shorter than heb. 

Got clued in that HEB opened at 8 (unannounced) so breezed thru. Got the essentials I needed and will make another run Thursday or Friday early to check the shelves. Hoping things start rolling in by then. 

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I think my tankless hot water heater has bit the dust. Good news is I have water in the house, my whole home filtration system had one filter crack (small one) but the tankless is kaput.
Have calls into multiple plumbers but they are swamped. Can only imagine what the charge for a new one is going to be.


You may want to order one now. They’re probably going to be in short supply for a while.

Should/can I try to fix thus myself or just call a plumber/irrigation guy? Part impossible to find?

50B1F05A-24BA-449D-A50C-57C39FCF43A7.thumb.jpeg.f06552db098a61eef9c63661fdef4bdb.jpeg


I’d fix it myself if you can isolate water flow and unthread the valve.

Nope, it's to save space, that's it.


This. That’s an extra closet in the hallway, which has value.
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3 minutes ago, BradInATX said:

Y'all think I can save this cactus?


rip in peace

80900936e044c18fb6a87f45f25ba3c4.jpg

Go throw that shit someplace else and it will probably sprout.  

 

5 minutes ago, DCA_HORN said:
1 hour ago, Paco said:
Nope, it's to save space, that's it.

Saves space but really it's because most of the year here, the attic is much hotter than the rest of the house and saves a bit on the heating cost.

Yeah but the minimum $5000 in damage it causes when something breaks and it floods offsets any savings.

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33 minutes ago, luke duke said:

 


Tenants are assholes. They probably didn’t do it because they were cheap. Next time offer them a rent reduction if there are no issues post-thaw.

 

They are the ones with no hot water not me. 

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9 minutes ago, luke duke said:

 


You may want to order one now. They’re probably going to be in short supply for a while.



I’d fix it myself if you can isolate water flow and unthread the valve.



This. That’s an extra closet in the hallway, which has value.

 

When you say isolate the water flow, I’m assuming you mean turn the water main off at the street right? I don’t know that there is another place to do that. 

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1 hour ago, Lobo said:

I need to go check it in the attic a few times and go hunt down another sensor because when regular pressure comes back from City of Austin, a slight crack could still reveal itself.  Pos rep.

I think we have higher-than normal pressure right now, which actually concerned me a bit.

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1 hour ago, luke duke said:

Tenants are assholes. They probably didn’t do it because they were cheap. Next time offer them a rent reduction if there are no issues post-thaw.

Or they are young and don't know better.  We have friends who are working out-of-state, and renting out their condo to a young couple, and I'm helping said friends when the tenants have problems that I can fix.  

It took me a couple of times talking to the couple before it finally sunk in that this was going to be some serious shit.  I know they were thinking of me like this early on:

007.gif

But the condo two doors down from them got some serious water damage because the condo three doors down fucked around and found out.

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22 hours ago, Biff Tannen said:

It’s fun and embarrassing to realize how little I know about household shit thru this past week. 

Reading this thread makes me feel like a Handyman savant. But I'm sure whatever disaster '21 has in store for me will involve something I'm incompetent at (lots of possibilities).

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1 hour ago, luke duke said:

 


You may want to order one now. They’re probably going to be in short supply for a while.



I’d fix it myself if you can isolate water flow and unthread the valve.



This. That’s an extra closet in the hallway, which has value.

 

Especially now that everyone wants the biggest house that will fit on a given lot.  Aaand cities have begun to restrict how much of the lot can be covered.  Ain't nobody giving up a whole closet for better positioning of WH.

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2 hours ago, FizzleFish said:

I’ve now seen this a few times. What is this? I mean I know thru the comments it’s for irrigation but what’s it called. I’ve had several homes with irrigation and never seen this. Building a home now and working in some stuff I learned this week. 

You may have had it and not known. Mine is underground beneath a cover near the main water valve at the street. 

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16 hours ago, EfficientlyCorrectly said:

That is not the reason the hot water heater is in the attic. I have owned several houses and all the water heaters have been in the basement, There has never been a water pressure problem in any of the houses. Nearly all of the United States and Canada where homes are built with basements have their water heaters in the basement.
I have to say, putting a water heater in the attic is just plain STUPID. This is done because a builder wants to save money. It is how you do it when you want to do it on the CHEAP! It's incredibly foolish to do such a thing. If a leak occurs you get water damage. A good builder who actually cares about the future of the house would never put a hot water heater in the attic. It is STUPID.

It is likely you can count the number of houses in Texas that have basements on one hand or close to it.   Slab is standard here so attic is where hot water heater goes.

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22 minutes ago, The Ace of Aces said:

I’d never buy a house with a water heater in the attic. Epically dumb move just to save a little floor space. That’s a bigger turn off than a house sans garage and an all-electric house, and those a no gos as well 

Friend of a friends house in Sunset Valley got through most of the storm ok but yesterday the water heater IN THEIR ATTIC sprung a leak and gave all the floors below the full length. Epic water damage. I still can’t grasp the logic of having one in an elevated part of a home. 

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Turns out it wasn't the hose to my washing machine that cracked and was leaking water everywhere but actually the water valve assembly inside the machine that had a small crack. Put the new cold water hose on and turned the water on a bit to be met with water spraying out again. Took the metal backing off and saw where the crack was. The assembly is a plastic piece where the water hoses connect on the back of the washer. The assembly also has 4 prongs that connect to the different water temperature regulators (hot, cold, tap cold) and the power supply. So I have that on order from Amazon since all the local parts places are closed today. $50 as compared to a brand new washer isn't bad. 

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^

Good catch.  Even with high-end washers, the valve assembly is often done on the cheap. That was another thing that worried me yesterday because our inlet valve and where the supply hoses, etc. all that faces a Northern wall that gets really freakin' cold.  Usually it's nice and toasty because the dryer vent is right next door, but with no power we tried to insulate it outside and inside as best we could with pillows/cushions.  Thankfully no cracking once I flushed it.  But then...we haven't done a full load of laundry yet due to the water notice and just trying to be good neighbors for those behind us with no water yet.  

How long is your anticipated delivery on that?  We likely have different models but curious if there's a run on those right now.  I may try to proactively order

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water came back this morning.  followed the redbud plumbing advice for restart.  telltale ran while outdoor spigot was flowing.  shut it off and telltale stopped.  not counting chickens yet but it looks like I dodged the bullet in the house.  the back shed with sink has some water on floor but it might just be melt.  no big deal there.  big thing is it appears the pool pump and plumbing survived as well.

team no drip outside/drip inside/shutoff when water went away.

pretty lucky if this holds.  thank you gas fireplace.

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2 hours ago, ABSR said:

It is likely you can count the number of houses in Texas that have basements on one hand or close to it.   Slab is standard here so attic is where hot water heater goes.

 

19 hours ago, EfficientlyCorrectly said:

That is not the reason the hot water heater is in the attic. I have owned several houses and all the water heaters have been in the basement, There has never been a water pressure problem in any of the houses. Nearly all of the United States and Canada where homes are built with basements have their water heaters in the basement.
I have to say, putting a water heater in the attic is just plain STUPID. This is done because a builder wants to save money. It is how you do it when you want to do it on the CHEAP! It's incredibly foolish to do such a thing. If a leak occurs you get water damage. A good builder who actually cares about the future of the house would never put a hot water heater in the attic. It is STUPID.

is it that hard?  is it really that fucking hard?  jfc on a popsicle stick.

/trivial shit

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