Bitter COLD in Oklahoma!

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Apr 14, 2008
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So do they a lot of houses in Texas with water pipes in the ceilings? I'm seeing all these stories of people's busted water pipes and collapsed ceilings. This is exactly why that's a horrible idea. Is that a Texas thing or a new house thing in general? F all that.
It's a Texas thing. Water heaters in attics, and circuit breaker panels outdoors...I hate that!

Tue evening it got so cold here in Hou that when we went to bed I had all faucets and showers/tubs dripping with both hot and cold and still froze up. I have a manifold system with PEX piping (thank the Lord) and a large bundle loops back up into attic and services the other half of house. Thankfully the piping is distributed in bundled pairs because I was able to get the hot water flowing again and it acted like a heat trace on the cold lines to get those flowing again. Even after that it kept slowing down. Wed 3am the power came on and we bolted to turn on heat to like 73'F. Once it came up to temp I cracked attic open and was able to thaw everything out. Our homes are designed to shed heat, not retain it.

The incredibly frustrating thing was not only no power, freezing temps and piping, but no cell service...complete breakdown in infrastructure. Beginning Mon AM, power went out, our mobile phones had intermittent service, no data, no internet. Mon evening power came on for an hour or two. Then dark until Wed 3am, then dark again around dinner, then back on since Wed 11pm with phone service restored around an hour later. Internet restored at about 5p Thu.

It was very similar to Hurricane Harvey in the sense that the damages/inconveniences were highly dependent upon where you lived. For example, one evening my wife returned to our neighborhood to see power restored and her jubilation was quickly subdued when she turned the corner to see that it was only the front half of our neighborhood, and we were still in the dark.

I can't wait to hear the results of the inquiry to ERCOT because these were not rolling blackouts per se. Some patches had consistent power (like around hospitals, first responders, etc...to be expected) while others had zero power throughout.

Don't know anything about the winterization recommendations that were previously made by Feds, but ERCOT is starting to sound a lot like the Flood District folks in Houston. Everyone knows there's a problem but nothing ever gets done, meanwhile the problem gets bigger as population grows more than anywhere else in US.
 

jetman

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For example, one evening my wife returned to our neighborhood to see power restored and her jubilation was quickly subdued when she turned the corner to see that it was only the front half of our neighborhood, and we were still in the dark.
Man, I know this exact feeling. In the Oct. icestorm here in Oklahoma, we were without power 4 days. The rest of our edition got their power back in 2 days. My block is tucked back in the middle of the edition, so I we had to come home those extra 2 nights to everyone's house lit up only to turn the corner and see total darkness on our block.
 

Birry

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It's a Texas thing. Water heaters in attics, and circuit breaker panels outdoors...I hate that!

Tue evening it got so cold here in Hou that when we went to bed I had all faucets and showers/tubs dripping with both hot and cold and still froze up. I have a manifold system with PEX piping (thank the Lord) and a large bundle loops back up into attic and services the other half of house. Thankfully the piping is distributed in bundled pairs because I was able to get the hot water flowing again and it acted like a heat trace on the cold lines to get those flowing again. Even after that it kept slowing down. Wed 3am the power came on and we bolted to turn on heat to like 73'F. Once it came up to temp I cracked attic open and was able to thaw everything out. Our homes are designed to shed heat, not retain it.

The incredibly frustrating thing was not only no power, freezing temps and piping, but no cell service...complete breakdown in infrastructure. Beginning Mon AM, power went out, our mobile phones had intermittent service, no data, no internet. Mon evening power came on for an hour or two. Then dark until Wed 3am, then dark again around dinner, then back on since Wed 11pm with phone service restored around an hour later. Internet restored at about 5p Thu.

It was very similar to Hurricane Harvey in the sense that the damages/inconveniences were highly dependent upon where you lived. For example, one evening my wife returned to our neighborhood to see power restored and her jubilation was quickly subdued when she turned the corner to see that it was only the front half of our neighborhood, and we were still in the dark.

I can't wait to hear the results of the inquiry to ERCOT because these were not rolling blackouts per se. Some patches had consistent power (like around hospitals, first responders, etc...to be expected) while others had zero power throughout.

Don't know anything about the winterization recommendations that were previously made by Feds, but ERCOT is starting to sound a lot like the Flood District folks in Houston. Everyone knows there's a problem but nothing ever gets done, meanwhile the problem gets bigger as population grows more than anywhere else in US.
Not just a Texas thing, apparently. One of my coworkers lives in a home built buy a local "reputable builder" in the OKC area, and he had a pipe break in his attic a couple of years ago due to inadequate insulation. It flooded his entire kitchen and living room badly, and the builder had to pay for the damages. Apparently it was a sprinkler pipe.

Then he sent us a pic yesterday of the exact same thing happening at his sister's house somewhere in the OKC area. Sprinkler pipe exploded in the attic, but it's still frozen, so it just looks like snow and ice everywhere in the attic (for now).
 

oks10

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Not just a Texas thing, apparently. One of my coworkers lives in a home built buy a local "reputable builder" in the OKC area, and he had a pipe break in his attic a couple of years ago due to inadequate insulation. It flooded his entire kitchen and living room badly, and the builder had to pay for the damages. Apparently it was a sprinkler pipe.

Then he sent us a pic yesterday of the exact same thing happening at his sister's house somewhere in the OKC area. Sprinkler pipe exploded in the attic, but it's still frozen, so it just looks like snow and ice everywhere in the attic (for now).
Well Birry, where else are they going to put a sprinkler pipe?... ;) I don't think anyone here is running regular water lines through the attic though, at least not in newer developments. Even my parent's house that was built in the 80's has all the plumbing in the foundation. The only line in the attic is the water line to the fridge which was obviously added later because it runs over the kitchen and taps off the sink.

I've got a friend in Choctaw and I don't know if it's because they don't have fire hydrants in the neighborhood or if there's not a fire station nearby but they require all homes built there to have an indoor fire suppression system. Not a cheap neighborhood either. I would hope that means when these pipes are in attics and not just between floor levels that they would be using a good amount of insulation there.
 

Birry

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Well Birry, where else are they going to put a sprinkler pipe?... ;) I don't think anyone here is running regular water lines through the attic though, at least not in newer developments. Even my parent's house that was built in the 80's has all the plumbing in the foundation. The only line in the attic is the water line to the fridge which was obviously added later because it runs over the kitchen and taps off the sink.

I've got a friend in Choctaw and I don't know if it's because they don't have fire hydrants in the neighborhood or if there's not a fire station nearby but they require all homes built there to have an indoor fire suppression system. Not a cheap neighborhood either. I would hope that means when these pipes are in attics and not just between floor levels that they would be using a good amount of insulation there.
Yeah, same for my coworker. It's a neighborhood requirement since they are a certain distance from fire department or hydrant or something.
 
Sep 12, 2008
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Earthquake!!

Hopefully the stimulus checks will get here soon so everyone can pay their power, water and gas bills next month.
 

Pokit N

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You can get a generator that runs everything in your house a lot cheaper and it will work so much better
Stop ruining my dreams! :D

What are yours or the rest of the boards thoughts on a whole house generator? My neighbor has one (a generac) Our power has never been out for more than 10 minutes in the 2+ yrs I've lived in my house, but the last year has shown anything can happen.
 

Donnyboy

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Stop ruining my dreams! :D

What are yours or the rest of the boards thoughts on a whole house generator? My neighbor has one (a generac) Our power has never been out for more than 10 minutes in the 2+ yrs I've lived in my house, but the last year has shown anything can happen.
It becomes a cost decision.....if you can get a gererator that runs all you need in the house. AC/Fridge/lights in several rooms for x and a whole house is 3x then don't do that cause as you said you may never need it. If it's 1.2x absolutely get the larger one.
 
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sc5mu93

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Stop ruining my dreams! :D

What are yours or the rest of the boards thoughts on a whole house generator? My neighbor has one (a generac) Our power has never been out for more than 10 minutes in the 2+ yrs I've lived in my house, but the last year has shown anything can happen.
I'm in North Houston, and I priced out a Generac whole home about a year and a half ago. My area is plagued with random good weather power outages, so I was interested. After pricing it out, I think entry level, with pad, generator, switching equipment, and gas line run, it was like $12K. $12K buys a lot of hotel rooms.

Previous owner of my home was burned by Hurricane Ike, and had some anticipatory measures put in when he added an outdoor kitchen. I don't know if his expected use was/would be the same as mine, but this is what he did.

When installing the outdoor kitchen, he had electrician add subpanel to breaker box. Subpanel includes new breakers for outdoor kitchen, plus 30Amp breaker for generator input. On the exterior wall opposite the subpanel, electrician installed 4 prong 120/240V plug for generator. With this addition, when power goes out, you have easy access to plug generator directly into your home electrical circuit (obviously KILL THE MAIN before doing so, otherwise you can injure or kill electrical service personnel, and likewise, when on main power, disable the GEN breaker so the plug outside isn't energized). If you can, there are switches that disable the main automatically when the generator breaker is on. This is a good idea.

With the outdoor kitchen, the previous owner added a natural gas quick disconnect for his crawfish boil burner, so it can be swapped out for other burners.

I bought a 12000 watt dual fuel generator (back in april when I was looking at hurricane season during a pandemic), and converted it to Natural Gas (there are after market kits) with quick disconnect.

I was able to energize and keep my furnace, fridge, internets, and coffee machine working through the entire Houston energy episode on my generator. The generator doesn't have an oil filter, so maintenance shutdowns were necessary, but overall we did okay. I do believe keeping the heat on is what saved us from having catastrophic water freezing/plumbing issues. A lot of our neighbors are staring at homes that are currently unlivable with huge repair bills.

So all in all my cost for the generator plus conversion plus cabling (very important <- get appropriate cabling so you don't incinerate your cables), i was in for about $1200 vs $12K. I recommend that everyone at least get the gen subpanel installed. It really opens up what you can do in emergency conditions, without running extension cables all over the place.
 

sc5mu93

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I'm in North Houston, and I priced out a Generac whole home about a year and a half ago. My area is plagued with random good weather power outages, so I was interested. After pricing it out, I think entry level, with pad, generator, switching equipment, and gas line run, it was like $12K. $12K buys a lot of hotel rooms.

Previous owner of my home was burned by Hurricane Ike, and had some anticipatory measures put in when he added an outdoor kitchen. I don't know if his expected use was/would be the same as mine, but this is what he did.

When installing the outdoor kitchen, he had electrician add subpanel to breaker box. Subpanel includes new breakers for outdoor kitchen, plus 30Amp breaker for generator input. On the exterior wall opposite the subpanel, electrician installed 4 prong 120/240V plug for generator. With this addition, when power goes out, you have easy access to plug generator directly into your home electrical circuit (obviously KILL THE MAIN before doing so, otherwise you can injure or kill electrical service personnel, and likewise, when on main power, disable the GEN breaker so the plug outside isn't energized). If you can, there are switches that disable the main automatically when the generator breaker is on. This is a good idea.

With the outdoor kitchen, the previous owner added a natural gas quick disconnect for his crawfish boil burner, so it can be swapped out for other burners.

I bought a 12000 watt dual fuel generator (back in april when I was looking at hurricane season during a pandemic), and converted it to Natural Gas (there are after market kits) with quick disconnect.

I was able to energize and keep my furnace, fridge, internets, and coffee machine working through the entire Houston energy episode on my generator. The generator doesn't have an oil filter, so maintenance shutdowns were necessary, but overall we did okay. I do believe keeping the heat on is what saved us from having catastrophic water freezing/plumbing issues. A lot of our neighbors are staring at homes that are currently unlivable with huge repair bills.

So all in all my cost for the generator plus conversion plus cabling (very important <- get appropriate cabling so you don't incinerate your cables), i was in for about $1200 vs $12K. I recommend that everyone at least get the gen subpanel installed. It really opens up what you can do in emergency conditions, without running extension cables all over the place.
oh, and right now my smug is off the charts. Wife was pissed i spent 1200 dollars on this back in April. During the 32 hour outage under freezing outdoor temps, she apologized.
 

Pokit N

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I'm in North Houston, and I priced out a Generac whole home about a year and a half ago. My area is plagued with random good weather power outages, so I was interested. After pricing it out, I think entry level, with pad, generator, switching equipment, and gas line run, it was like $12K. $12K buys a lot of hotel rooms.

Previous owner of my home was burned by Hurricane Ike, and had some anticipatory measures put in when he added an outdoor kitchen. I don't know if his expected use was/would be the same as mine, but this is what he did.

When installing the outdoor kitchen, he had electrician add subpanel to breaker box. Subpanel includes new breakers for outdoor kitchen, plus 30Amp breaker for generator input. On the exterior wall opposite the subpanel, electrician installed 4 prong 120/240V plug for generator. With this addition, when power goes out, you have easy access to plug generator directly into your home electrical circuit (obviously KILL THE MAIN before doing so, otherwise you can injure or kill electrical service personnel, and likewise, when on main power, disable the GEN breaker so the plug outside isn't energized). If you can, there are switches that disable the main automatically when the generator breaker is on. This is a good idea.

With the outdoor kitchen, the previous owner added a natural gas quick disconnect for his crawfish boil burner, so it can be swapped out for other burners.

I bought a 12000 watt dual fuel generator (back in april when I was looking at hurricane season during a pandemic), and converted it to Natural Gas (there are after market kits) with quick disconnect.

I was able to energize and keep my furnace, fridge, internets, and coffee machine working through the entire Houston energy episode on my generator. The generator doesn't have an oil filter, so maintenance shutdowns were necessary, but overall we did okay. I do believe keeping the heat on is what saved us from having catastrophic water freezing/plumbing issues. A lot of our neighbors are staring at homes that are currently unlivable with huge repair bills.

So all in all my cost for the generator plus conversion plus cabling (very important <- get appropriate cabling so you don't incinerate your cables), i was in for about $1200 vs $12K. I recommend that everyone at least get the gen subpanel installed. It really opens up what you can do in emergency conditions, without running extension cables all over the place.
Ok...so you swapped your generator to NG and already had a quick hook up for it from the prior owners improvements is that what I'm reading?
 

Binman4OSU

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So all in all my cost for the generator plus conversion plus cabling (very important <- get appropriate cabling so you don't incinerate your cables), i was in for about $1200 vs $12K. I recommend that everyone at least get the gen subpanel installed. It really opens up what you can do in emergency conditions, without running extension cables all over the place.
We are currently saving up to install a pad/electrical/water for a hot tub and gazebo in the back with a bar area. I think I will add a gen subpanel to be installed in this same area and get a panel installed for all the outdoor things with options to add Generator later. Thanks for the input!
 

sc5mu93

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Ok...so you swapped your generator to NG and already had a quick hook up for it from the prior owners improvements is that what I'm reading?
yes. I recognize most wont have that, which is why I think between the fuel source and the subpanel, the subpanel is by far more useful. you can get dual fuel (propane or gasoline) generators - but the interface into your electrical subsystem would really limit what you can do with them. Get the interface first, before you mess with fuel source. IMO.
 
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Stop ruining my dreams! :D

What are yours or the rest of the boards thoughts on a whole house generator? My neighbor has one (a generac) Our power has never been out for more than 10 minutes in the 2+ yrs I've lived in my house, but the last year has shown anything can happen.
Depends on the situation. I resisted for a long time and finally bit the bullet recently. 24kw generac turnkey came in at just over $11k. We live 12 miles from nearest town and outages are becoming more frequent and tend to last longer. We were out for almost three weeks during the big ice storm several years ago. We also have livestock to consider.
 

Pokit N

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yes. I recognize most wont have that, which is why I think between the fuel source and the subpanel, the subpanel is by far more useful. you can get dual fuel (propane or gasoline) generators - but the interface into your electrical subsystem would really limit what you can do with them. Get the interface first, before you mess with fuel source. IMO.
A good buddy of mine is an electrician. I'll have him come out in the next few weeks, assess the situation weigh my options etc.
 

sc5mu93

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A good buddy of mine is an electrician. I'll have him come out in the next few weeks, assess the situation weigh my options etc.
yeah - wait until the clean up work is done. those people need it more, and it will help your pocket book. :) But plumbers right now are BANKING.
 

Pokit N

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yeah - wait until the clean up work is done. those people need it more, and it will help your pocket book. :) But plumbers right now are BANKING.
Well, I'm not in Texas. We've had 3 Ft of snow in the last 3 weeks (the most since 1979) and bitter cold weather too, but its basically business as usual here!