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What's With This Weather

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Here is one way to keep your gas furnace running with a generator. I added a 15A 125VAC outlet and an additional isolation switch for each of my 2 HVAC units. I can inject generator power thru the outlet and use the switch to isolate it from back feeding up the powerline (very important safety precaution). Switching off the corresponding breakers at the power distribution panel does the same, but I prefer having the redundancy.
HVAC 1.jpg


With both unit's heat cycle ON and the air handler blower motor running, they were only drawing less than 400watts. Just about any generator will supply enough to keep them running - as long as I have NG coming to the house.
HVAC 2.jpg


I can also feed generator power directly into the power distribution panel and use the house wiring instead of extension cords. Even with a manual transfer switch, there are some drawbacks and additional safety precautions with doing it that way. I like having the option to go either way.

Absolute best set up would be with a large stationary NG/Propane generator hooked up with an automatic transfer switch. Being able to run the whole house indefinitely on a quiet genny would be the bee's knees. Beaucoup $$$, of course.
 
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That's what kept me from swapping, the gas line. But if the 160k btu is equivalent to the 50gal that is awesome.
How is it holding up to Houston tap water? Another thing I had read was the cleaning cycles needed to de-calcify it.
It's hard to compare tankless with conventional heater. With the old 50gal, we can run out of hot water after 3 of us taking showers consecutively... especially, if the two long-haired ones go first. :roll: But... 3 of us can be taking showers at the same time. With the tankless, we can take showers forever, as long as the NG line is flowing. But... 160k BTU isn't enough to supply 3 showers at the same time on a normal "winter" day. This past week... probably not even 2 showers at the same time. The colder the incoming water, the lower the capacity.

We've had the tankless for a couple of seasons now, and I must say I much much prefer the relative pros/cons with the tankless.

I have enough room to add another unit if I really want to, but seeing as my oldest is already in college and only back home a few months out of the year, future demand is likely to reduce, not increase.

As for calcification, I was mindful of that from the very beginning. When I had the house built back in 2002, I requested - and paid for - plumbing prep for a water softener in the utility room. As soon as I moved in, I installed a water softener. All but the outside sillcocks receive soft water. I believe it's why my 50gal heater lasted 17-18yrs. They typically don't last that long, especially for a builder's grade unit. I never once did any maintenance work on it. With hard water, that would've been a different story.
 
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The double valve is a dang good idea, and as said above there is a periodic cleaning to be done and that will help with the mess.
 
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Well, today was starting the water again day at my houses. I have 2: a vacant rent house in town and my home out in the faux country. I turned off the water to the rent house before the big freeze. I have a tankless water heater mounted on the exterior wall and it's rated for 20º. I was concerned that wouldn't survive, so I turned the water off and drained the lines to the best of my ability. To my knowledge, the rent house never lost power. Today @Tim Scholz and his wife Tammy came over just in case a line had a crack in it. We staged around the house and I slowly opened the valve in the meter box. I barely had it cracked when water started gushing out of the side of the meter. Everything else was great and the hot water heater kicked on when we opened the hot water tap inside. So I turned the water off and called the city. It took 30 minutes on hold before reaching Jesus, the customer service rep. He was great and said they were super busy and might not be able to get out there until Sunday or Monday. I was pretty pleased. You know these people are swamped (pun intended) dealing with leaks. I was sorta expecting a week long wait.

Then I traveled home. I was expecting frozen pipes at my house for sure. My power failed at 5:00am on Monday and didn't come back until 10:00pm on Wednesday. And Tuesday morning it was 1ºf. And I have exposed pipes from the well. I had also noted a significant pile of ice on the exterior wall under a hose bib. Not good. So today, I fired up the well and was very surprised (and pleased) that there were no leaks in the exposed line. However, when I checked the icy hose bib water was gushing from under the cover. So I turned off the water and started mentally figuring out how to fix this problem. About that time, Tim called and was asking questions. So I went out to look at the faucet and when I took the cover off, I noticed the valve was open. That might explain why water was flowing. So I shut the valve and turned the water back on to the house and a miracle: no leaks around the faucet. So 2 frost bullets dodged. Tomorrow I examine the pool. Will I get lucky again? I'll let you know.

A emergency backup generator would be great, but how much am I willing to spend to prepare for a 100 year event? I have a small one, but not large enough to power the well. And its not wired into the house, so I essentially leave it in the driveway and run extension cords (beefy ones) into the house. I have used the generator in the past to keep my refrigerator running. That wasn't an issue this storm as my garage was in the 30's and my porch was below freezing while the power was off.
 

bwdmax

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Got my parents water back on today. They had a nipple going to a hose bib broken. I tried to repair it Wednesday night but I couldn’t get the nipple out of the wall. I plugged the nipple with epoxy Wednesday night but it still had a slow leak in the wall so we just shut it back off and waited for the weather to pass. Today was time to tear into it.
732114C7-E0B6-441D-BD6A-CCA750E0D218.jpeg

C9795889-3ECC-4CD2-9388-D170D72917E1.jpeg

Solder joint was leaking at the fittings from tubing to screw connection.
FA00AD99-689B-46E7-81C3-145D04AA3596.jpeg

A little solder and a new nipple and hose bib. Water on and they were excited to be able to shower and mom was ready to do some laundry.

Now I’ll make sure everything is dry then I’ll put on my brick layers hat.
 
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Everything back to normal here , when we lost utility power the generator came on . Water well and the water lines in the house never froze . Went to neighbors house yesterday and he has major water well and pipe issues due to not preparing for the weather. Soon as he can find fittings and pvc pipe we be back on his problems.
 

Texasrider58

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Be a decent day to get the AT for a spin. No apparent pipe damage yet. Have been doing some planning to put the well on line as a back up. Life teaches us to not procrastinate.
 

M38A1

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My place appears to have come through with only minor problems in the big picture to include a bunch of downed tree limbs from the ice/snow/ice/snow part of the event. My internal faucets all held up with sporadic heat and leaving the cabinet doors open/faucets dripping. And my two external faucets appear to have survived with my little "shop light/60w bulb in a box" hack. The plants and garden are toast and I noticed some cracks in my sheetrock on part of the ceiling from the added weight of all the ice and snow.

My aging parents on the other hand have so far 1 out of their 5 external faucets burst so their water is now off. They'll get that one fixed today and pressurize the system and go on to numbers 2 through 5 to see what happens.

My plumber is scheduled for Tuesday morning to address the work situation. I don't have much faith the problem is only the two so far identified....
 
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I clock my water meter. I turn every faucet off after bleeding air out. I also shut cut offs behind toilets to eliminate flapper leaks. I also shut off cutoffs under all sinks and at washing machine. . Then I take a meter reading on tenths of gallons . Come back in an hour or overnight and see if water meter numbers have moved. The new electronic water meters are especially accurate. They sometimes require a flashlight to display gallons. If it holds I see no need to do pressure test on my house, Mine held meter reading for at least 8 hours.. But every individual should do whatever they can to be sure there are no small leaks. Pop off or pressure relief valves on hot water heater are a leak source also. Plumbers use this method as well. Also, I pull aerators off faucets to bleed air so they won't get stopped up.
 
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installed a water softener.
Good to hear. Good luck with the tankless 🤞. They are neat.

We only had a low of 13⁰ or so. Not as bad as all north of me. not much defence for those 1 ⁰ temps. I spent 2 days before the cold preping pipes wells pumps plants etc. Like everyone ,didn't think about power collapse for days although I did already have stock supply of fresh and grey water and propane source heat.

Another round of great generator sales to come. People have too much investment in their homes to risk on a unreliable power system.
 
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I clock my water meter. I turn every faucet off after bleeding air out. I also shut cut offs behind toilets to eliminate flapper leaks. I also shut off cutoffs under all sinks and at washing machine. . Then I take a meter reading on tenths of gallons . Come back in an hour or overnight and see if water meter numbers have moved. The new electronic water meters are especially accurate. They sometimes require a flashlight to display gallons. If it holds I see no need to do pressure test on my house, Mine held meter reading for at least 8 hours.. But every individual should do whatever they can to be sure there are no small leaks. Pop off or pressure relief valves on hot water heater are a leak source also. Plumbers use this method as well. Also, I pull aerators off faucets to bleed air so they won't get stopped up.
I have a outbuilding old trailer that I didn't equip with a drain out when I fixed the pipes last time. I intentionally drilled a small hole and drained the lines in a convenient spot so that I could fix it it when it froze this time since I knew it would happen for sure .
 
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Good to hear. Good luck with the tankless 🤞. They are neat.

We only had a low of 13⁰ or so. Not as bad as all north of me. not much defence for those 1 ⁰ temps. I spent 2 days before the cold preping pipes wells pumps plants etc. Like everyone ,didn't think about power collapse for days although I did already have stock supply of fresh and grey water and propane source heat.

Another round of great generator sales to come. People have too much investment in their homes to risk on a unreliable power system.
Agreed! Standby on order. I don't see this as a 100 year event, could easily occur more often. Whatever the reason, our climate is changing. I am doing as much to stay comfortable as I can. Its not just the cold, we also deal with hurricanes. Far too often lately.
 

LaserDave

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Agreed! Standby on order. I don't see this as a 100 year event

Seeing how fragile the Texas grid can be should be motivating for a lot of people. Apparently I'm the only person on this block with a generator, and some neighbor thinks I'm a doomsday prepper? Really?? Ummm.... I'm a want to stay warm or cool and not have my food rot kinda person.
 
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When I bought my last welding machine I got it with a 10,000 generator. I ran a bunch of extension cords, but I’ll build a interface for the house. I made a list of “tweaks” I’ll make before next winter. The power and water were both off here for three days.
 

Tracker

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Given it's TX and we're growing stoopid fast, you may not get to wait until next winter. The rolling blackouts of Kalifornia are probably moving here. Summers of 1980? 2011? Tornadoes, Hurricane Harvey.
 
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Well, the city first showed up today and the guy called me. I asked if he changed the meter yet. No, I'm just here to investigate the problem. I'll put in a work order today. Maybe they'll show up this afternoon.

The main takeaway I have from this ordeal are the following:

1) have a water distribution manifold so I can isolate sections of the house
2) have a drain for those sections so I can drain either the whole house or certain sections
3) Don't have pipes on the exterior walls.
 
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And its a proven fact, wind turbines don't produce power when there is no wind and solar doesn't produce power when there is no sun or they are covered. So neither are a reliable source of power without either a storage system or back up system.

Of course there is no free lunch. Every system has its downside.
 

TNC

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And its a proven fact, wind turbines don't produce power when there is no wind and solar doesn't produce power when there is no sun or they are covered. So neither are a reliable source of power without either a storage system or back up system.

Of course there is no free lunch. Every system has its downside.
You're correct on the storage system...hopefully a reliable, affordable capacitive storage technology will be the norm someday. I have no issue with wind or solar, but without a huge storage capability they can never be the "all your eggs in one basket" solution.
 
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And its a proven fact, wind turbines don't produce power when there is no wind and solar doesn't produce power when there is no sun or they are covered. So neither are a reliable source of power without either a storage system or back up system.

Of course there is no free lunch. Every system has its downside.
No free lunch, but solar panels still work on cloudy days. Obviously, they are not at maximum efficiency, but electricity is still produced. There is also typically a battery storage system. Did I take the post too literal?
 

Jeff S

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Well, the city first showed up today and the guy called me. I asked if he changed the meter yet. No, I'm just here to investigate the problem. I'll put in a work order today. Maybe they'll show up this afternoon.

The main takeaway I have from this ordeal are the following:

1) have a water distribution manifold so I can isolate sections of the house
2) have a drain for those sections so I can drain either the whole house or certain sections
3) Don't have pipes on the exterior walls.

I'd LOVE that, but retro-fitting that into an existing house ain't gonna happen. I don't even have a good, low-point drain, so one of my big TODO's is to create an adapter so I can purge the waterlines with air from a compressor.
 
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