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What does a coastal Texan in arctic weather do?


aggie96
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6 hours ago, RegGuheert said:

That would worry me, as well.  Has the bathroom tap cleared, yet?

No,, the bathroom tap water is still cloudy.  It does clear upon sitting.  

We have never lost power.  The only other pipe issue that we suspect is that water would not come out of our refrigerator dispenser.  We have never had problems with that before.  Today, we are still below freezing, but water is coming out of that.  We don't know if that water runs under the house or is in some other way exposed to colder air (and we can't drip the refrigerator dispenser) like we did some other faucets.  

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

We have never lost power.  The only other pipe issue that we suspect is that water would not come out of our refrigerator dispenser.  We have never had problems with that before.  Today, we are still below freezing, but water is coming out of that.  We don't know if that water runs under the house or is in some other way exposed to colder air (and we can't drip the refrigerator dispenser) like we did some other faucets.

FWIW, we have had that little 1/4" plastic tube that feeds the refrigerator freeze in the past.  Hopefully if that happened to you, it is in a location where it will not do any damage.  Ours was underneath the house in a crawl space, so it was not a problem.  I don't know how that might be routed in a Texas home.

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My elderly parents in Texas have been without electricity and water since midnight Saturday.  I am stuck across the country from them and feel so very helpless...

It has been hard to read and listen to all of the blame games and finger pointing, when I really just want for people to get help and be safe.  
 

Prayers for everyone in Texas dealing with such awful conditions right now, and a huge thank you to all who have shown such compassion for your fellow man.

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39 minutes ago, Hadley said:

My elderly parents in Texas have been without electricity and water since midnight Saturday.  I am stuck across the country from them and feel so very helpless...

It has been hard to read and listen to all of the blame games and finger pointing, when I really just want for people to get help and be safe.  
 

Prayers for everyone in Texas dealing with such awful conditions right now, and a huge thank you to all who have shown such compassion for your fellow man.

I'm so sorry to hear that your parents have been without power and water for so long.  I am in DFW but my mother is in San Antonio   and has been without power quite a bit, and it is difficult knowing that I couldn't get there to help because of road conditions.  In Texas we are used to being able to jump in the car for a 275 mile drive at the drop of a hat.  

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You know, this is the first time in my life that we’ve had more than one snow/ice event a winter and hasn’t only lasted 48 hours or less, and I’m getting closer to 40.
 

We had a big snow event (like a couple of inches) the year before I was born.  We had a big ice event when I was in elementary school because I remember the mailbox being completely encased in ice.  We got a snow the year my DD was born (a couple inches).  Then we got snow 2 years ago (3-4 inches).  Then got snow last month (6 inches) and now snow again.   

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We're on day 4 of no water. The water we originally filled in the bathtub is dwindling, so yesterday after the snow/ice started melting we collected about 30 gallons in a second bathtub. It's super gross and not drinkable, but it'll do for flushing toilets. DH was also able to go to Home Depot and HEB this morning and get a few packs of bottled water.

HEB and Wal-mart near our house were both closed the last few days because of the power/water issues. They have reopened but with limited items…no meat or dairy products. Kind of reminiscent of the beginning of COVID.

Today was the *first* day our water company actually listed on their website which neighborhoods in our area have water, which ones don't have water, and which ones they are attempting to service. Before that it was a very generic "we're working round the clock as safely as we can, be patient." I’m really not sure why it has taken so long for such a simple thing. People are begging for communication. They just want to know what the heck is going on. Same thing happened with the power company…no communication.

Oh, and it’s snowing again! All morning. 😕 I wish I could enjoy it, but our plants are probably all dead, I haven’t showered in I won’t tell you how many days, and just knowing so many people are suffering…it’s not fun. 

I’ll end this update on a good note - ERCOT has stopped the rolling blackouts (for now)!

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41 minutes ago, Vintage81 said:

After 6 days, we finally have water! I’ve never been so excited to flush a toilet. 🤣

What a great update!  So happy for you.  That's a long time.

We have well water and don't have water when the power is out. It's awful.

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1 hour ago, Kassia said:

What a great update!  So happy for you.  That's a long time.

We have well water and don't have water when the power is out. It's awful.

My parents were on a well in their last house but they had some kind of manual option for an emergency. Obviously not able to bring up tons, but it would have been enough to sustain life.  Is this not standard for backyard wells?

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39 minutes ago, busymama7 said:

My parents were on a well in their last house but they had some kind of manual option for an emergency. Obviously not able to bring up tons, but it would have been enough to sustain life.  Is this not standard for backyard wells?

No, it is not standard for backyard wells.  My sister had a similar setup, but it sounded like a major PITA.  Who wants to go out to the well to get water when a pump can provide it directly into the house?  Most wells have a submersible pump which is over 100 feet down the borehole (ours is 240 feet and many are deeper than that).  Generally, if we want water in an outage, we need to depend on a generator.

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1 hour ago, RegGuheert said:

No, it is not standard for backyard wells.  My sister had a similar setup, but it sounded like a major PITA.  Who wants to go out to the well to get water when a pump can provide it directly into the house?  Most wells have a submersible pump which is over 100 feet down the borehole (ours is 240 feet and many are deeper than that).  Generally, if we want water in an outage, we need to depend on a generator

The point is that it would work temporarily without power.  It was for an emergency. Not general use when the pump was working.  There was some way to switch something over so it could still draw water without the pump but was not meant to replace the pump.  I guess that wasn't clear in my first post. Of course a generator would be a good option as long as you had enough fuel for it for the duration of the emergency.  

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On 2/13/2021 at 4:39 PM, aggie96 said:

Yes, I hate this for the people that bought our house. I had so many mature tropicals plus a lemon and lime that won’t make it through this for sure. 

Current crop almost certainly won’t make it, but trees might be okay - any cover you can do like cloth or so forth might help.  

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21 minutes ago, busymama7 said:

The point is that it would work temporarily without power.  It was for an emergency. Not general use when the pump was working.  There was some way to switch something over so it could still draw water without the pump but was not meant to replace the pump.  I guess that wasn't clear in my first post. Of course a generator would be a good option as long as you had enough fuel for it for the duration of the emergency.  


it isn’t standard, but some People have such options and I have wished I were one.  

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On 2/18/2021 at 9:56 AM, Hadley said:

My elderly parents in Texas have been without electricity and water since midnight Saturday.  I am stuck across the country from them and feel so very helpless...

It has been hard to read and listen to all of the blame games and finger pointing, when I really just want for people to get help and be safe.  
 

Prayers for everyone in Texas dealing with such awful conditions right now, and a huge thank you to all who have shown such compassion for your fellow man.

How are your parents doing? 

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7 hours ago, busymama7 said:

My parents were on a well in their last house but they had some kind of manual option for an emergency. Obviously not able to bring up tons, but it would have been enough to sustain life.  Is this not standard for backyard wells?

I've never even heard of that option.  

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4 hours ago, busymama7 said:

The point is that it would work temporarily without power.  It was for an emergency. Not general use when the pump was working.  There was some way to switch something over so it could still draw water without the pump but was not meant to replace the pump.  I guess that wasn't clear in my first post. Of course a generator would be a good option as long as you had enough fuel for it for the duration of the emergency.  

I get that.  That is what my sister installed.  I had a bunch of issues with that thing:

- Her well was hand-dug in the 18th century and is only about 60 feet deep.  Mine was drilled at the end of the 20th century and is 250 feet deep with the main pump at 240 feet.  I think our water level is pretty far above that level, but still it is much farther down than theirs, meaning that pumping would be more difficult.

- Most modern wells have plastic do-dads every 30 feet or so to dampen the twisting of the pipe in the borehole at pump stratup.  Those would make it hard to insert another pump into the hole beside the main pipe.

- The pump she bought used leather seals that had to be replaced about every five years.  My pump has been in the well since 1995 without needing ANY service.  (Did I just jinx our pump?)

- Wells need to be sanitary.  Opening the well and inserting a contraption that allows water to bring water through the cap sounds like an opportunity to introduce bacteria into the well.

- I'm not interested in taking an extremely-reliable system and adding equipment which will make it less reliable.

- I can generation electricity capable of running the well pump without the use of my generator or any fuel by using solar power.  I have an 1800 VA 120-VAC sine-wave inverter which is more than capable of running that pump.  (Even though the pump has a 240-VAC motor, I have it wired so that it is fed by 120-VAC through an autotransformer that steps up the voltage to 240-VAC before it goes out to the wellhead.)  It's just that the way my system is configured, the generator is a bit quicker and easier to set up and use.

4 hours ago, MissLemon said:

The generator might operate the well pump, but if the line from the well to the house freezes, you're still out of luck and out of water. That's the situation a friend of mine in San Antonio is in now. 

If it is so cold that the water is frozen in the line from the well to the house, I'm willing to bet the hand pump will also freeze up after you pull some water to the surface.

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59 minutes ago, RegGuheert said:

- Most modern wells have plastic do-dads every 30 feet or so to dampen the twisting of the pipe in the borehole at pump stratup.  Those would make it hard to insert another pump into the hole beside the main pipe.

- The pump she bought used leather seals that had to be replaced about every five years.  My pump has been in the well since 1995 without needing ANY service.  (Did I just jinx our pump?)

- Wells need to be sanitary.  Opening the well and inserting a contraption that allows water to bring water through the cap sounds like an opportunity to introduce bacteria into the well.

Would you believe that first point is something no one has ever explained to me?! When looking into adding a manual pump, everyone has just kept telling me “It won’t fit.” Dh, plumbers, random people I talk to...

Don’t jinx your pump!

I had been wanting a flimsy little plastic hand pump for reaching higher water  to filter. For a while, our well cap was unlocked, and our maniac kids threw stuff down there TWICE. We tested both times, but got away with no bacteria to shock. I wouldn’t worry much about a plastic tube that was kept clean (with serious filtering.) In a long-term emergency, shocking the Well seems like a small price to pay later.

 

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On 2/17/2021 at 5:15 PM, TexasProud said:

Hey guys, carports around here are collapsing. Over 10 pics on Facebook including police that had 7 cars damaged.  If you are like us and still getting snow and/or ice, move your car.

WE had a carport in Washington collapse due to the weight of the ice on top. I suspect that is what is going on.

 

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Dreamer gal here in Australia well water is pretty rare. Most towns have water from a creek or river. It is treated in big tanks then pumped to the towns. Most rural properties collect rain water and store it in tanks. It it is a hot dry season they pay trucks to come fill up their tanks.. 

We have tank water. We store enough for 3 months of dry weather with not a drop of rain at normal to us use, but we have managed to strech that out quite a bit. 

 

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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15 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

I did not know so many people have wells. I have zero knowledge about wells in the US.

However, I grew up with different versions of wells. It was and remains my family's primary source of day to day water though we have city water but it comes only at certain hours during the day. 

I hope it is ok to talk about them in this thread and share various ways we upgraded them over the years so it can be of some help.

The original well that I grew up with looked something like this. Basically rings of concrete inserted into the ground after making a deep hole until they hit water and build a wall above ground level that was not very high. It was not very deep and in times of monsoon it would overflow. Something like this.

image.png.6aadb1806f93aad13f66a275436e1393.png

When I was a little girl the only means of getting water was through a pulley for everything. We did not have water from a tap or running water. 

image.png.84c9c82f479fc2d48665b6c26028a43f.png

The first time running water was implemented was by means of installing a hand pump in the kitchen. It was still laborious. 

So the final step that still stands is installation of an overhead tank on the terrace of a house. It used to be built using bricks, now it is a plastic tank that looks like this. It's capacity varies from 1000L to 5000L and so on.

image.png.f92af9130fe9ed77cb622c474e23ff85.png

Water is raised from the well to the tank using gravity or in most cases by installing a motor . The switch is usually somewhere in the house or a common place in apartments that someone's usual chore is to fill the tank first thing in the morning or last thing at night. It is a manual process where you need to monitor it, but usually people have timed it so they turn on the motor for that particular period of time.

Now, the water table has been depleted so much because single family homes are converted to apartments like my ancestral home. So more and more bore wells are needed though the government mandated rain water harvesting for all properties be it apartment or single family homes. They also have desalination plants and trucks bring that water and put them in tanks in various streets in case people run out of daily use water when the bore wells dry in summer. People also have underground tanks similar to a tank in a gas station here but it holds water which can be bought from the city or private contractors and then raised to the overhead tank through another motor. 

All this is in a metropolitan city with millions of people. 

My family has a whole house osmosis filter that is used to filter this water as it is quite salty. This is however not used for cooking. City water is, which goes through a filtration process, but people boil that water and filter it.

This is in a very hot country where the pipes never freeze. I hope any of it is helpful or at least made an entertaining read as to how wells work in another country.

This is amazing. And sounds quite a bit cheaper to build and maintain, as well as more work.

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And less than after hoping we could keep our home heated to a livable condition, DH just called to tell me that the AC upstairs is blowing hot air and the repair company is on their way.  (Its in the 80s today, AC isn't needed today but may be soon.)  But, we have had more than an 80 degree temperature swing in one week!

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3 hours ago, Bootsie said:

And less than after hoping we could keep our home heated to a livable condition, DH just called to tell me that the AC upstairs is blowing hot air and the repair company is on their way.  (Its in the 80s today, AC isn't needed today but may be soon.)  But, we have had more than an 80 degree temperature swing in one week!

That's quite a swing! Hope all is up and running well soon.

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15 hours ago, Bootsie said:

And less than after hoping we could keep our home heated to a livable condition, DH just called to tell me that the AC upstairs is blowing hot air and the repair company is on their way.  (Its in the 80s today, AC isn't needed today but may be soon.)  But, we have had more than an 80 degree temperature swing in one week!

Everyone was commenting yesterday -- Last Tuesday, 7 degree. This Tuesday? 78!  Or, as I called it -- A Tale of Two Tuesdays

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