kind of in a little bit of a panic mode - power has been off for 24 hours

DMS2014

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Jun 22, 2014
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I am in Houston. We lost power Tuesday morning at 4:30 a.m. We had been running our pump 24/7 (plus the waterwall) to prevent freezing. it's been below freezing every day since the vortex hit. now what? the pump has been off . We got our power back but am VERY concerned about the pipes bursting under the pool.

PLEASE advise on the best course of action. Never been in this situation before...obviously....Houston doesn't get snow that sticks and now we have no water in the house and what we do have we have to boil....
 

PoolGate

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Is the pump running again and circulating the pool? If anything were to break it would most likely be above ground. Check all the plumbing you can see and get to. But if power is back and the pump is running with no leaks, chances are you suffered no damage. Needless to say, do not use your pool water for drinking!
 

mknauss

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What is the current status of the pool pump? Did it start operating again? If you did not drain the equipment and had 24 hours of much below freezing weather without the pump running I would suspect you have a frozen system. If so, turn off the power at the circuit breaker. If you can take out any drain plugs, pump, filter, heater if you have one, do it. If they are frozen, do not force them.
 

DMS2014

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Jun 22, 2014
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status is we are screwed. frozen despite being covered. i thought we were being smart to run the water so we wouldn't freeze... also probably going to lose our palm trees too....sigh...
 
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sacredcow

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Also in what was formerly known as Houston, but now known as Hoth.

So my bad decision for the week was this: I decided not to worry too much about the pool because I have a fairly new VS pump with automated freeze protection (pump runs continuously when air temps are 32 or below) and the forecasts were being SO overly dramatic- no way were we getting THAT cold. This plan worked fantastically- Until we actually got to 10 degrees and I lost power for 30 hours. In hindsight, I should have gone out at that time and drained the filter and pumps and hoped for the best, but honestly I was more concerned about keeping pipes from bursting in my home. I may have lucked out, though- my seldom-used tablet feeder exploded spectacularly but it seems like everything else is ok, so far. If all I have to do is replace/omit that feeder I'm going to perform some kind of sacrifice to the pool equipment gods when the weather gets warmer. But I'm kind of expecting some other damage somewhere and have made my peace with it.

The really facepalm-y part is that I had an electrician coming this past Friday to install a transfer switch for my portable generator, but they rescheduled due to the impending weather. If I'd had that, I would have been on easy street throughout this event.

Best of luck to you, DMS!
 

DMS2014

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Jun 22, 2014
696
Houston, Texas
Also in what was formerly known as Houston, but now known as Hoth.

So my bad decision for the week was this: I decided not to worry too much about the pool because I have a fairly new VS pump with automated freeze protection (pump runs continuously when air temps are 32 or below) and the forecasts were being SO overly dramatic- no way were we getting THAT cold. This plan worked fantastically- Until we actually got to 10 degrees and I lost power for 30 hours. In hindsight, I should have gone out at that time and drained the filter and pumps and hoped for the best, but honestly I was more concerned about keeping pipes from bursting in my home. I may have lucked out, though- my seldom-used tablet feeder exploded spectacularly but it seems like everything else is ok, so far. If all I have to do is replace/omit that feeder I'm going to perform some kind of sacrifice to the pool equipment gods when the weather gets warmer. But I'm kind of expecting some other damage somewhere and have made my peace with it.

The really facepalm-y part is that I had an electrician coming this past Friday to install a transfer switch for my portable generator, but they rescheduled due to the impending weather. If I'd had that, I would have been on easy street throughout this event.

Best of luck to you, DMS!
yeah, well, we got a new heat/AC system instead of the generator. if we had had THAT, we wouldn't be having this conversation....sigh....and we still don't have water. some has come back in the house but we are under boil orders. I am so incredibly disgusted with the State of Texas right now. Shame on them. I hope some heads roll after this disaster.
 
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PoolGate

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yeah, well, we got a new heat/AC system instead of the generator. if we had had THAT, we wouldn't be having this conversation....sigh....and we still don't have water. some has come back in the house but we are under boil orders. I am so incredibly disgusted with the State of Texas right now. Shame on them. I hope some heads roll after this disaster.

When is the last time this happened in TX?
 

ajw22

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senex

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Mar 20, 2018
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Austin, TX
Needless to say, do not use your pool water for drinking!

Could you elaborate? The pH, Chlorine, and CH levels in my pool right now are reasonably close to my tap water, and I think are within the EPA guidelines for residential water delivery (what I could find online, anyway). Is there something else to worry about?
 

PoolGate

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Could you elaborate? The pH, Chlorine, and CH levels in my pool right now are reasonably close to my tap water, and I think are within the EPA guidelines for residential water delivery (what I could find online, anyway). Is there something else to worry about?

How about salinity?
 

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senex

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Mar 20, 2018
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Austin, TX
Good point on salinity. I assume it was ok, because I fill from my hose and I don't add salt. But I should test before drinking.
 

PoolGate

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Good point on salinity. I assume it was ok, because I fill from my hose and I don't add salt. But I should test before drinking.

The OP has a SWCG so salt level is probably 3+ ppt. Non "saltwater" pools typically end up between 1 and 2 ppt. Both of these are above acceptable salt levels for safety.
 

sacredcow

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May 8, 2018
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yeah, well, we got a new heat/AC system instead of the generator. if we had had THAT, we wouldn't be having this conversation....sigh....and we still don't have water. some has come back in the house but we are under boil orders. I am so incredibly disgusted with the State of Texas right now. Shame on them. I hope some heads roll after this disaster.

Ironically, as mentioned above, I had an appointment this past Friday for an electrician to come out and install a transfer switch for my portable generator (I was patting myself on the back for doing Hurricane prep in February- Little did I know). They postponed due to the impending weather (supposed to be coming today). I priced a whole home generator- Not spending that much on a house I probably won't die in!

I've been lucky with water- Never lost it completely, but I know so many who have. We aren't under a boil order with my MUD, but we did have low pressure for a while so it's likely/probable that some soil bacteria made it's way into the lines somewhere. So yeah- I'm boiling.
 
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HeyEng

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Ironically, as mentioned above, I had an appointment this past Friday for an electrician to come out and install a transfer switch for my portable generator (I was patting myself on the back for doing Hurricane prep in February- Little did I know). They postponed due to the impending weather (supposed to be coming today). I priced a whole home generator- Not spending that much on a house I probably won't die in!

You could have the house "converted" for a plug in generator, ours is like that. I have a portable 7500/9500w generator that will run almost everything in our home with no issue (no HVAC and either the water heater OR the well pump, but not both at the same time). All the lights, fridge, freezer, well pump. While it doesn't help w/ heat, we have a NG fireplace, so that's our heating source when power is out. I don't know the cost for the conversion (we bought the house and it was built like that) but the generator was less than $1,000. If and when our area is approved for FEMA individual assistance, we will be able to get a grant for about $700 of that cost.
 

PoolGate

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You could have the house "converted" for a plug in generator, ours is like that. I have a portable 7500/9500w generator that will run almost everything in our home with no issue (no HVAC and either the water heater OR the well pump, but not both at the same time). All the lights, fridge, freezer, well pump. While it doesn't help w/ heat, we have a NG fireplace, so that's our heating source when power is out. I don't know the cost for the conversion (we bought the house and it was built like that) but the generator was less than $1,000. If and when our area is approved for FEMA individual assistance, we will be able to get a grant for about $700 of that cost.

I had this done at my last house. The transfer switch (16 circuit) was $450 and installation by an electrician was another $500. This was years ago I think you can double this cost.
 

HeyEng

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I had this done at my last house. The transfer switch (16 circuit) was $450 and installation by an electrician was another $500. This was years ago I think you can double this cost.
Yep, I can't speak to the cost since ours was done when the house was built. But even at $2000 (and about $1000 for a generator) it's much cheaper than a whole house. We were quoted almost $15K to have one put in.... and it's NG *only* whereas my portable is dual fuel.
 

JJ_Tex

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1903, 1906, 1909, 1910, 1936, 1949, 1979, 1989, 1990, 1996, 2011, 2014

Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it.
Hold up just a second, that is absolutely false. In my 43 years here, it has never been this cold and has certainly has not stayed this cold for this long. Even the one time it dropped to 9 degrees when I was in Dallas, it happened in the middle of the night and quickly was back to above freezing later that day.

In Dallas there have only been 5 times in recorded history with the temperatures below zero, and the only time it has been colder was 123 years ago in 1898. I've lived in Houston and Austin before moving to Dallas and never saw anything close to the temperatures they are seeing now.

While not an excuse for the multiple epic failures of the power grid, please do not make it seem like this is a regular occurrence.
 
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