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Discuss Were you prepared for the freeze? (1 Viewer)

Were you prepared for the freeze?

  • Yes I had no losses

    Votes: 16 51.6%
  • Sort of - I had a plan but this weather event overwhelmed me

    Votes: 12 38.7%
  • No I lost everything

    Votes: 3 9.7%

  • Total voters
    31
  • Poll closed .

MARSH BoD

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Hey MARSH - Lets discuss the freeze event - Where you prepared for the freeze?

The intent of this is to learn from each other. What worked and what didn't didn't. What would you do differently this time?
 
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webster1234

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I wasn't prepared for the freeze but I WAS prepared for a hurricane. So I guess in that regard, I was fortunate that we could find fuel for the generator and didn't have to siphon from the truck. It should be a rule somewhere that you aren't allowed to purchase a tank without also purchasing a generator.
 

SCUBAFreaky

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I wrote this up for a coworker after I explained that I made a quick repair after one of my pipes leaked and she asked how to be better prepared...

• Determine what type and what size of plumbing you have in your home. Ie: PVC, CPVC, Galvanized Steel, PEX, etc.; ½” or ¾”
• Make sure you have an assortment of fittings. The number one choice would be couplers. Second would be caps and plugs. Other handy things to have would be elbows, tees, unions, and several short pieces of pipe. Many hardware stores and home centers sell 2 foot sections of pipe.
• Many friends ran into issues finding CPVC fittings and glue. CPVC is the yellow or tan pipe that is used on the hot water side. So if you have CPVC I would definitely keep some of this around along with the required glue.
• Lastly, make sure you know where your water cut off is. If you don’t have a cutoff valve where the water comes into your house make sure you have the right tool to turn it off at the street…and that you are familiar with knowing how to actually do that.
• A friend came up with a brilliant solution for the external hose bibs (hose faucet) on his house. He found some camera lens heaters that he was able to adapt for our winter storm. These are low wattage heaters that are on Velcro straps and he just strapped them around each hose faucet. They just use USB adapters for power so he ran an extension cord to his hose bibs and protected the plugs from the rain. Brilliant.

Many of us with reef tanks probably have a good assortment of pipe and fittings already, which is one of the reasons I actually was somewhat prepared for a leaking pipe. Also, some of the above will be no brainers for some of us that do DIY plumbing on your tank(s).

My lessons learned from this is to put the camera lens heaters on my hose bibs (which is what broke for me), make sure I have a good stock of replacement plumbing parts that actually fit my house and extra heaters for my sump in case I lose power (I have a gasoline powered generator). I may also consider investing in having a manual power transfer switch installed as well. Without one, I do not have a (safe) way to run the heat in my house from the generator.

And one soap box item, living in the Houston area, if you don't have some sort of a gas powered generator you should very much consider getting one. I really bought mine for power outage protection during a hurricane. Never did I dream that I would be using it during a winter storm. Craziness.
 

steveb

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And there should also be a rule to not listen to your spouse when they tell you to NOT fill all of the extra tanks you have. I had to make 2 runs on the iced streets hunting for gas after I was about to run out the first day.

I was prepared in that I had a genny and I did start it prior to the power outage. I failed in that I did not take into account how quickly the tanks would lose heat once the furnace was out and how long the power outage might be. I assumed rolling not completely off for nearly two days then short spurts of power followed by 4-6 hours w/out for another two.


My take away -

I either need to convert a LARGER portable genny to NG or I need a whole house genny. Although if we ever lose NG i'm screwed.
 
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chrisfoos

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And there should also be a rule to not listen to your spouse when they tell you to NOT fill all of the extra tanks you have. I had to make 2 runs on the iced streets hunting for gas after I was about to run out the first day.

I was prepared in that I had a genny and I did start it prior to the power outage. I failed in that I did not take into account how quickly the tanks would lose heat once the furnace was out.


My take away -

I either need to convert a LARGER portable genny to NG or I need a whole house genny. Although if we ever lose NG i'm screwed.
One backup solution I have that I do not see very often, inverter. If you get a 2kw inverter and the stuff needed to attach to your car as well as a power cord to run to the tank, you have a genny right there. The thing you have to watch out for is to not over power your alternator and I would leave the car running. Some people talk about swapping the batteries out and having the car charge them, but lead acid degrades when you do that, and when charging from a deep discharge it puts off hydrogen and oxygen in the perfect explosive mix. My Grandpa had a dead battery in his truck so he started it to charge it. After a bit something sparked, battery blew up and he had a dented hood and steaming battery acid all over the engine.
 

TooMuchDog

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One backup solution I have that I do not see very often, inverter. If you get a 2kw inverter and the stuff needed to attach to your car as well as a power cord to run to the tank, you have a genny right there. The thing you have to watch out for is to not over power your alternator and I would leave the car running. Some people talk about swapping the batteries out and having the car charge them, but lead acid degrades when you do that, and when charging from a deep discharge it puts off hydrogen and oxygen in the perfect explosive mix. My Grandpa had a dead battery in his truck so he started it to charge it. After a bit something sparked, battery blew up and he had a dented hood and steaming battery acid all over the engine.
This is the solution I used. We just had a 400w inverter which was enough to run pumps and a single heater for around 6 hours. We used deep cycle batteries which are designed to be deep discharged so it doesn't mess up their life so much to drain them. I keep one on a battery tender just in case.
 

sneezebeetle

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Well, Like @webster1234, I was prepared for a hurricane, but not so much for a long freeze.....at least here in Texas! Coming from North Idaho, freezing temps for long periods of time is a norm but Idahoans are usually prepared for that because it's part of our way of life. BUT....I did not have SW or FW tanks in Idaho to worry about either haha!

We did start planning ahead a few days in advance though in terms of filling our water jugs, RODI tank, and ATO reservoirs. I also moved my fish and corals from my 2 smaller tanks into my main tank so if we lost power, I would only have to worry about keeping one tank running instead of 3 (hubby did the same with his FW tanks). All the fish from the other 2 tanks were kept in acclimation boxes so I would be able to catch them easily when it is time to move them back over and to separate a few duplicates so they wouldn't pick fights with each other. All in all, the fish have behaved well. We also put an extra heater in each of our tanks. We did end up having to replace our generator last minute (thank goodness HD still had a few in stock!) Our 20yr old Geni that we brought with us from Idaho finally crapped the bed. Thank goodness we decided to break it out the day before the storm to make sure it was running or else we would have been SOL when we did lose power and needed it! We ended up having to house my daughter and her family up as well as my F.I.L. and all their pets because they all lost power and had pipes burst in their homes.

All in all, I can't complain especially when there are folks who lost way more than I did. I did have some euphyllia loss, and I am having to completely start over in the smaller tanks with cycling but it also gave me a good opportunity to break the smaller tanks down, do a good clean and soak on all the equipment and make a few changes I had wanted to make before starting them back up again. So for now everything is still in my main tank and I am thankful for the little silver linings.

Edit - My take away is that I really want to get a dedicated plug installed near my breaker box so that the next time I lose power I just have to plug my Geni in and be good to go!
 

frankc

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I also used an inverter with car batteries, one of which was an Optima which handles deep cycling better. I didn't think about running the inverter with the battery still in the running car. It didn't run very long before an alarm went off to charge the battery again. I was very fortunate that we were only without power for 14 hours, otherwise I likely would have suffered some losses.

Our plumbing is all copper, and I don't know how to properly repair that. However, I went to the auto parts store and got some 5/8" I.D. hose and some clamps, and was able to temporarily repair the breaks with that until we could get a plumber.
 
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paraletho

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I was actually in a pretty good place for this event as far as tanks. Mine was destroyed in Laura 11 days without power in the summer heat. The other tank that I maintain and stock is in a school with a large diesel powered generator. The house tank was SPS and they just don’t do well with disruptions to their stable environment. The school tank was LPS and Softie. Power was out for 3 days water was off for 8 with this freeze event. Where I really took a hit was in the yard where I had converted to tropical or semi tropical fruit and ornamental landscaping. Ouch! 20 years worth of work.
 

chrisfoos

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I also used an inverter with car batteries, one of which was an Optima which handles deep cycling better. I didn't think about running the inverter with the battery still in the running car. It didn't run very long before an alarm went off to charge the battery again. I was very fortunate that we were only without power for 14 hours, otherwise I likely would have suffered some losses.

Our plumbing is all copper, and I don't know how to properly repair that. However, I went to the auto parts store and got some 1/2" I.D. hose and some clamps, and was able to temporarily repair the breaks with that until we could get a plumber.
If you can get a copper pipe cutter, Emory cloth, and some shark bite connectors the repair is easy. Spin the cutter to cut the pipe, clean corrosion till shiny, and jam the connector on. They work kinda like the press fittings used on 1/4" RO tubing. Issue would be getting the fittings. Depending on the size of the break a single coupler may work. Also need to make sure you get one for copper to copper since they make them for other types and for adapting between them.

If you can't find those and are stuck with soldering connections I would leave it to a plumber. I diy a lot of stuff most people would not, and soldering copper makes me nervous. Grandpa was a pipe fitter/plumber and showed me how to do it properly, and I did a few times but was always worried I was going to burn the house down or leave a pinhole leak. Nothing like using a blowtorch an inch from your cabinet to make you think some things are best left to people that do it for a living if you can.
 

Tenny

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I am was fairly prepared. All the pipes on the outside of my house are wrapped in insulation and I have a "cover" for them that should keep them decent.

I have a 6500/5500 generator full of gas, and a small (5g) amount of spare gas. I am having a mini-split a/c & 240v plug for a generator installed, but hasn't been yet. I have a interlock switch also that'll be installed so I don't back feed the grid. My car (Chevy Volt, ~13kwh battery with a gas generator) and a 2,000w inverter was all prepared and hooked up. I've read that the car will turn on for about 5-10 minutes per hour when you are using about 1000kwh. I haven't had to use it, but in theory and minor tests it has been fine.

Now during this freeze I was very fortunate. I did not experience any power loss or water loss. I did lose internet, but of all things I can't complain.

Now moving forward I am trying to be better prepared as we know the chances of a hurricane knocking out the power is very significant. I think overall I was decent, but could be better. I want a generator that runs off Natural Gas so that I don't ever have to worry about gas / refilling (hopefully). They say the generator runs about 15-20% less overall output power if it is using natural gas, I don't think 4,500w is really enough for my house. It's probably pretty close, but I'm really leaning towards picking up a 10,000kwh generator so that I am closer to 8,000 available.
 

Reefahholic

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Yes and No. I didn’t have the proper extension cords or adapters that I should have had. I didn’t have any space heaters.

One thing to keep in mind is that heaters burn a ridiculous amount of Watts especially when you need several to keep temps in the 70’s. That includes tank heaters and home heaters.

A generator was basically the only way through this one (if you didn’t have power) unless you had a good power Inverter (400 to 1000 watts for most tanks) and a few batteries. Changing out /Charging one battery on Truck/Car alternator while the other is providing power.

Solar panels are a good way to grab energy if the sun is somewhat out. That’s something to think about. This would be gold during Hurricane season.

Another thing to consider is using propane instead of gas to run a generator. I’m fixing to convert mine over to propane so I’ll have both Gas and Propane options if needed.. Gas is always hard to get during these events. Getting a lot of fuel early is key.

One other thing to consider is DC pumps, skimmers, etc. My return pump is 25w and my skimmer is only 11w. I can run those for a long time w/o my generator. Days!

In the summer we need to freeze RO water bottles to have ready if needed. I’m pretty sure a chiller will draw a ridiculous amount of energy. Not sure though because I’ve never owned one.
 
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chrisfoos

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Yes and No. I didn’t have the power extension cords or adapters that I should have had. I didn’t have any space heaters.

One thing to keep in mind is that heaters burn a ridiculous amount of Watts especially when you need several to keep temps in the 70’s. That includes tank heaters and home heaters.

A generator was basically the only way through this one (if you didn’t have power) unless you had a good power Inverter (400 to 1000 watts for most tanks) and a few batteries. Changing out /Charging one battery on Truck/Car alternator while the other is providing power.

Solar panels are a good way to grab energy if the sun is somewhat out. That’s something to think about. This would be gold during Hurricane season.

Another thing to consider is using propane instead of gas to run a generator. I’m fixing to convert mine over to propane so I’ll have both Gas and Propane options if needed.. Gas is always hard to get during these events. Getting a lot of fuel early is key.

One other thing to consider is DC pumps, skimmers, etc. My return pump is 25w and my skimmer is only 11w. I can run those for a long time w/o my generator. Days!

In the summer we need to freeze RO water bottles to have ready if needed. I’m pretty sure a chiller will draw a ridiculous amount of energy. Not sure though because I’ve never owned one.

Keep in mind that if you are running your dc pumps off an inverter you are losing run time from the base draw of the inverter and the conversion. It looks like the ecotech stuff should be able to be ran off a normal 12v battery directly giving crazy run times.

A chiller is just an A.C. unit that pulls heat out of the water and dumps it in the room instead of pulling out of the room and dumping it outside. Not something you are going to run on a car battery very long, but should be doable.

I tried the ice method one year on my 210G when the A.C. was being worked on. Went through maybe 10lbs of ice an hour and the temp was going up. Might work better on a smaller tank but I am not going to rely on it. Large fans and evaporation may be a better route if you have the top off water, but with how humid it gets here I'm not sure that would work well either.

I'm thinking a chiller is probably the best backup cooling for if your house A.C. fails or if power fails and you have a generator that can run it but not the whole house A.C.
 

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And there should also be a rule to not listen to your spouse when they tell you to NOT fill all of the extra tanks you have. I had to make 2 runs on the iced streets hunting for gas after I was about to run out the first day.

I was prepared in that I had a genny and I did start it prior to the power outage. I failed in that I did not take into account how quickly the tanks would lose heat once the furnace was out and how long the power outage might be. I assumed rolling not completely off for nearly two days then short spurts of power followed by 4-6 hours w/out for another two.


My take away -

I either need to convert a LARGER portable genny to NG or I need a whole house genny. Although if we ever lose NG i'm screwed.
Some people did loose NG to their gennys this time.
 

BigRick

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I was fully prepared but couldn't maintain two places at one time. Lost 95% of new frags and corals in my frag and qt tanks at the storage. I had a genny there too but put my SUV in the ditch (without a scratch. Longest 5 min slide ever lol.. damn black ice) trying to get there...so that was another $300 to get pulled out. But everyone at home and food and DT tanks stayed safe. So yeah I lost a lot on corals, all my euphyllia that I saved from brown jelly...probably over 5k.. hurts... probably slow some things down for a while but over all the most important things were kept safe.
 

Reefahholic

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Does anybody remember how hot your house got during a summer power outage that last a few days?

I’m thinking it could get pretty darn hot, but I can’t remember just how hot it would get inside. Definitely upper 80’s probably.
 

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Keep in mind that if you are running your dc pumps off an inverter you are losing run time from the base draw of the inverter and the conversion. It looks like the ecotech stuff should be able to be ran off a normal 12v battery directly giving crazy run times.
Yeah, the conversion sucks. I had a pretty nice battery so I still ran longer than the EcoTech battery backups.
 
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mitchell77546

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I am was fairly prepared. All the pipes on the outside of my house are wrapped in insulation and I have a "cover" for them that should keep them decent.

I have a 6500/5500 generator full of gas, and a small (5g) amount of spare gas. I am having a mini-split a/c & 240v plug for a generator installed, but hasn't been yet. I have a interlock switch also that'll be installed so I don't back feed the grid. My car (Chevy Volt, ~13kwh battery with a gas generator) and a 2,000w inverter was all prepared and hooked up. I've read that the car will turn on for about 5-10 minutes per hour when you are using about 1000kwh. I haven't had to use it, but in theory and minor tests it has been fine.

Now during this freeze I was very fortunate. I did not experience any power loss or water loss. I did lose internet, but of all things I can't complain.

Now moving forward I am trying to be better prepared as we know the chances of a hurricane knocking out the power is very significant. I think overall I was decent, but could be better. I want a generator that runs off Natural Gas so that I don't ever have to worry about gas / refilling (hopefully). They say the generator runs about 15-20% less overall output power if it is using natural gas, I don't think 4,500w is really enough for my house. It's probably pretty close, but I'm really leaning towards picking up a 10,000kwh generator so that I am closer to 8,000 available.

Does the engine run less rpm? Less torq? Not understanding that one.


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chrisfoos

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Does the engine run less rpm? Less torq? Not understanding that one.


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Less torque/hp. NG is less energy dense meaning it takes up more space for the same energy output but the cylinder is limited in size and you need the air for it to burn. The more space the fuel uses, the less space there is for air, the less overall energy you get for the same rpm since less air means less burn.

There are a lot of other factors as well, but basically if fuel B takes twice the space as fuel A to get the same energy you can't just double the fuel you use or you will not have enough air. At the same time, you are not limited to the same amount of fuel as it would use half the air.
 

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