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My BBQ hobby kept us alive.

Chasdev

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Joined Jan 18, 2020
We lost power (all electric home) Monday morning at 2:30 and it came back on yesterday (Thursday) at around noon.
Overnight temps dropped to as low as 5 degrees one night, ten another and 12 another, and stayed below freezing in the daytime.
I had around 50 oak splits in the shed plus around 20 bags of lump and briquette charcoals along with half a dozen bags of oak and other hardwood chunks and 6 bags of pellets.
We burned too much wood the first night, not thinking how isolated we were about to become as there were NO businesses open in South Austin, none.
No gasoline, no food, fast or grocery, no firewood, no nothing plus iced over roads with no traffic to wear the ice down to make it more passable.
The wife was terrified of carbon monoxide from the charcoal being burned in the fireplace but as the wood supply shrank I was able to start burning some along with cooking pellets.
Ended up burning toilet paper and paper towels and cardboard boxes along with charcoal and pellets to try to keep the house warm enough to prevent burst pipes attached to the water heater in the attic. (we also ran the faucets several times an hour).
The pipes did not burst but we know of 4 houses that flooded from burst pipes and those were our close neighbors, don't know about the rest of the street yet.
Yesterday we cleared out three freezers containing our ruined Covid frozen meat (and leftovers) stash.
All in all pretty scary, even with multiple layers of clothes on, it was too dang cold.
 

JLeonard

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Joined Apr 17, 2020
WOW! Its been miserable cold here in Memphis also. Thankfully we didnt lose power at my house. Although Entergy was talking rolling blackouts due to "strain on the grid". Glad you guys made it ok.
Jim
 

chopsaw

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Good looking out on your part . I'm guessing a lot of those homes are on slabs ?
 

Wurstmeister

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Joined Mar 21, 2018
We lost power (all electric home) Monday morning at 2:30 and it came back on yesterday (Thursday) at around noon.
Overnight temps dropped to as low as 5 degrees one night, ten another and 12 another, and stayed below freezing in the daytime.
I had around 50 oak splits in the shed plus around 20 bags of lump and briquette charcoals along with half a dozen bags of oak and other hardwood chunks and 6 bags of pellets.
We burned too much wood the first night, not thinking how isolated we were about to become as there were NO businesses open in South Austin, none.
No gasoline, no food, fast or grocery, no firewood, no nothing plus iced over roads with no traffic to wear the ice down to make it more passable.
The wife was terrified of carbon monoxide from the charcoal being burned in the fireplace but as the wood supply shrank I was able to start burning some along with cooking pellets.
Ended up burning toilet paper and paper towels and cardboard boxes along with charcoal and pellets to try to keep the house warm enough to prevent burst pipes attached to the water heater in the attic. (we also ran the faucets several times an hour).
The pipes did not burst but we know of 4 houses that flooded from burst pipes and those were our close neighbors, don't know about the rest of the street yet.
Yesterday we cleared out three freezers containing our ruined Covid frozen meat (and leftovers) stash.
All in all pretty scary, even with multiple layers of clothes on, it was too dang cold.
Glad ya'll made it safely. We keep a supply of "artificial logs" on hand to supplement the live wood. Also, purchase/install a couple of CO monitors near the fireplace and surrounding living areas & crack a few windows for some fresh air circulation. We did that here in SC after our Central GA/SC ice storm 2003/04 time frame and still use them for monitoring our fireplace burns. Cheap insurance and peace of mind. Stay safe and healthy. 🍻
 

Brokenhandle

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Glad you made it through safely! Had to really suck! Might not be post oak but bet there will be lots of firewood available soon with all the down trees from ice storm, would have to be seasoned of course.

Ryan
 

cornman

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Joined Sep 30, 2016
Texas is in our thoughts and prayers. Hopefully, the weather is starting let up for you. It’s been snowy in PA, but our hearts go out to you!
 

jmusser

Meat Mopper
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262
Joined Jan 11, 2020
Glad you guys are doing okay. This storm was no joke for you guys down there. I guess we are just used to it and prepared in the north. I didn't think much of it down there until I started reading the stories. Sounds terrible. I have tons of wood for camping and fires but we got rid of our wood burning fireplace after a house fire a few years back (not related to fireplace). All gas now but when no power, no fans and little heat. I got some good oak for ya but its a long drive. Hopefully you guys can get back to normal soon!
 

LanceR

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Joined Jun 1, 2012
It's good to hear you're all OK. It is worth checking with your homeowners insurance agent to see if the lost food is something you can claim as a reimbursable loss and how that might fit in with any deductible etc.

Good luck with the recovery and best regards to all,


Lance
 

tx smoker

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Believe me, I feel your pain. We are just northwest of Austin and it's been a rough week. Things finally started turning around yesterday morning and I think our heads are above water...no pun intended. We lost water Sunday that didn't come back on until yesterday and had the rolling power outages for several days. We never were without power long enough for the house to get cold or the freezers to get warm, but it was certainly scary. Several of my wife's coworkers in Austin stated they they lost water yesterday when the reserves ran out and indications are they may not get it back till Monday. At least we had snow to boil for coffee and to melt for flushing toilets :emoji_wink: Very best of luck to all those still dealing with it...because it's not over yet.

Robert
 

Chasdev

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Joined Jan 18, 2020
We started out burning one of those wax/fake logs that came with house and I strongly to anyone even thinking about burning them, just don't.
They are seemingly just for the visual effect of a log burning and almost no heat is released just some pretty flames and a few crackling noises, that's it.
The really bad thing is that if it breaks up say when you try to remove it before it's completely burned down (according the instructions and to my dismay/personal experience) they omit a highly flammable and super foul smelling plastic/wax odor that lingers for hours and if breathed will try to choke you.
When ours had burned down to 1/4 original diameter we scooped it out of there to add some real wood. (instructions forbid the addition of real wood do to dangerous flareup) and it ran us out of house and had us opening windows and doors to get the smoke out.
I dumped in the snow and the next day it was still smoking away, took two days to finish smoking.
 

jmusser

Meat Mopper
260
262
Joined Jan 11, 2020
It's good to hear you're all OK. It is worth checking with your homeowners insurance agent to see if the lost food is something you can claim as a reimbursable loss and how that might fit in with any deductible etc.

Good luck with the recovery and best regards to all,


Lance
Great thought Lance. When we had our house fire they did cover that. I had a deep freeze full of venison and game fish. They paid us market value. Venison is pretty expensive to buy apparently. Definitely worth a try.
 

Chasdev

Smoking Fanatic
324
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Joined Jan 18, 2020
It's been my experience that the ins folks want proof.
I didn't take pictures or save records of purchase.
Wonder if a screen shot of my past HEB curbside purchases would do the trick?
And then I have to calculate if the payout would exceed the rise in my rates?
 

Brokenhandle

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It's been my experience that the ins folks want proof.
I didn't take pictures or save records of purchase.
Wonder if a screen shot of my past HEB curbside purchases would do the trick?
And then I have to calculate if the payout would exceed the rise in my rates?
Doesn't cost anything for a phone call. Then you could make a more educated decision.

Ryan
 

LanceR

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OTBS Member
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Joined Jun 1, 2012
Doesn't cost anything for a phone call. Then you could make a more educated decision.

Ryan
Ditto that thought. Your insurance company will be swamped and with COVID it's not likely they are coming over to check things out You will be one of many thousands of folks with a legitimate claim of one kind or another so don't make excuses for them. Just call them.

Best regards to all,


Lance
 

TNJAKE

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We lost our freezers due to an outage from a tornado about 10 years ago. Called my insurance company. All they asked was what types of foods and asked me to estimate the value. No questions asked and less than 48hrs later I was restocking freezers. They were very generous and my rates didn't go up one cent.
 

tallbm

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Joined Dec 30, 2016
We lost power (all electric home) Monday morning at 2:30 and it came back on yesterday (Thursday) at around noon.
Overnight temps dropped to as low as 5 degrees one night, ten another and 12 another, and stayed below freezing in the daytime.
I had around 50 oak splits in the shed plus around 20 bags of lump and briquette charcoals along with half a dozen bags of oak and other hardwood chunks and 6 bags of pellets.
We burned too much wood the first night, not thinking how isolated we were about to become as there were NO businesses open in South Austin, none.
No gasoline, no food, fast or grocery, no firewood, no nothing plus iced over roads with no traffic to wear the ice down to make it more passable.
The wife was terrified of carbon monoxide from the charcoal being burned in the fireplace but as the wood supply shrank I was able to start burning some along with cooking pellets.
Ended up burning toilet paper and paper towels and cardboard boxes along with charcoal and pellets to try to keep the house warm enough to prevent burst pipes attached to the water heater in the attic. (we also ran the faucets several times an hour).
The pipes did not burst but we know of 4 houses that flooded from burst pipes and those were our close neighbors, don't know about the rest of the street yet.
Yesterday we cleared out three freezers containing our ruined Covid frozen meat (and leftovers) stash.
All in all pretty scary, even with multiple layers of clothes on, it was too dang cold.
I'm glad you came out alright and all that wood saved ya.
I wish I could have been able to get a msg to you and tell you to move your frozen food outside since temps were freezer cold anyhow. I put all my fridge food in the bed of my truck and told a buddy to take all his and put into a cooler and put the cooler out on the back porch.
My freezer is in my garage and the temps in the garage were cooler than the freezer so I had no worries since the temp in the freezer could never raise higher than the temp of the garage hahaha.

Lots of people had it pretty bad I'm just glad I was well prepared, had a gas stove, gas fireplace, propane grill, and a little luck break my way with water not freezing up all over. I'm using internet over my mobile phone but once internet comes back to my home and my street thaws out (end of day tomorrow) I should be 100% again at my residence.
My rental property had pipes bust but the tenants got the water cut off... I hope quickly. I still have no idea of the damage and the property management company is iced in as well so maybe Monday I'll know something more.

I tell you what. I researched an an R-4 rated insulation was suggested insulating water pipes that are in the attic. I found info stating that 2 inches of plain fiberglass insulation wrapped around indoor water pipes will provide over an R-4 rated insulation factor so I know what I'll be doing to winterize my attic pipes in my home and my rental property so I don't have to mess with busting pipes in the attic!

My prayers and best wishes go out to all of those less prepared and less fortunate that us.

On a side note. My brother is a power plant control room operator for a big plant near Ft Worth. Him and his crew made some intelligent and gutsy calls that kept his plant up Monday. His plant was the only big boy power plant to stay up early Monday morning and continue operating on Monday when the rest were dropping off the grid. They were told today that their plant not going down and their plant continuing to stay online that day (unlike the other big boy plants) kept the whole state of Texas from going dark.

Now can't attest to the complete accuracy of that information but I know he isn't making this stuff up and has been working nonstop and sleeping at the plant until last night. I also know that he, his crew, and their plant will get no credit for their work Monday because all the big wigs are chewing everyone's ass out about how many millions of dollars they are losing every moment as these guys have to fight fires and bring engines up and down and keep the from completely blowing out.
He hadn't thought of it when I was talking to him on the phone, but I told him the work they did seriously saved lives. So I am proud of him and his crew and I'm glad we have him and guys like him looking out for all of us.
As for the big wigs, well... to hell with them. They'll be nice and warm where they are going in the end since they only care about dollars and not the well being of the people they service or the good deeds their employees are doing in times like this.

I wish all of you well during these times and thanks for letting me ramble and rant :)
 

Brokenhandle

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One question I have and don't want to step on any toes or make anyone mad but with freezing temps and no heat and some people with no water... but after seeing so many pics on news with busted pipes and water running out of people's houses, why didn't people turn their main water valves off and drain the lines? Would've saved many huge issues in an already terrible situation.

Ryan
 

tallbm

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One question I have and don't want to step on any toes or make anyone mad but with freezing temps and no heat and some people with no water... but after seeing so many pics on news with busted pipes and water running out of people's houses, why didn't people turn their main water valves off and drain the lines? Would've saved many huge issues in an already terrible situation.

Ryan
No offense taken here.

Many folks don't even have a clue about that option.

Others who rent homes or are newly in the homes may have just not gotten around to figuring that out, frozen pipes isnt really a thing in Texas... until this past week hahaha. This is also why the pipes arent weatherized and most industrial facility equipment in the state is not weatherized as well.

A guy I worked with did almost that. He went to bed Sunday night and woke up monday morning with no power and his water had frozen. He turned off his main water valve but was at the mercy of the water in his lines because it was already blocked up so no draining it.
His thought process was to keep the dmg to a minimal with the water line turned off.

I can tell you many people have learned lots of lessons from this and things like dripping faucets, weatherizing attic water pipes, and learning where the water cutoff is will be burned into their mind forever hahaha.

It's a similar phenomenon when you hear in NYC that people are dying from a heat wave of 100F for 2 days. They just aren't setup to deal with unexpected temps and mother nature punishes us all for it.
I once flew from Dallas to Minneapolis and forgot my coat. It was 70 degrees in Dallas and 4 degrees in Minneapolis in like Jan 15th of 2012. I hauled my but to Walmart and to my surprise bikinis and swim trunks were on display but there but no coats!!!! I almost bought a hunting jacket but then saw some clearance U of M pull over "coats" and bought one.
What I'm getting it is that simply not thinking can get us into trouble, and sometimes it just happens hahahaa :)
 

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