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Old 2021-02-20, 15:09   #78
Dr Sardonicus
 
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Originally Posted by LaurV View Post
Like Isoroku Yamamoto would say, the giant right now is waking up... Or, as we say in our language, any kick in the butt is a step ahead.
Isn't Texas one of the most sunny places in the world? (it appears so from the movies ).

This was maybe the kick in the back that will make everybody install solar panels. Yeah, well, you need to clean them after snow and sandstorms, but in the same time they'll reduce your dependency of the central supply, make you more independent, and flexible. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
This is up to the people of the Great State of Texas. If they're willing to live with a power system that collapses in cold spells, nothing will be done. The major difference this time around from previous times like 1989 and 2011 is, the cold was worse, and there was extensive damage to water systems. A quarter of the state's residents, including everyone in Houston, is under boil orders.

Two things they obviously have to address: One, improve the reliability of the natural gas production and distribution system. Having plentiful natural gas and a lot of natural gas-fired power plants does no good if extensive wellhead freeze-off, valves getting stuck, or pipes at treatment or collection facilities getting clogged with ice means the gas won't flow.

Two, find ways to prevent disasters to the water system when really cold weather hits. I'm not sure how much can be done to keep mains and service lines from freezing, but whatever can practically be done, should be. And residents need to know what they have to do to avoid major water damage to their homes if their pipes do freeze: Turn off their main shutoff valve before trying to thaw the pipes, and leave it off until frozen pipes are thawed. Then, turn the water back on and check to make sure their pipes aren't leaking. If they leak, shut the water off again until the pipes can be fixed.
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Old 2021-02-20, 15:54   #79
xilman
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I'm not sure how much can be done to keep mains and service lines from freezing, but whatever can practically be done, should be.
An obvious solution, used throughout the world where the surface gets cold but there is no permafrost, is to bury the main pipes a metre or two underground.

This doesn't prevent smaller pipes from freezing but at least those are easily isolable when they burst and the ice melts.

This is, of course, but a special case of wrapping water pipes in thermal insulation.

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Old 2021-02-20, 16:50   #80
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An obvious solution, used throughout the world where the surface gets cold but there is no permafrost, is to bury the main pipes a metre or two underground.

This doesn't prevent smaller pipes from freezing but at least those are easily isolable when they burst and the ice melts.

This is, of course, but a special case of wrapping water pipes in thermal insulation.
In Texas, the frost line runs from about 2 feet down in the north to less than 6 inches in the south. They bury the mains and service lines somewhat deeper of course, but sometimes the freeze makes it down to the pipes. About the only way I know to keep inaccessible pipes from freezing up if they get that cold is to keep water moving through them. Accessible pipes can be insulated or heated externally.

When I was a kid, the pipes for our kitchen sink ran along an outside wall, and sometimed froze enough to stop the water flowing (but not enough to break) during cold weather. My dad had a "trouble light" - a caged light fixture at the end of a long cord - which he would hang in the cabinet near the pipes and turn on. The incandescant bulb provided enough heat to thaw the pipes.
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