Permian Basin Preparing for Arctic Blast

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS--You definitely want to bundle up when you head outside.  But it's not just yourself you should think about keeping warm.  When it comes to your indoor plumbing and outdoor faucets, make sure you've got all your bases covered.

"If you don't, then you're going to be calling.  It's going to be pretty rough.  We haven't seen this since 1983.  It's going to be pretty bad," Tommy Ervin, President and Partner of Ervin Plumbing, said.

Ervin has been in the plumbing business for over 40 years.  When it comes to freezing pipes, he knows what needs to be done, to keep it from happening.

"I strongly recommend the heat tapes, the drop lights, the blankets over the water well stuff, the swimming pool piping.  We've had some calls on that this (Wednesday) morning.  I'm recommending a lot of blankets be put over them.  That helps quite a bit," he explained.

Ervin added, that goes for homes that have pipes all over, "A lot of companies have put plastic pipes up in the attics.  If those attics get cold enough, which they will, they'll bust, then you've got sheet rock falling down on kitchen tables and bathrooms and there's a lot of money, right there."

Ervin also said don't forget those outside faucets too, "Faucet covers.  They're little pieces of styro-foam that go over the faucets.  We'll still be getting calls on those, this evening."

But what if you can't get to your pipes to properly insulate them?  Ervin suggests, turn your water off completely and open the faucets, "Turn all the faucets on so the water drains out and the air gets in all your lines then on Saturday, you can turn everything back on."

Apartment complexes are also doing their part to make sure tenants do have to worry about frozen pipes.

"The ones that we work with, we've talked to those guys on the phone, the maintenance guys.  The last minute thing is to leave a faucet dripping.  If you live in an apartment and your wall is on the North side, I strongly suggest you leave that faucet dripping.  That will keep enough warmth running through the pipes to keep the pipes from freezing," Ervin said.

The bottom line, Ervin says, you can call him now or call him later, "You've got to take all the precautions.  It's going to get cold enough, so don't gamble.  If you gamble, you're going to lose on this one."

This extreme winter weather is expected in the area tonight (Wednesday) and for the next two days.  If you need any kind of assistance to help protect yourself against these conditions, you can call the Emergency Operations Center at 2-1-1.