TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Predictions say East Texas will see its coldest weather in 20 years by the end of this week. Many homes built in the past two decades have faced frigid temperatures, but not for the duration we are expecting to see in the coming days.
It's a problem you don't realize until it's too late. A few turns of a faucet, a few drops, and, the rest? Frozen.
"This is the first cold spell we've had like this coming up in a few years," said Cliff McCoy with McCoy Plumbing in Tyler.
It has been around 20 years, say the weather experts, during which time the City of Tyler saw just over 6,000 new homes built. At McCoy Plumbing in Tyler, they know the 'X'-factor when it comes to sub freezing temperatures.
"It's mainly [during] the continuous days of cold weather, you could have one or two nights of cold weather below freezing...[with] a long spell of it, they don't have time to thaw back out," said McCoy.
So, which parts of a home are most susceptible? Anything outdoors.
To protect your faucets from a freeze, take an ordinary dish towel and wrap it around the faucet and secure in place. Now, add an outside faucet cover by slipping it over the faucet head and securing.
To protect the connecting pipe inside, insulation and a space heater can keep things warm.
Newer homes feature newer plumbing, built to handle the cold.
"It will swell up twice the size and go back and opposed to copper or the older homes which have the galvanized piping," explained McCoy.
And for longer stretches of pipe there is a solution.
"It's insulation you can put on any outside pipe," said McCoy. "You can put it on. It's pretty easy to install and you can find it at most hardware stores or plumbing supply houses. [It is a] lot cheaper than a plumber and the service calls and the inconvenience of being without water."
Local hardware stores say their supply pipe insulation materials are running low. They say if you are not able to purchase any before the storm hits, area plumbers are equipped to protect your exposed pipes. If all else fails, plumbers say towels or newspaper can also be wrapped as insulation.