water. In fact, it was the only source of water for several of his neighbors as well.
“I got word out to my four neighbors that live close to me that I have a hot tub and they all showed up with buckets. My neighbor that lives across from me has four kids with one of them in diapers. We’re simple people, and this has been a strain,” Martinez said.
Martinez said the anxiety was overwhelming each time the power turned off, and with 8 inches of snow on the roads, they weren’t able to leave the house for a week. Seven days after the snow started falling, they were finally able to get to his son’s house just so they could take a bath.
“I’m not a complaining type guy. We get dealt the hand that’s dealt our way and just do what we can. My family is good, and my customers are cool, but it’s just been a trying time, man – it really has,” Martinez said.
Martinez says if anyone wants to help, donating to the San Antonio Food Bank would be valuable, and they do a great job of distributing food to the people who need it.
As far as his pool business went, he said that while his customers knew that severe weather was on the horizon, they all planned to simply keep the pumps running. No one had considered a black-out.
“That presents a whole different argument and strategy because when the temperature is 10 degrees and the power turns off, the pipes freeze pretty quickly. Then when they turn your power back on and the pump engages, it’ll blow your pipes up,” Martinez said.
Martinez said the damages that he has seen or heard about are probably only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
“So far, we’ve had a bunch of Jandy three-way valves go out – just crack right down the middle. And this is not a dog on Jandy by any chance – I love Jandy, but when the pump pushes the water, the ice acts like a bullet and the most vulnerable spot is going to blow,” Martinez said.
He expects that he will be seeing a lot worse in the coming months, and is anticipating a flood of phone calls as things begin to thaw.
He notes that in addition to the pool and spa equipment shortages, there is also a shortage of PVC, which will make replumbing housing a priority and swimming pools a challenge.
In August, 2020, Hurricane Laura, which helped to cause the fire at the Biolab chemical plant in Westlake, Louisiana, also caused limited physical damage to Westlake Chemical, a manufacturer of PVC. This, and planned outages at other PVC plants have dramatically reduced the availability of PVC, a fact the construction industry has been facing for months.
Martinez said pool distributors were all having trouble supplying PVC already, and he has a feeling the industry will be in a hard predicament finding PVC.
“Something tells me that this run on pipe is going to be huge,” Martinez said.
He plans to organize an area-specific network of reputable pool repair technicians to try to get pool owners taken care of as quickly as possible.
“It’s not about money. Money doesn’t matter when you don’t have water and electricity,” Martinez said.
40 miles south, Becky Clayson, owner of B & R Pool and Spa Service in San Antonio, also lost power and water for 24 hours at a time during Texas’s freeze.
She said with everyone in the city running water at a slow drip to prevent their pipes from freezing, the water tower was drained. Then the pumps which help supply water to the tower froze, so it took some time before water was restored.
“We were melting snow to flush toilets. It was a pretty hectic week,” Clayson said.
On the whole, Clayson counts herself among the more fortunate to have weathered the storm, and as the temperatures began to warm up, she spent time building a snow man with her great granddaughter.
So far, she’s only received one call regarding broken pipes, but she expects to see more in the coming days.
“I’ve been pretty blessed,” Clayson said.
Good job Aryanna & Zoey, We like your style!