^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
4

DFW Goes Plumb Crazy During COVID-19 Crisis

You think COVID-19 is scary? Try a Texas summer without a working air conditioner.
You think COVID-19 is scary? Try a Texas summer without a working air conditioner.
H Padleckas / Wikimedia Commons

Advice from DFW plumbers during the COVID-19 crisis: stop flushing weird stuff down the toilet.

Because of our bizarre, virus-fueled run on toilet paper, many area residents are being forced to resort to alternative options. Kleenex. Wet wipes. Paper towels. Napkins. No reports yet of leaves or corn cobs, but we’re only in Day 5 of “shelter in place,” so stay tuned.

Reminder: There is no viable substitute for toilet paper.

“Some of those things may be biodegradable, but they don’t break down as well as toilet paper when immersed in water,” says Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical president Jamie Wooldridge.

Adds Baker Brothers president Jimmie Dale, “We’re getting about twice as many calls (for clogged toilets) as usual.”

COVID-19’s gnarly tentacles are presenting “essential” businesses with a variety of quandaries.

As temperatures flirt with 90 degrees Thursday, HVAC service repair experts are the first responders to air-conditioning units being kicked on for the first time after winter hibernation. Those service calls are being made to potentially dangerous environments contaminated with coronavirus.

Along with adhering to the CDC’s guidelines of wearing protective masks/shields and gloves and remaining 6 feet apart during calls to homes and businesses, companies are taking extra measures to disinfect equipment between jobs and implement touchless transactions.

“When possible, we’re having customers simply read us the credit card number,” Wooldridge says. “Instead of passing the card back and forth between hands.”

Wooldridge says that if a customer tells Berkeys that they’re under quarantine or exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19, they’re asked to reschedule. Still, even without warning there is risk upon entering homes or businesses and touching multiple shared spaces with strangers.

“The fact is that the techs cannot only become infected, but also spread it to other places and other people,” Dale says. “That’s the part that really scares them and scares us. That’s why we’re being extra cautious and vigilant.”

Not surprisingly — in light of the airborne virus — there is also an uptick in inquiries regarding air purification systems.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Industry experts tout the Captura HEPA, which is advertised to trap viruses, germs, bacteria and allergens with a 99.7% efficiency, and the REME HALO, which claims to successfully defend staph (MRSA), SARS and E. coli by eliminating “sneeze germs” up to 3 feet.

Neither system has been tested specifically against COVID-19.

“But we haven’t come across anything that it can’t handle,” says Rene Luna, a representative of The Partners Group HVAC, which distributes to a four-state area including Texas. “We represent 16 other products, but this is the one people are asking for.”

Luna says demand for HALOs has risen “one thousand percent” in the last two weeks.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.