Local plumber warns of scams as it may take days for busted pipes to be fixed

Plumbers and supplies in high demand
Plumbers and supplies in high demand

HOUSTON – The latest episode of Texas’ unprecedented winter storm has homeowners at a loss with busted pipes.

Many local plumbing companies are stretched thin dealing with a sudden volume in calls for help with supplies for the jobs dwindling.

Many homeowners are rushing to the stores trying to make their own repairs. A plan professional plumbers say could be a very bad idea.

ARS Rescue Rooter, a local plumbing company that has been serving the Greater Houston area for years, said the best way to manage the issue is for the pipes to be fixed properly.

The Bodukoglu family’s water froze and their pipes busted despite their best efforts to insulate them.

ARS plumbing manager Chuck Teeter came to render aid Friday, three days after the family called.

“We’re going five days without water,” said homeowner Melinda Bodukoglu. “We called Tuesday. It’s been three days, but the plumbers are doing their best.”

Melinda and her husband Gary Bodukoglu have been dealing with the aftermath of busted pipes: a headache for any homeowner.

“It’s a huge inconvenience having to deal with insurance, having to deal with the day-to-day stuff you take for granted,” Gary Bodukoglu said.

Just like many others, they put in a call for help from a plumber but had to wait several days until actually receiving service.

“We fixed six to seven pipes,” Teeter said.

Many local plumbing businesses are swamped as the walls caved in and destroyed pipes after the wintery weather, according to Teeter.

“We have more than 1000 calls on our board and more than 70 trucks running around,” Teeter said. “This is an unprecedented event. Each leak takes three to four hours to repair. We don’t get to hit too many calls in a day with that kind of time.”

Despite the challenges, ARS’s priority is to get to customers as fast as they are able and with the warming temperatures people should expect to be serviced more quickly as crews are able to get around faster.

Teeter said customers could still have to wait a few days because of the demand alone. He also explained that materials are hard to come by as many are going to get the same materials.

“Everybody in the city of Houston is going to the same place: the Home Depot, Lowes... Everybody trying to take everything from there and people are trying to do it themselves,” Teeter said.

Teeter’s top advice to homeowners dealing with broken pipes now:

  1. Unless you’re a professional don’t attempt to repair pipes because you can make a costly mistake
  2. Do not fall victim to plumbing scams. Make sure the company you hire is reputable, licensed and insured.

“You’re going to have people coming, walking down the street with whatever they can find,” Teeter said. “That’s going to be a whole other kind of nightmare.”

Customers can check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to see if the company is listed in good standing.

The Bodukoglu family waited, but they said they are relieved they were able to get the job done right.

“This is like the best thing that ever happened,” Gary Bodukoglu laughed.

The other piece of advice Teeter offered?

“Have a lot of patience because everybody is upended with this,” Teeter said.