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‘Almost impossible to find parts’: Houstonians go through great lengths to get plumbing supplies

HOUSTON – Ed Hyde never fancied himself a pipefitter, yet a supply of pieces and parts plaster a table in his Katy-area home.

“Anyone who has a need we try to fill it,” Hyde said, referring to the supply of CPVC pipes that have become as good as gold.

As the inventory of pipes and other plumbing parts plummet at Houston-area hardware stores, some have taken it upon themselves to gather and distribute supply to desperate consumers. That’s what a group of neighbors in the Pine Mill Ranch neighborhood near Katy did.

Ed Hyde joined several of his neighbors.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate to have the supply continue along with us and we’ve had plenty of people show up looking for help,” Hyde said.

Madhav Parimi, a fellow neighbor, said most residents in the subdivision reported pipe damage but couldn’t find any replacement parts in stock at area hardware stores.

Parimi wondered if stores in Texas were sold out, was the same the case next door in Louisiana?

“An idea was if Texas doesn’t have it, maybe we can go look at stores in Louisiana,” Parimi said.

They did. Parimi ordered pipes and parts from hardware stores in Lafayette and Lake Charles. The group then turned to neighbor, Frank, to call a cousin of his across the state line. The cousin picked up the orders and met the Texans in Orange.

“As of now they still don’t have parts in the Texas area and getting that stuff to neighbors helped quite a few homes to get their water back on,” Parimi said.

The items are for sale and have been advertised on the neighborhood’s Facebook page. A pipe burst above James Brooks’ garage. He said he couldn’t find what he was looking for because store shelves were bare.

“It’s almost impossible to find parts right now,” Brooks said. He found what he needed at the neighborhood meet-up.

“I really feel that neighborly love going on,” he said.

Meantime a barbershop in Kingwood is giving away plumbing supply to families in need.

Kingwood Barbershop #1 is accepting donated parts from area plumbers. Owner Larry Skero said what he thought would be a small collection has grown to a nice supply of pipes and parts for families struggling to turn on their water. He said so far he’s helped 30 families and he says more donations continue to come.

“Every day somebody has come in here, either gotten something or they dropped something off. So it’s been blessings coming blessing going the whole time,” Skero said.