Warning for homeowners facing drought-related problems

HOUSTON They are on the prowl for homeowners with foundation problems or who need repairs to things like sprinkler systems. Foundation repairmen and sprinkler companies are so back-logged with work that it could take weeks to get repairs done. With so many homes seeing problems, experts say consumers need to be extra careful before hiring anyone.

Unfortunately the dry weather is causing foundation problems to tens of thousands of Texas homes.

Jim Dutton with Du-West Foundation said, "Already in June, we have already tripled from what we would normally do in June and by the end of the year I expect it to be at least four times what is normal."

Dutton says long-time Houston companies that usually fix foundations are having a hard time keeping up with the demand. Dutton says that's leading to another problem.

"A third of the work we do is behind companies who came in and ripped homeowners off, didn't go deep enough with the system or shortcut the number of piers they put in," Dutton explained. "That causes problems down the road that have to be repaired."

While the average foundation repair job runs about $8,000, foundation repair companies are not licensed by the state of Texas. So it's important to know how long a company has been in business and see insurance documents for yourself before getting work done. That means calling the insurance company and asking for proof.

Leah Napoliello with the Houston Better Business Bureau explained, "You should make sure you get the insurance from the insurance company and also check for workers' compensation as well."

The same goes for sprinkler repair companies; however they are licensed by the state, so be certain to check for that as well.

"As long as their credentials can be checked then the homeowner, the client, whoever that might be, is safe," said Craig Hall with Hall Sprinkler Systems.

If you need foundation repair, experts say the job can wait. It is not something that must be done right away. So even if it does take a month or even two for a reputable company to get to your home, it is worth the wait.

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