If your pipes busted this week, here's why it could take time to get a repair

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- More plumbers are heading to southeast Texas to help residents with busted pipes, but experts say it still might take a while for your home to get a repair.

Almeda Plumbing in Houston said they haven't slowed down this week.

"We're working all around the clock," owner Everardo Almeda said. "We can't stop working. We won't stop working."

Operators with the 311 Help Line said they've received about 5,000 calls this week from Houston residents due to busted pipes from the frigid cold.

If the cold caused your pipes to burst at your home or business this week, the company said costs can range from $300 for a single break, to upwards of $5,000 for an entire new system, and that's just for the plumbing.

"I would call different people, and get different prices," Almeda explained. "Go with your best deal."

Texas is now allowing out-of-state plumbers to help get resident's homes back in tack, but experts are warning against scams.

They say be cautious, as the emergence of out-of-state plumbers could bring trouble.

"Anyone who knocks on your door, or contacts you through any kind of [social] media to do work in your home during a disaster, step back very quickly," president of Houston's Better Business Bureau Dan Parsons explained.

The Better Business Bureau said if you're looking to hire a plumber, you should first ask to see their plumbing licenses and if they are insured. Also, check their social media pages for customers' comments.

Lastly, they said residents can look for a BBB report to determine if the business is legitimate.

"If you find the lack of anything on a contractor from out-of-state, walk away," Parsons said. "I'm sorry, they may be wonderful people, maybe they've been doing it forever, but even the good people get complaints."

The BBB also says residents should be cautious of identity thieves who are looking to take advantage of victims after a disaster.

Don't give out personal information, and document everything. "Get everything you can," Parsons said. "I would even take a shot of the tech while he's working."

Experts said if you have a repair that can wait, take your time, and do your research.

Some plumbers say you may have to wait anyway because certain parts are in short supply.

"Even if we could get to you, the thing about it is, there are no parts," Almeda explained. "Even if we get there, we're not going to be able to fix it because it's so hard to get parts right now."

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