HOUSTON – The state of Texas has 60,000 licensed plumbers and the challenge they all face is “overwhelming,” according to Frank Denton, chairman of the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners.
No doubt the repair process is a daunting task. Last week’s tens of thousands of homes and businesses were hit during the historic freeze, forcing plumbers to the front lines again. However, the aftermath of this storm is very different from that of Hurricane Harvey.
In fact, every plumber that KPRC 2 Investigates has spoken to says that it is much worse because of the damage sustained in every region of the state.
To handle the massive volume of repairs, Governor Greg Abbott eased plumbing restrictions on Friday, allowing former licensed plumbers who have left the industry in recent years to re-enter the system. The state also issues provisional licenses to plumbers from other states who are licensed. Other state plumbers hired by Texas-based companies are also covered by the company’s Texas license.
Everything was done to speed up the process with more licensed installers.
Victor Martinez of vectors Plumbing and Drains has already seen a pipe burst as a result of poor repair by a contractor according to Harvey.
“What happened is that they didn’t put the insulation in. You didn’t put the correct pipe in and unfortunately this customer has to rip up the entire main bath to do the correct repair, ”Martinez said.
Repair mistakes are also made by homeowners who choose to do it themselves without the professional experience that a licensed plumber brings.
“I go from a broken pipe to 14 holes in the same house and that’s the problem, we can’t see that until we see running water,” Martinez said.
Denton said a licensed plumber invested a lot of time trying to get state recognized and would not cut corners.
“You are not going to jeopardize this license by doing something inappropriate,” he said.
An unlicensed contractor or handyman is also not on the hook.
“You have no recourse in case something isn’t done right,” said Denton.
However, the state plumber registry does not allow Texas residents to determine if a plumber is licensed, but rather allows customers to review their disciplinary history.
This is a post-freeze challenge. The other? Filing a claim and addressing it.
“I worry about the people in Texas because they will really see what kind of policies they bought and they will really see what their carriers are made of,” said Merlin Law’s storm attorney Rene Sigman.
Sigman suggests knowing your policy and filing a lawsuit quickly, as burst pipes can have 48 hours.
A public insurance expert told KPRC 2 Investigates, do not throw anything away as it is evidence of the damage suffered. If the carpets are wet, keep a piece of it. S.
Sigman said everything needs to be documented in order for dollars to flow back into your home.
“You could call that number on your policy and no one will answer you, document it,” Sigman said.
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