3 scams to watch out for if your pipes bust in the Texas freeze

Sub-freezing temperatures like we’ve seen in North Texas this week will assuredly lead to frozen and busted pipes.

DALLAS — The unfortunate reality of sub-freezing temperatures and wintry weather like we’ve seen in North Texas this week is this: Pipes will freeze and burst, under certain circumstances.

That might especially be the case when bitterly cold temperatures in the teens and 20s – and wind chills making it feel even colder – persist for several days, as we’ve had in North Texas.

And you might not know the extent of such damage until temps warm up and your frozen pipes begin to thaw out.

So what do you do when this happens? You’ll likely need to help of a plumber or contracting company to clean up and repair any water and pipe damage. That’s why the Better Business Bureau (BBB) on Tuesday sent out a few reminders on how not to get scammed in the process.

“After significant weather events that are likely to result in property damage, Better Business Bureau typically receives an increase in reports of unethical contractors operating across affected regions,” the company said.

Here were some of the common complaints and problems you need to look out for, per the BBB:

  • The contractor requires a significant deposit (over 50% of the total estimate) from the property owner and then continually postpones the start date until communication stops. Any effort by the homeowner to contact the business is unsuccessful, and the business’ physical location is either too distant to travel to, abandoned, a residential home for sale, or a vacant lot.
  • The homeowner is approached by a contractor who claims they have excess material left over from a nearby project, and the business can pass the savings on to the homeowner if they can start work immediately. Once the contractor begins the project, the scope of work expands far beyond what was initially estimated, and the homeowner is held accountable for paying a final bill that is significantly more expensive than they expected.
  • Repairs on systems requiring specialized work (plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, etc.) are done by an unlicensed individual, leaving the homeowner liable if the contractor did not do the repairs correctly or did not comply with the applicable housing codes.  

In Texas, you can check to see if a contractor’s or plumber’s license is valid by checking with a regulatory agency, such as the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

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When will it warm up in Texas?

Temps “warm” this week with afternoons above freezing by around midday Wednesday. Thursday will be pleasant, but another strong cold front arrives knocking temps back to cold for next weekend. Mornings will be well below freezing with afternoons staying chilly. No wintry weather is expected with that front, but it will be cold again.

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