busted pipes

Plumbing Materials Still in Short Supply Weeks After Winter Storm

Plumbers say basic items like copper fittings are tough to find

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After the winter storm in February, plumbers were hard to come by.

Now, it's plumbing supplies.

“I've never seen material this hard to get,” said Randy Watson, owner of At-Ease Plumbing in Plano.

Watson said he was swamped with customer calls after the storm for everything from broken pipes to frozen pool pumps.

“I bet that first day we probably had 500 calls,” Watson said.

Six weeks later, he said he's caught up.

The supply chain hasn’t.

Watson said basic items like copper fittings, including couplings, which cost less than a dollar, are still hard to find. So are tankless water heaters, parts to fix pool pumps and even some faucets.

“It’s just a plain simple hot water dispenser. I just talked to the man today they told me 12 weeks,” Watson said.

Before last month’s storm, the supply chain was already strained because of the pandemic.

Now, after seven days of a ship blocking the Suez Canal, one of the world's busiest waterways, some experts say it could take weeks to get shipments back on track.

For Watson and his customers, it means some materials could remain in short supply for months to come, dragging out an already frustratingly long storm recovery.

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