CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - It feels like a day in the tropics compared to temperatures earlier this week, but many folks in our area are still dealing with the mess caused by frozen pipes busting open. Plumbers are booked up and the "do-it-yourselfers" are having a hard time finding needed parts.
Homeowner Ashley Williams is looking for a way to fix his busted pipes himself.
"I'm a fairly handy person, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper," Ashley Williams said.
He's navigating the crowded aisles of Ace Hardware looking for just about the same materials as everyone else.
"Everything from PVC, copper fittings, copper itself, just mainly dealing with a lot of busted lines," Ace Hardware employee Dakota Hunter said.
Pieces called "shark bites" are in high demand. Many sizes are sold out at retailers all over town. But if you can get your hands on the right fit, plumbers say it's the easiest fix for people who don't have the tools or know-how to solder.
"Just slide onto the pipe and just push it til it clicks and then you can join a pipe on the other side," Scenic City Plumbing Owner Jeff Logan said.
If you can't do it yourself, you may have up to a week-long wait to get your pipes fixed professionally.
"It's been exhausting, tiring, it's just been frustrating. We can't get to everybody. We're having to put people on a waiting list," Logan said.
Since they can't get there right away, they want you to know how to minimize damage to your home.
"We get phone calls that they've got water running and water coming through the ceilings and they don't know how to cut their water off," Logan said.
He says every homeowner should have a meter key. The problem with those is they flew off the shelves this week, too. You can still use pliers or a crescent wrench if you can reach the valve. Your cutoff valve could be in your basement or crawl space, or at your meter.
They hope many folks learned the importance of preventing pipe freezing this week. Ace has restocked those items, like faucet covers, so you can be prepared for next time temperatures plummet.
If you're determined to fix your pipes yourself, but can't find the parts in any retailers, you can try buying them direct from some local suppliers. Try calling up your favorite plumber and ask about the ones they use.