Photo By PeopleImages at istock
Hurricanes and thunderstorms are often a part of life in Brandon, FL. Preparation for potentially damaging storms is also part of life. Plumbing repairs while everything is quiet are a good way to prepare for any potential storm that could arise in the future.
Sometimes plumbing is overlooked because plumbing infrastructure is often underground or otherwise out of sight. Large amounts of water can overwhelm drainage systems, and potential weak spots and stressed areas in a home’s plumbing may break during the stress of a storm.
Drainage and Flooding
Many homeowners have sump pumps to use when flooding becomes a concern. Sump pumps are useful tools, but they must be maintained to do their jobs correctly. Clear outside pipes and remove any clogs. Make sure fuel supplies for your chosen power source are stocked up and ready.
Drainage systems are extremely important in wet weather. Make sure roof gutters and downspouts are securely fastened. Clear debris from roadside curbs and clean backed-up drains. A dirty, cluttered drain can not handle torrents of water. Slow drains create much bigger problems during heavy, prolonged rain. Test drains by pouring water into them and monitor the time it takes to drain. Contact a professional for plumbing repairs if a small amount of water takes more than a few seconds to drain.
Tree roots may not be the first thing that comes to mind concerning plumbing repairs, but tree roots can always be a threat to sewer pipes. Call a professional to inspect your property for roots that could cause problems and perform necessary plumbing repairs. Tree roots can obstruct pipes and interfere with water flow, and damage can be even more extensive during high winds.
Septic Tanks and Sewer Backups
Homeowners with septic tanks need to be vigilant with maintenance. A septic tank near its limits should be pumped out before a storm because heavy rains can flood drain fields and cause backups.
Homeowners may need to decide if they should plug drains to prevent sewer backups. New homes have anti-backflow check valves in main sewer lines. These valves should remove the need for drain plugs, but they have been known to fail. Have a profession check backflow valves and clear debris as part of routine plumbing repairs. A licensed contractor may be able to install a check valve in older homes. It may be a good idea to ask about plugging your drains as well, just in case. Sewer backups can destroy a home’s carpeting or furniture, and contaminated water is a health hazard.
Some homes also have slice valves. These are accessed through a holdout in the basement floor and can be turned on and off in case of flooding. Drain plugs are a backup option. Test balls are used for pressure-testing, but they can seal drains in an emergency. Inflated balls in drains block water flow in and out. A twist plug is inserted into a pipe and a wing nut is turned until the plug is wedged tightly. Twist plugs are available in a variety of sizes for floor, shower, and toilet drains. Pressure plugs are cone-shaped rubber or wood plugs. They may require bracing to keep them in place.
Pool maintenance is also important before hurricane season. Spray pool decks with water and time drainage. Remove grass, dirt, mulch and other debris that may block drains and clear an unobstructed route to low areas in the yard. Ideally, water should quickly flow away from the house and pool deck.
Clear all debris from pool decks without drains so nothing blocks the edge. Any obstacle, even small pieces of debris, can stop water from draining in the correct direction. Consider digging a small trench to direct water to low areas away from the home. Contact a professional for plumbing repairs if you aren’t sure how to optimize drainage.
Several plumbing preparations before an evacuation can protect your home. Sometimes homeowners choose to shut off water supplies before severe storms. This can prevent contamination in clean water supplies.Shut off the main water supply and turn on all faucets and fixtures to drain any remaining water in the system. Flush toilets to make sure they’re empty as well. This step is important in case any pipes break while the house is empty. Leave one faucet turned on so air can enter the plumbing system. An outlet for air exchange protects pipes from changes in pressure and ground saturation.
Open the dishwasher and washing machine. Make sure they are both empty so nothing can rattle around inside and damage the machinery. Keeping them open also reduces risk of mold growth during periods of inactivity. Put water heaters on the ‘vacation mode’ setting or turn them off completely. Contact professionals for plumbing repairs to prepare your home to be sure everything is as safe as possible.
After a Storm
Inspect property when it is safe to do so and clear any wind blown debris from gutters and drains. Look for leaks, cracks, and discolored water. Run faucets and showers to make sure they work correctly. A professional can handle plumbing repairs after a storm and test water for contamination.
Water hammer, or hydraulic shock, may occur when you turn water back on after draining the system. The noise comes from plumbing pipes banging against each other or against walls and wood framing. Air in the plumbing lines lets water oscillate back and forth, which causes pipes to move as well. The solution is to drain the system again and refill it so the trapped air is confined to designated air chambers.
Contact the professionals at Drain Flo Plumbing in Brandon, FL, to assist with plumbing repairs before or after a storm. Plumbers can help prepare your home for an evacuation and make sure your plumbing is in good shape to handle a storm.