When hurricane season is in full swing, you hear plenty of recommendations for how to prepare. You're told to board up your windows, stock up on water and nonperishables, and secure your gutters. But do you know how to prepare your plumbing for a hurricane? One of the big threats of a severe storm or hurricane is the possibility of flooding, which can overwhelm your plumbing system and cause significant damage. Take a look at what you need to do when a hurricane is headed your way to help protect your plumbing and your home from hurricane-related damage.
Turn Your Water Heater Off
When you're in the middle of a hurricane and water is rising, heating and tanking water just puts additional pressure that your plumbing doesn't need on the system. Do yourself a favor and turn the gas or electricity to your water heater off.
Not only does this protect your plumbing system, but it will also ensure that you have access to safe water if you need it. The water in your hot water heater is potable, so if you end up stuck without safe drinking water during or after the storm, you'll want to be able to access the store of water in the hot water heater easily.
Secure the Pool Pump
If you have a pool, turn the pump off and remove the hoses, then move the pump to high ground where it won't be at risk of becoming submerged in flood waters. This will prevent damage to the pump, and you will easily be able to put it back in its place once the storm has passed.
Keep in mind that draining your pool before the storm hits is not advisable. The increased groundwater can cause the pool to float, lifting it out of place. Leaving the water inside the pool helps to weigh it down and can prevent expensive damage. Just remove all of the loose items that may be in your pool or around the pool deck.
Locate Your Drains and the Main Water Valve
Take a look around your property and locate any drains. Make sure that there is no debris or litter in or around the drains that may cause clogs. The more unobstructed your drains are, the better they'll be able to handle the storm runoff and the less likely your home will be to flood. It's worth checking the drains on the curb and the storm culverts near your property as well.
You should also locate the main water valve on your property if you don't already know where it is. Consider shutting the valve off as a preventative measure before the storm hits. This can prevent contaminated water from making its way into your home's water system and keep you from having to go out in the middle of the storm to turn off your water. If you choose to wait and see instead of shutting the water off before the rain starts, at least make sure that you can locate the valve and check to be certain that you can turn it off and on easily. That way, if it starts to look like flooding will happen, you'll be able to get to the valve quickly and shut the water off without a problem.
After the Storm
Once the hurricane passes, it's important to assess any damage that may have been done. Test your faucets and toilets once you turn the water back on, and don't drink any tap water until you're advised that it's safe to do so. Take a walk around your property to check the condition of outdoor drains and pipes. You should also keep an eye out for tree roots that may have been moved by the storm because these can cause damage to pipes if they're too close.
If you notice plumbing problems after a storm or see signs that your pipes are damaged, call a plumber in your area right away so that you can get started on the process of assessing damages and figuring out what plumbing repairs need to be made.