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Storms come with heavy winds and lots of rainfall, all of which can add up to some hefty damage after the storm clouds clear. Before the storms start to roll in, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage. Whether you live in an area that gets frequent hurricanes or massive thunderstorms, there are ways to protect your property. Here are a few tips to try before you call for plumbing service in the wake of a storm.
While there’s no way to completely prevent plumbing problems, particularly during storm season, there are ways to mitigate potential problems and minimize the damage. The faster you schedule plumbing service, the less damage to your property. Plus, the less danger to your things. Follow these steps to help keep your plumbing service in the maintenance category instead of an emergency job.
Check Your Drains in Advance
Your drainage system is the first line of defense against the raging water of a storm. Gutters and outdoor drains push water away from your home, keeping the foundation, walls, and windows dry, even when heavy winds throw water from unexpected directions. If debris blocks your gutters, it might lead to leaks inside your home or even flooding. Avoid these issues by taking the time to do a quick inspection and remove anything that could clog these systems.
When inspecting your gutters and outdoor drains, look for leaves, weeds, trash, or other items that could form a clog. Downed branches are another possible culprit. By clearing out anything that could run into the drainage system, you reduce the likelihood that you will need plumbing service after a storm and help prevent a major repair bill and hours of clean up from flooding.
Test Your Sump Pump
If you have frequent flooding or have a home with a basement below grade, a sump pump is one way to keep storm waters outside of your home. The sump pump activates automatically, pumping water out as quickly as it runs in. At least, that happens when everything is working properly. When a storm is rolling in, take a few minutes to make sure your sump pump is actually up and running. Pour some water into the drain with the pump and watch it turn on. The float should move freely and activate the pump as soon as the water reaches the right level.
If the pump doesn’t activate, check for any debris that might be blocking the float. It’s always a good idea to clear out the recesses housing your sump pump. Even if nothing is blocking it now, debris can shift as water runs into the drain.
If the sump pump isn’t working properly, schedule an emergency plumbing service appointment. A broken sump pump can add up to hundreds of gallons of water pooling in your basement and a major repair job. Fixing or replacing a sump pump is inexpensive and quick.
Monitor Your Septic System
If you are not on a city sewer system, you likely have an underground septic tank. If there are any clogs or backups in the system, the sudden addition of rainwater can cause sewage to back up through the lines and into your home. Before the storm season starts, it’s a good idea to schedule plumbing service for your septic tank, particularly if you notice any strange odors, slow drains, or clogged toilets. All of these may be symptoms of a larger problem that will only be exacerbated by heavy rainfall. Contact us at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain for a quick an thorough inspection of your septic tank, before the system is under pressure.
Locate Your Main Water Valve
If you need plumbing service at any time, it is a good idea to know where your main water valve is located within your home. After all, that main valve is often the first stop when you have any flooding. From a burst pipe to a hot water heater malfunction, turning off the water is a quick way to stop any additional water from entering your home.
During storm season, it can be particularly important to know where your valve is, especially if you might need to evacuate in a hurry. Before you evacuate, it is a good idea to turn off the water and drain all of your pipes. Turning off the water prevents contaminated fluid from entering the system, keeping your pipes clean and clear. Even if you don’t need to evacuate, you might want to fill your sinks and bathtub with clean water and then turn off the mainline. Contamination is always a concern during heavy storms.
Perform an After-Storm Inspection
Once the storm has passed, you’ll want to start by taking a look at any damage left behind. Remember that pre-storm inspection for debris? Time to do it again. Look for downed tree branches, piles of dirt or leaves, and any pooling water. Take a minute to clean up any obvious problems before you turn the water back on. After turning on the water, check all of your plumbing for problems. Make sure none of the faucets are leaking and that all drains appear to be functioning normally. Also, flush all of the toilets in the house and make sure they are in good working order. You’ll also need to check on the hot water heater, but it may be an hour or so before you have enough hot water for a complete test.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary, you’ll want to schedule plumbing service as quickly as possible. Plumbers are often inundated with calls after a storm, so the faster you call, the more quickly you can have an experienced plumber at your door.
At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, we offer emergency plumbing service for homeowners and businesses. If you need plumbing service, you can visit our website to find a service provider near you or give us a call at 1-844-HOP-TO-IT.