3 Parts of Your Plumbing System that Need Earthquake Protection

Is your home’s plumbing ready for an earthquake? In Southern California, the earth is always moving beneath our feet. Luckily, most of these movements are never felt but that doesn’t mean the area doesn’t get rocked by noticeable seismic activity ever. In fact, whether you’ve lived in the region all your life or you recently moved here, it’s never a bad idea to make sure you’re prepared for an earthquake. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure your home’s plumbing is secure.

You want your plumbing system to stay intact during an earthquake, especially the water pipes, the water heater, and any gas lines in the home. Keep reading to learn more about how to prepare these parts of your plumbing system.

The Water Pipes

While there’s no such thing as an earthquake-proof waterline, although Japan’s been working on this for years, there are ways to protect your water lines from extensive damage during a major earthquake.

Consider how old your pipes are? If you own an older home that still has its original pipes, then it’s possible your pipes are beginning to show signs of wear and tear. Corrosion, cracks, and pinhole leaks are common in older pipes and significantly weaken the lines. Weak pipes can’t withstand the force of an earthquake and could fail even during minor seismic events.

Certain piping material is also more susceptible to earthquake damage. Many homes in Southern California have clay sewer pipes. This material breaks easily when there’s underground movement. Cast-iron is another popular pipe material. While cast-iron does hold up to movement, it’s susceptible to corrosion, which makes it substantially weaker.

Are we suggesting you replace all your home’s piping? It’s a good idea to start moving in that direction when you have aging pipes, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Planning ahead allows you to budget for the replacement and avoid as much as possible any inconvenience.

What material should I choose?

For the best recommendations, speak directly with your plumber. However, plastic PVC pipes are ideal replacements because they aren’t susceptible to corrosion and they allow for give. The material’s able to move with the earth without breaking.

The Water Heater

A water heater seems like a harmless appliance, but it has the potential to be quite deadly during an earthquake. Unsecured water heaters tip over and cause flooding, which can lead to electrocution if the water touches an electrical line. Also, if a gas water heater falls over, it could explore or cause a deadly gas leak.

All of this sounds quite scary, but there is an inexpensive solution. Visit your local hardware store and purchase a water heater strap. This mechanism secures the water heater to the wall or to a support beam to prevent water heaters from tipping.

If your water heater is in the middle of your basement and there’s not a support beam or wall available, contact a licensed plumber and find out about moving the water heater to a more secure location.

Gas Lines

Gas lines do break during major earthquakes. It’s something that homeowners and renters need to be aware of. One way to avoid this problem is to have your gas lines inspected regularly and make repairs or replacements when the pipes show signs of damage.

Also, you want to know where the gas valve shut-off is. After an earthquake, turn off the gas. Keep the gas off until you have the house inspected for any gas leaks.

Do You Need an Earthquake Plumber?

Call Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter. We’ll help you prepare your residential plumbing and commercial plumbing for earthquakes. Calls us today at (888) 668-8922.