How an Earthquake Could Cost You

We don’t have tell you that earthquakes present many serious ramifications for homeowners. Most notably, there’s the potential for costly damage to your home in addition to major safety concerns. Sometimes, the damage you can’t see is just as troublesome as the obvious effects. Earthquakes can cause extensive damage to your home’s plumbing, and if the issues aren’t identified and repaired in a timely manner, you could be looking at even larger issues and repair costs later.

Because the Seattle area has experienced almost 200 earthquakes in the last year, it’s best to be aware of potential plumbing damage and how to recognize it after the tremors have passed. Here’s what you need to know about how Earthquakes affect your plumbing.


Identifying Damage Inside

Damage to your interior plumbing after an earthquake is often easy to spot. In general, any sort of damp spots or pooling on the floors, walls and ceilings likely mean your interior pipes are leaking somewhere. It’s also a good idea to listen for water leaking in the walls.

You should also monitor your water pressure after an earthquake. Simply check for consistent water pressure coming from the faucets around the house, in addition to bubbling and gurgling from your toilet. Fluctuating water pressure can be an indicator that your pipes have a leak, so try to identify poor water pressure where you can. Running your hands under water can work, but conducting a water pressure test will yield a more accurate pressure reading.

Also, keep an eye on your water meter, often located outside near the curb or driveway. You can check it once, then without using any water, check it again in a few hours. If your usage has continued during that time, then you likely have a leak. Similarly, if there’s an inexplicable increase in your water usage on your monthly bill, it often means you have an unidentified leak somewhere in your home or below the slab.

What to Look for Outside

It can be more difficult to identify exterior plumbing leaks simply because you often can’t see or hear them unless they’re obvious, but there are ways to identify even small leaks.

One key thing to watch for is small puddles and wet spots in the yard that don’t seem to dry up after a normal amount of time. Additionally, the presence of foul odors and excessive rodents and pests in your yard after an earthquake can indicate a breakage in your sewage line. Another key sign is grass or shrubs in certain areas of your yard turning a bright shade of green or growing at a much faster rate than before.

A major concern plumbing professionals have about earthquakes and exterior plumbing is the shifting that occurs in the ground around pipelines. The shifting doesn’t necessarily cause a breach right away, but it does add unstable amounts of stress to the pipeline. It can take days or weeks for the stress to build up and finally cause pipelines to break. Unfortunately, when it occurs weeks later, many people are no longer looking for leaks, so the problem persists. In some cases, it may be best to hire a plumber to inspect the lines outside your home to spot some unseen concerns before they become a larger issue.

Don’t Wait to Get Your Lines Inspected

Another issue homeowners often take for granted is the spike in demand for contractors and plumbers after something like an Earthquake occurs. It’s best to not wait until a small plumbing issue becomes a larger one and you’re left waiting for quality service to get your life back to normal. Contact a professional plumber right away to schedule an inspection of your water lines and piping.

South West Plumbing is your expert Seattle-area certified plumber. Our plumbers are trained to identify leaks of all shapes and sizes and will fix the problem quickly and professionally. For more information on plumbing services for your home call or visit us online today.