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Blogs from April, 2024

Downtown Los Angeles in the aftermath of an earthquake.

As a homeowner, the prospect of an earthquake is a daunting one. Not only does your family's safety come first, but safeguarding your property, including your home's plumbing, is a priority. Severe quakes can lead to ruptured pipes, catastrophic water damage, and secondary hazards, such as gas leaks and electrical fires.

In our latest blog post, we explain how to prepare your home’s plumbing for earthquakes and how to protect your plumbing during an earthquake.

Pre-Earthquake Plumbing Preparation Tips

There are a few things homeowners can do to prepare their home’s plumbing system for earthquakes. The following are tips for protecting your home’s plumbing before an earthquake.

Secure Heavy Appliances and Water Heaters

Start with securing heavy appliances in your home. It’s imperative that you wall-mount or otherwise stabilize items like washing machines and refrigerators. Also, water heaters can be a significant hazard if they topple, causing water, gas, or electrical damage. Utilize earthquake straps or brackets to firmly attach the water heater to the wall.

Install Flexible Pipe Connectors

When an earthquake occurs, the ground moves in ways that can cause rigid plumbing to break. Flexible pipe connectors, such as braided stainless steel hoses for washing machines and seismic gas shutoff valves, can greatly reduce the risk of damage.

Locate Your Main Water Shutoff Valve

Make sure that all family members are aware of the location of the main water shutoff valve. Familiarize yourself with its operation and have a tool on hand that is suited for its type, such as a valve key or wrench.

During an Earthquake

During an earthquake, the most important thing you can do is keep yourself and anyone else in your home safe. However, if you can safely do so, you may be able to protect your home’s plumbing during an earthquake by doing the following.

Shut Off Gas and Electricity

In the event of a significant earthquake, minimize the risk of fires or shocks by turning off the gas and electricity. Understand where your main shutoffs are and how to use them safely. Electricity poses a risk due to potential downed power lines or other electrical issues that may arise.

Shelter Indoors and Avoid Water Areas

When you feel the tremors, take cover and hold on. Indoors, stay away from windows, heavy furniture that can topple, and specifically water fixtures or appliances. Falling into water or being near a burst pipe can be dangerous.

Post-Earthquake Plumbing Checklist

After an earthquake, you should check your home’s plumbing for damage. Here’s a post-earthquake plumbing checklist you can use.

Inspect Your Home for Gas Leaks

Check for the smell of gas, listen for a hissing sound, and look for any visible damage to gas lines. If you suspect a gas leak, vacate the premises and contact your gas supplier immediately.

Assess Water and Sewer Line Damage

After the shaking stops, check for water running in places it shouldn't, slow or stopped water flow, and signs of leaks. Monitoring your sewer lines for breaks or backed-up wastewater is equally important, as contamination could pose a health risk.

Turn Off the Main Water Supply

If there is any sign of water line damage or severe leaks, turn off the main water supply to the house to prevent further damage.

Call a Professional Plumber for an Inspection

Not all damage is obvious. Some issues may be hidden. Have a licensed plumber inspect the entire plumbing system for any damage.

By taking the time to secure your plumbing, you’re not only protecting your investment but also the well-being of your family in the event of a disaster. Remember that the steps outlined above should be part of a broader emergency preparedness plan for your home. Being proactive can save precious time and resources in the aftermath of a quake.

At Moe Plumbing Services, our plumbing team offers earthquake home protection services. To learn more or to speak with our plumbers in Los Angeles, call us at (818) 396-8002 or contact us online today.