The Bay Area has been caught up in a bunch of storms as of late, so we think now is about as good of a time as ever to talk about your plumbing during wet weather. You may not think that rain can cause plumbing issues, but you'd be surprised.
Here are three plumbing problems that are caused by rain:
Especially if there has been a long dry spell, heavy rains can cause the ground to shift considerably, to the point that it may break pipes. Dry soil becomes quickly infused with a lot of moisture, causing it to move and expand. This movement can break brittle pipes. You’re most likely to face this problem if your pipes are older, made of galvanized steel or similar materials.
How will you know if your pipes are broken? You may notice discolored water and debris in your water, which may be due to broken pipes underground.
A lot of rain water brings debris with it. Twigs, leaves, trash and dirt can all get into the sewer system to the point that it clogs drains. One recommended precaution you can take is to keep your roof clean and free of debris to avoid additional clogging that could have been avoided.
You’ll notice your pipes are blocked if your drains seem sluggish and your water doesn’t quickly go down the drain as normal. You may also notice a smell of sewage. Your first line of defense is to try using a plunger, but if it doesn’t work, you may need the help of a professional plumber. It’s also advisable to wait a few hours before losing hope. It could be that the city’s sewers are also backed up and until things clear, your drains won’t either. If the problem persists, the problem may be more localized.
If you have a septic tank on your property, the heavy rain may saturate your drain field, meaning that your tank is unable to properly output water. It can get to the point that your drain water has nowhere to go but back up through the pipes. This problem may require some serious adjustments to your septic tank system and also implicate water usage restrictions until your drain field is dry again.
When hard rain storms show up in Northern California, make sure that you’re looking out for any of these problems before they get too serious. Also, take precautions throughout the year to keep all of your drains free and clear. Avoid allowing debris to build-up over time that would be washed away all at once with a heavy rain, clogging your drains.