How Rain Can Affect Your Plumbing
Southern California is not known for getting a substantial amount of rain but certain areas get more than others. Anyone who lives in the rainy areas knows that rain is not harmless. While light drizzles rarely wreak havoc on your home, thunderstorms and heavy rains can damage your foundation, flood your house and ruin landscaping. But severe rains can also affect your home’s plumbing system. The ground gets softer and underground pipes will have more room to shift. Pipes will also have added pressure thanks to all of the extra rain water flowing through them.
Be mindful of these issues the next time it rains heavily in your area, then check to see the impact it made on your home.
What Problems Can Rain Cause For My Plumbing?
Increased Pressure on Pipes
Most plumbing systems are durable, but soil that has been saturated with water is heavier than regular soil and it can increase the exterior pressure to your piping which then can set off a variety of other issues. The added weight puts added pressure on the pipes within the soil. If these pipes are old, they could collapse or break. Mud is heavier
A major issue from heavy rain is that it can block your drains and cause water to overflow. Heavy rain will collect debris which can clog pipes. Sediment and waste can flow from these storms into your pipes which block water flow. Once this happens, you will see that you cannot access water from faucets or drains like normal. Heavy rain can help tree roots to grow and expand which then can pierce the piping and cause additional blockage and ruptures.
If your pipes have leaks due to heavy rains, the ruptures can allow debris to enter into the pipes and this debris can cause blockage which can back water into your basement or underground interior spaces.
Shifting and Ruptured Underground Pipes
Rainfall means wet soil. Wet soil loosens and becomes malleable. Once the earth around the underground pipes softens, the increased pressure placed on the pipes from the heavier mud can then cause shifting. Excess weight or pressure put on the pipes will bend, break, or rupture them. This can seriously ruin your plumbing systems if you are not cautious.
This is especially true when it rains after a drought or dry period, like in Southern California summers. During this time, the ground hardens. Following a dry period, intense rain in October and November can cause the ground to erode. Your underground pipes then feel immense pressure from the shifted grounds, which leads to breakage or misalignment. When these pipes and other fixtures (irrigation systems, for example) shift, problems occur. Joints will loosen, and hidden leaks can occur. In extreme cases, pipes can burst completely, causing your yard to flood.
Over Working the Sump Pump
Due to the ground saturation of heavy rains, and due to the type of soil that surrounds your home, the ground saturation will affect what happens to the excess water and where it goes. If the ground is permeable and mostly dry, the water drains away. If, however, the ground is not permeable or if the ground is already saturated and wet from previous rain, the water builds around the foundation of your home.
Gravity pulls water down a slope of a home located on an incline whereas the water located on a flat property has nowhere to go. As the water builds up, pressure can force it into your basement or crawl space.
Without a sump pump the water can collect and cause a flood. With a sump pump the water is drawn to the sump pit which then activates the pump to remove the water. The more rain the more water, and the more water the harder your sump pump works.
Flooding in the Basement or Crawl Space
Due to pipe blockage, a sewer backup or a broken sump pump, heavy rain can flood in your basement or crawl space and cause a host of issues including damage to your home’s foundation. Additionally, standing water or too much moisture can be the perfect environment for mold and other pests like termites, mice or rats. Generally, the longer the issue is left unfixed, the higher the costs to your bank account and health.
Signs Rain Has Damaged Your Plumbing
Take a look at your drains after a big rainfall. If they are overflowing, there is a good chance your pipes shifted and are potentially cracked, causing blockage. While a snake line may be able to unclog the drain, if the pipe has been significantly damaged it may need to be replaced.
If your pipes or drains leak water during or after a heavy rainfall, there is a good chance a pipe has clogged or cracked. Check the siding on your house, ceiling and walls for telltale signs. If you spot buckling paint, cracked or water stained walls or ceilings, or if your home’s siding is buckling, it is time to call the plumber.
Standing Water in Your Basement or Crawl Space
Standing water in your basement or crawl space should never be ignored. If your basement floods when it rains heavily it could be from a broken, leaking, or significantly clogged pipe, or from a sewage backup. Flooding can cause serious damage to your home’s foundation and can also lead to mold problems that can affect your health.
Contact a plumber immediately if you experience any flooding in your basement or crawl space so they can locate the source of the problem and fix it before it does further damage to your home.
Preventing These Problems
Regular preventative maintenance on your home plumbing will go a long way toward avoiding most problems. If your plumbing is in ideal working condition, the additional stress of heavy rainfall should not cause it significant harm. Backups are more common when there is waste build-up in the drains and pipes. When rainfall adds pressure on this already burdened plumbing, problems become exacerbated. Drain cleaning and maintenance to catch and repair leaks will protect your plumbing and your home from these destructive and expensive problems.
Know When to Give Best Plumbing a Call
If you need help with your garbage disposal, sinks, or any other plumbing issue, call Best Plumbing Services at 951-788-1321 for professional drain cleaning methods. Located in Riverside, California we are family owned and operated with over 10 years of experience. We take pride in our service and expect each job to be completed as if it were our own home or business. Our Licensed Plumbers and Technicians will be professional, clean and polite.