Storm Plumbing Emergencies: How To Avoid Costly Repairs

  • William Demirdonder
  • Jan 27, 2022
  • No comments
  • 15-minute read
Storm Plumbing Emergencies: How To Avoid Costly Repairs

Summer in Sydney means potential Storm Plumbing Emergencies. Preparing for a storm can sometimes be left till the last minute or not at all.

If you experience a massive water event, or a ‘once in a decade’ storm (which I swear we have every year nowadays) it can wreck havoc on your plumbing system and potentially lead to an emergency call out to your local emergency plumber!

In this article, we will share our insight into storm plumbing emergencies and what you can do to try and avoid any costly repairs.

Pre-storm Season – Quick Tips 

Before the storm season arrives, put aside a Saturday afternoon and enjoy a routine spring cleaning the home’s downpipes, roof and gutters. Even gutters featuring mesh guards should be cleaned thoroughly.

You’ll want to get rid of any debris that can quickly clog and block a gutter or drain in the event of a large rainstorm. Your gutters serve an important purpose of moving large amounts of water off and away from your home, if they are blocked or broken and you experience a storm, you could be looking at 2 feet of water pooling on your roof, or nearby your front door, and you don’t want that.

Once the gutters are cleaned, it’s best to inspect your property’s stormwater drains. These may be covered by garden debris or over-grown grass. You’ll want to make sure the stormwater drains are easily accessible, clean and clear.

Clear any general rubbish or debris from around the house and yard. You want to take away anything that could be a potential hazard in a storm. 

Once you’ve inspected and cleaned around the property, check on your home’s insurance and ensure that you are covered for any water damage, flood damage and storm damage. (You might be covered from storm damage, but not from flood damage – even though the flood might be the result of the storm). Call your insurance provider to double-check, if you’re not sure what you are covered for in your policy.

What Can Happen in Storm Plumbing Emergencies? 

A heavy storm can affect the efficiency of your property’s drains and underground piping. It could also trigger major leaks or cause major blockages in unidentified areas of your home that have been lying undetected for some time.

Some common instances to observe post a storm-like condition are:

  • Blocked Drains and Pipes

    Drains and gutters are usually the first components to check after any storm. In addition to checking the gutters, you should also inspect the downpipes –whether or not they are flowing well. Make sure that the drains are clear. 

  • Increased Pressure on Pipes

    As heavy rain continues falling and the ground turns to mud, the increased pressure and weight sitting on the underground piping can lead to leaks or ruptures. Piping in most homes is specially built to be durable under storm-like conditions. However, if the system is older, it can affect the overall response. Therefore, it is recommended to inspect for the saturated ground around the piping after a storm.

  • Soak Wells or Overworked Sump Pumps

    Features like soak wells and sump pumps are specifically designed to keep the saturated ground from diverting the water away or affecting the property. However, heavy and sudden onset can put the system to test –especially if it is sustained or reach its capacity. A sump pump is responsible for actively pumping the water away from the property. It can get overworked by the immediate onset of stormwater. Therefore, it is important to know the capacity of these systems. Be prepared to check them after a storm.

  • Flooding and Hidden Leaks

    As your plumbing system is working hard under a heavy storm, broken down sump pumps, burst pipes, or blockages can lead to flooding or leaks in your home. Therefore, it is important to check areas mostly left unattended. Overflowing gutters can lead to leaks in the roof leading to damp and flooding in crawl spaces of your walls and roofs.

    Overflowing water from a broken pipe can also cause flooding in the basement. In such a case, it is crucial to do a full inspection of the house after a storm even when there are no visible damages.

Is Damage Sustained From A Storm Plumbing Emergency Covered by Insurance?

Most home and contents insurance will cover storm damage. This will include the overall damage due to rainwater, cyclones, lightning, hail, strong winds, and snow. 

Storms in Australia can easily turn from dangerous to life-threatening in a matter of moments. They can also potentially damage the plumbing system of your house, gas lines, electricity lines and access to clean, hot water. Contents insurance and home insurance can be helpful in covering you financially due to storm or hailstorm damage and some policies will also see you arrange alternate accommodation whilst necessary repairs are taking place. 

The type of storm cover in the contents insurance or home insurance policy will vary –depending on the insurance provider. Some inclusions to come across are:

  • Loss or damage due to strong winds
  • Loss or damage due to fallen trees and other debris
  • Loss or damage due to rainwater escaping from drains, gutters, or pipes
  • Loss or damage due to run-off of water from surfaces around the storm area
  • Loss or damage due to lightning strikes

You will need to talk with your insurance provider, read your policy and understand what your home is covered for (and up to how much) before storm season to rest assured that any damage potentially sustained will be covered by insurance. 

How to Avoid Costly Repairs?

It is possible to avoid costly plumbing disasters. No one enjoys expensive plumbing bills. But, it all takes is a single mistake for creating a plumbing nightmare. You can follow a few simple rules to avoid major disasters and bills. 

Some important plumbing checks to make around your home (ideally routinely) but if not, before any storm season: 

  • The Drains

    Downpours and storms can bring sudden, huge amounts of water through the plumbing system. Therefore, you need to make sure that all stormwater drains, gutters, and the entire drainage system are clear and clean from debris and blockages. You should ensure the same before the advent of the storm season. 

  • The Gutters and Roofs

    When you keep the gutters of your home clean and free from debris, water will flow away efficiently. It helps in preventing all types of storm damage to the plumbing system. A clear and clean gutter is your assured way to prevent all damages or expensive repairs after a summer storm. You should also get on your roof and clean the gutters there. Otherwise, you can book a professional team of local Sydney plumbers for a gutter maintenance appointment.

  • Water-based Appliances

    Appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and showers should be inspected for visible leaks. You should also check hot water systems for potential leaks. Appliances featuring leaks can waste water abundantly. Eventually, it could lead to unnecessary water or energy use and costly repairs when left untreated. 

  • Spa and Pool Areas

    As summer arrives, you want the pool area to function properly. Inspect the pool and spa for any potential leaks. Inspect the water filter and clean all debris. Also, check the pressure of the filter. 

The best way to avoid costly storm plumbing emergencies is to always reach out to the professionals in your area and book in routine plumbing maintenance appointments. The experts are experts for a reason – they know what they’re looking for and how to go about setting up preventative measures.

An expert plumber will be able to see a small issue and explain to you what will happen if that issue is left unresolved.

And trust us – a storm is a perfect time for all the little unresolved issues to become major plumbing emergencies. To book our team in now, click here or call the office on 0420 102 394 and speak with our team. 

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