Before the Storm: Plumbing Preparedness for Hurricanes

In their 2013 hurricane season outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated that they were expecting yet another active season, calling for 13 to 20 named storms, of which 7 to 11 are expected to become hurricanes, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes at a Category 3 or higher rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The forecast outlook also specified a “70% likelihood” of a range of storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes.

As of August 1st we’ve been two months into the hurricane season (which ends Nov. 30th).

Knowing in advance of an upcoming severe weather event such as a hurricane usually gives everyone some time (even days) to prepare--although if you’ve been to your local hardware store on the day of a serious storm, looking for flashlight batteries or candles, bumping into people frantically trying to find the same things, you’ll promise yourself that next time you’ll get things ready earlier...

Act Now, Not Later

The best time to think and do something about potential weather calamities is when they aren’t expected to occur at all. How about now?

Now’s the time to assess how well prepared you are for any weather conditions that could affect your family and the effect it might have on your plumbing and draining system’s operation. When the bad weather arrives, it’s too late to make plans--all you can do is react to what’s going on. If you review your plumbing storm-readiness preparation now you will be in a much better position for handling the non-plumbing stresses that come along with severe weather episodes.

Sump Pumps

If you have one, you know the sump pump is your first line of defense for keeping your basement dry. Most sump pumps made today are very dependable and can work all day and night removing water, protecting the lower part of your house from being flooded. Sump pumps will do their work, as long as there’s electricity. In the past couple of years, hurricanes like Irene and Sandy have demonstrated that when the electricity goes off in Fairfield or Westchester County when a big storm happens... it can stay off for a number of days.

After such destructive storms, there’s always an increase in the sales of generators and sump pumps equipped with battery back up units, which tells you that people have experienced enough damage to motivate them to invest in protecting their homes. It’s just too bad they had to go through the ordeal to for the investment to make sense.

Check Your Sump Pump

Take a few minutes soon to inspect your sump pump’s basin to make sure there’s no debris in there. If you want to be sure that it’s working you could pour a few buckets of water into the pit and the pump should jump into action removing the water before it shuts off.

Gutters, Downspouts, and Leader Drains

Heavy rainfall always puts a burden on your house gutter drain system, and hurricanes bring some really heavy downpours. You should check that your roof gutters and downspouts are fastened securely, and see that there isn’t anything in them that would inhibit the water from draining as fast as it can.

Foundation Cracks

Walk around and give the foundation of your house a visual inspection for cracks. There are all sizes of cracks, and many reasons why you may have them. Depending on the causation of the crack(s) and the size(s), you might consider a temporary ‘patching’ fix from the inside the house, or going over your concerns with a foundation specialist who can help you understand what the crack cause and treatment options are.

Floor Drains

See that they are free flowing by pouring a couple of quarts of water down them and observing the drain function.

Sewer Drain Back Up

Whether you’re using a municipal sewer system or have a home septic tank system, heavy rains can also make your sewer drain line backup producing a real headache to put it lightly. You can mitigate potential problems by keeping your sewer main line clean.

Above All

Rely on your own experience when preparing your home and family for hurricane weather conditions. Here at Kaiser-Battistone we are always available to discuss any concerns you have related to your home’s plumbing and draining hurricane and severe storm preparedness. Put your mind at ease about making sure your plumbing is storm-ready by giving us a call at 1-800-525-6295 soon.

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28 May 2014

By Kaiser-Battisone