Whether mild or severe, flooding can impact your home—especially your plumbing system. Aside from the obvious destruction that a flood can cause to your house (ruined landscaping, water damage, damaged electrical wiring, etc.), a flood can also compromise your plumbing system. Unfortunately, plumbing is usually low on the list of things to address after a flood, but it is just as important as any other system in your house.
That said, here are certain issues that a flood can cause to your plumbing system—as well as the best ways to deal with them:
- Sewage back-ups
A flood can increase the pressure on your sewage system and lead to sewage back-ups (which are big problems on their own). When this happens, wastewater comes up through your drains, sinks, toilets, and other water fixtures instead of going down, which can cause all sorts of health issues—other than the hassle of cleaning up the disgusting water.
If your house starts to smell sewage after a flood, it is a clear sign that you need to get your sewage system checked. Luckily, services for trenchless sewer replacement and repair are available in many places that can fix your sewage system without having to dig a huge hole in your yard. Compared to traditional methods, this option is much cheaper, more effective, and generally requires less time to accomplish.
- Clogged drains
Floodwater often contains sediment that can build up in your drains, which is why clogged drains are a prevalent problem after a flood. If the buildup is not severe, you can easily get rid of the clog by using a drain cleaner or a plunger (and clearing the sediment on the drain clover beforehand). But if DIY methods don’t work, you may have to call in a professional to assess the problem.
- Damaged plumbing fixtures
After a flood occurs, you need to check both your indoor and outdoor plumbing fixtures for damage. If they are irreparable, you likely have to replace them. If they were submerged in water for a long time, you need to take the fixtures apart and remove the sediment that may have built up inside them. It is also a good idea to use bleach when cleaning your plumbing fixtures to get rid of bacteria and prevent mold growth.
- Damaged exposed pipes
During floods, large pieces of debris can flow along with the water and cause damage to structures in their path. That said, inspect all of your exposed pipes after the flood clears to check for signs of damage. The connected pipes have likely been affected as well. Hence, you need to address damaged pipes as soon as possible if you want to keep using your plumbing system without causing more untoward damage.
If the pipes don’t show obvious signs of damage, check if puddles form underneath them after the flood recedes in your home. If they are leaking, stop using the connected fixtures and call a professional plumber as soon as possible. You wouldn’t want to risk another flood occurring in your home if your damaged pipes fall apart.
- Broken underground pipes
Just like exposed pipes, damaged underground pipes can pose an immediate threat to your home. Extensive flooding can saturate the soil and make it heavy enough to cause damage to the pipes underneath, especially if the floodwater does not recede for a very long time.
As soon as the flood water recedes, check your property for sinkholes or uneven areas, which are common signs of damaged underground lines. If you spot signs of damage, call a professional immediately to assess the situation and help you determine the best route of repair.
- Septic tank contamination
Flooding causes water outside the septic tank to mix with the water inside and, if it overflows, the flood water mixed with wastewater can contaminate the soil in your property. When this happens, the contaminated water can hurt the native environment, kill the plants in your yard, and cause health problems to humans and animals.
Signs of a leaking septic tank include a soggy yard, foul odor, toilets backing up, and standing water around the septic tank. Once you spot any of these signs, it’s time to call in a septic tank service to address the problem ASAP.
Flooding can cause more than just water and structural damage to your home—it can also wreak havoc on your plumbing system. All things considered, be sure to check your plumbing system after a flood to ensure that the flooding did not cause damage to it or—if damage is present—address the problem before it gets worse.