Too often, homeowners find themselves in the aftermath of a hurricane with hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of damage done – damage that could have been prevented with a few simple checks before the storm.
“Even if there is no guarantee that a severe storm or hurricane will hit, you can never be overcautious,” said Paul Nebrasky, President of Nebrasky Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. “By creating a checklist and following some important guidelines before a storm arrives, homeowners can save themselves time, money and aggravation.”
Nebrasky recommended the following action steps for homeowners to prevent plumbing-related damages during or after a severe storm:
Check your gutters. It’s imperative that all gutters are secured properly and completely clear of clogs and debris. This will prevent water that falls on the roof from dripping down the side of the house and collecting near the foundation.
Inspect all drains – inside and outside. Make sure that any floor drains – in the basement, garage, patio, driveway and street – are unobstructed and working properly. Clogged drains can lead to flooding and cause significant damage.
Test your sump pump. Check the outlet pipe of your sump pump to make sure it’s not damaged, and to make sure that it is clear and will properly direct water away from the foundation of your home. Be sure that the electrical cord for your sump pump is plugged into an outlet, and remove the lid to the pump and inspect the interior of the pump’s basin for any clogs or debris. Pour a few gallons of water (slowly) into the basin of the pump, until the sump pump turns on and begins pumping out water. Look for a float (not all sump pumps have one) and if you have one, verify that the float functions correctly and does not catch against the lid or basin (this ensures that the pump will turn on when the water level reaches the necessary height).
Consider a battery back-up pump. If there’s enough warning before a storm, consider investing in a battery-operated pump that can function in the event of a power failure.
Nebrasky said that if homeowners do not have a sump pump and flooding occurs in the basement, to shut off the boiler or water heater immediately.
“We received a lot of calls during past storms from homeowners with their boilers under water,” said Nebrasky. “Unfortunately, we have to wait until the flood recedes before we can do anything. Once the water has been drained, it is imperative that the homeowner calls in a professional to inspect the equipment before doing anything, as this will protect the homeowner, the equipment and the warranty. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”