With Spring approaching, and already striking in many states, things are about to get rainier. A sudden heavy rainstorm can quickly cause problems in and around your house, even if rain is common in your area. Our plumbing reacts to the effects of heavy rain. The list of potential problems can be long and highly damaging. Fortunately for homeowners in all climates, mitigating the potentially disastrous effects of heavy rainfall can be as simple as knowing what signs to look for. Are your drains blocked after heavy rain? Here’s Why.
Your pipes have cracked
The plumbing lines buried in the soil under and around your house can crack and burst if enough pressure is applied. Soaking wet soil can shift around and lose shape, which can put tension on your pipes. Since plumbing pipes aren’t designed to move around, they may begin to crack under pressure and tension.
If these forces are severe, the pipe can crack and even be crushed. Once that happens, anything around the pipe is free to enter your plumbing: soil, leaves, rocks, roots, and other debris. These obstacles can all block your line from draining properly. If your main water line cracks, you’ll notice dirty, rust-colored water coming from your sinks and faucets. Sand and grit may come out as well.
You’ll need a plumber to come out and find the cracked or broken pipe, as doing so without a professional on hand is near impossible. They can find and replace the pipe for you, restoring your drains to their old capabilities.
Your sewer is overloaded
Heavy rain brings a lot of excess water. Your sewer and drain system are responsible for keeping that extra water out of your house and basement, and as the water levels rise, your sewer system has to work harder.
If there’s too much, the excess water will start to flow back up the pipes and into your home. You may notice pooled water around floor drains in your garage, laundry room, or basement. Water can also flood upwards from your toilet.
To avoid this, have a plumber install check valves in your basement. These valves keep water from flowing back into whichever drain they’re installed on. If your municipal sewer system is struggling during heavy rain, check valves will keep those effects from soaking your house.
Debris has blocked outdoor drain
Leaves, grass, and other muck get pushed around and layered during heavy rain. There’s a high potential for this coagulated mixture to block an outside drain, which would lead to pipe flooding within your home. As you use your plumbing, the water runoff will be met by the debris blocking the drain; having nowhere else to go, your pipes will likely flood inward.
This is a wet, messy disaster, and unfortunately plausible during heavy rains. To avoid it, be sure to keep the outside drain(s) around your house clear of debris. Though this might be the last thing on your mind after a rough storm, the money and time a quick check can save make it worth adding to a written storm checklist.
Sediment or dirt has entered your waterline
The effects of heavy rain don’t stop in residential areas. Anywhere along your neighborhood’s main water line can get cracked and breached by dirt or sediment, which could allow small amounts of residue into your plumbing.
Though you may not see or taste it, these sediments and small particles can build up in the mesh screens behind faucets and other plumbing fixtures. The result is a clog, which you can usually clean by removing the faucet head and wiping away the buildup. This won’t, however, solve the main issue in the waterline.
Your septic tank has filled prematurely
Your toilet may not flush or even flood if your septic tank fills during heavy rain. If you have a septic tank, it can fill with excess rainwater in a relatively short amount of time. With nowhere else to go, the extra water can head back up to your toilet, and, eventually, over your bathroom floor. A gurgling toilet is a sign of a blocked or slow drain, so keep an ear out for this tell. If you hear a gurgle, from your toilet or elsewhere, call your plumber for a checkup.
Preventative measures you can take
The unfortunate note to this section is that some of these problems can’t be avoided, like other impacts of heavy rain and floods. On a positive note, there is still much you can do to dodge a blocked drain-and most of it’s easy, too.
Keep your drains clear.
To do this, make sure you’re taking routine checks of your drains, especially ones in your yard. Twice a year or so should be plenty, but if it rains a lot where you live, you’ll want to make your checks more frequent. Clear away any grass or organic debris as needed.
Take a walk-around after each heavy rainstorm.
The best way to prevent clogs and floods is to catch them before they happen. Doing a walk-around inside and outside after a storm can help you catch any problems before they turn into something expensive. Check your gutters, drain spouts, and look for any signs of standing water around your home’s foundation.
Be aware of the early signs of a blockage.
Again, knowing the signs of a problem can help keep the problem manageable. Gurgling drains are a sign of a blockage, as are sinks or tubs that drain slowly or not at all. Be especially aware of these signs if they’re house-wide. Catching anything suspicious as soon as it occurs is one of the best ways to keep the issue small and contained and avoid the drains being blocked after heavy rain.
Install a sump pump and check valves.
Check valves and sump pumps are great preventative measures to take against flooding and backed-up sewage lines. Check valves keep water from re-entering your pipes, and sump pumps drain floodwater from your basement and around your foundation. This aspect alone is golden. A dry foundation is your best fight against premature cracking and wears, as wet soil can eventually freeze and push on your foundation. This only gets more damaging as the years add up.
When in doubt, call Danika Plumbing
If you’re noticing signs of a blocked drain in your home, call a plumber in Edmonds immediately. With their help, you can catch the problem and fix it before it turns into something disastrous. The severe nature of pipe breaks, blockages, and floods usually put most homeowners out of use-even the handiest of us. Save yourself both a headache and money by enlisting the help of a professional.