Anyone who has ever lived through a hurricane can tell you that wind damage is not the only cause for concern in the wake of a storm.
While it can be the most visible damage, it is often not the most widespread because it is the hidden issues with plumbing you never get to see but can impact literally every home and business in an entire community – an entire county for that matter!
If you have suffered plumbing issues in the wake of a major storm coming off the Atlantic, you know well what those issues can be and how it has impacted your life.
For those who have never experienced anything of this magnitude, let’s look at some of the common issues you might experience if you have taken a direct hit.
1. Backed Up Plumbing – Most Especially Toilets
If you have seen the news this past September and all the damage caused by Hurricane Ian in Fort Meyers, Fort Meyers Beach and Sanibel Island, you will also take note of the fact that much of the damage was the water brought in by the storm surge. A huge number of homes and shops were destroyed by the many feet of water as it surged up out of the ground and through plumbing lines throughout the area.
Plumbers such as Beattie Home Services working in the area have been called to countless homes where the surge of water coming up through the pipes caused flooding in toilets and that backed up in sinks and showers as well.
Sometimes the pipes burst from the sheer pressure of all that water, and these are repairs that should only be attempted by professional plumbers who have the tools and experience to get to the root causes for an expert and prompt repair.
2. Burned Out Hot Water Heaters
Did you know that all that water surging into your hot water heater can cause the element to burn out? This truly can be the case because the continual influx of water over an extended period of time can put too much of a load on the element over that long period of time.
Sometimes the element can be replaced and other times a whole new unit might be required. This has also caused many home and business owners to question whether a tankless hot water system might be a better installation. Again, that’s something only a plumber would be able to reliably answer.
3. Leaks Not Always from Wind Damage
Then there are all those leaks from broken or damaged pipes not directly caused by wind damage. Yes, there are some pipes running above ground such as to showers and drinking fountains along the coastal beaches, but those can be taken down by winds. The ones of most concern are those pipes running under a home or commercial property that begin leaking from breaks caused by that sudden influx of water backing up through the system.
Sometimes those leaks and breaks are immediately evident but other times the puncture is so small that it may not result in a major issue for many weeks or months to come. These are the leaks, again, where only a licensed plumber should be contracted to repair. Think about those leaks under the home that are hardest to pinpoint. To consult with anyone other than a plumber would be akin to asking a dentist to do valve replacement surgery on the human heart.
4. Contaminated Water
Although this is not something a plumber can repair in most cases, it is a common plumbing issue in the aftermath of a storm. Residents who lived through hurricanes like Ian, Andrew, Katrina and a myriad of other deadly Atlantic storms can tell you that it can take many weeks to clean a citywide contaminated water system.
However, there are water purification systems a plumber can advise you on. Some can be installed, and others are temporary, but bottled water can be at a premium and sometimes hard to get. Again, while it’s not something a plumber can fix because the city’s water system has been contaminated, plumbers can give you the benefit of their expertise on everything related to water and your health and safety.
Problems More Far-Reaching Than You Can Imagine
For just a moment, think about what being denied clean drinking water can mean for your survival. While the human body can live for literally weeks without food, this is not the case with water. Within days a person will die of dehydration and if they try to drink contaminated water, the illnesses that can result are equally lethal.
Backed up sewage can also result in serious illnesses that can also be fatal and hospitals after major storms are inundated with patients suffering from illnesses such as gastrointestinal issues. Did you know that, according to the CDC, drinking contaminated water after a hurricane can result in reproductive issues?
Your key takeaway with all this is that plumbing issues after a storm can be just as life-threatening as being out in the open air during a strike. Don’t take these things for granted. Get immediate advice from the people in the know. That would be experienced licensed plumbers. You can’t go wrong if you listen to the right people – the experts.