Earthquake and Plumbing

Emergency officials have been receiving calls and postings from people who felt the earth moving in Waxahachie, Midlothian, Ennis, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Maypearl, Mansfield and all of surrounding Ellis County.

Earthquakes in Texas?

Smaller aftershocks can be expected for days even months to come.

Earthquakes are on the rise in Texas and many are blaming hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’. In June alone:

Keep an Eye on Your Plumbing

Aside from brick walls and chimneys; plumbing, gas pipes, and fixtures are the most vulnerable parts of a home that can be damaged by an earthquake. Joints in copper and steel pipes are stiff and can’t adjust to the stress. Old, brittle, ceramic, and cast iron sewer lines, which can still be found in homes in Waxahachie, Red Oak, Midlothian, Ennis and all over Central Texas can crack and shear. Water lines get pinched. Water heaters move. When plumbing is installed with no thought given to earthquakes, the chances of it becoming damaged during one are pretty good.

Here’s What You Should Check For Post-Earthquake:

The #1 Concern Is Gas Leaks

Obviously this is the biggest worry after a quake. In addition to the obvious danger of a gas build up in your home, there’s the added danger of asphyxiation. To check for a gas leak, walk around your whole house and check for the smell of leaking gas. Duncan Plumbing Solutions uses special gas measuring instruments which can detect gas even if you can’t smell it.

An earthquake exerts shearing forces on the pipe joints, causing them to loosen and therefore leak. That’s the obvious source of a leak. The less obvious source for a gas leak is the pilot lights in your gas appliances. Even if the gas lines in your home weren’t affected, an earthquake can cause momentary disruptions that are enough to snuff out pilot lights. The smell check may not be enough for the small amounts of gas that keep pilot lights alight, so be sure to do a visual check as well.

After Checking For Gas Leaks, Check For Leaking Water Lines

Water leaks inside a building are usually obvious enough. Water gushing out of a wall isn’t exactly subtle. The leaks that you have to worry about, the ones that aren’t so obvious are the ones in the places you might not look. Be sure to check the supply lines in the yard. This is another case where you’ve got to do a visual check of the line to make sure there isn’t a problem. Look for water flowing down the walls. As for the main water supply line in your yard, obviously you’re not going to dig it up unless there absolutely is a problem, but you should be on the look out for puddles or wet spots that shouldn’t be there.

Check Your Sewer Lines

Modern sewer pipe is made out of PVC. PVC is very durable. So durable, in fact, that engineers estimate a properly installed PVC sewer pipe may provide several hundred years of service without ever breaking. A PVC sewer pipe has no problem surviving all but the very worst of earthquakes. The problem is, not every home Waxahachie, Texas has PVC sewer pipe. In fact, many homes in Cedar Hill, Desoto, Mansfield, Waxahachie, Midlothian, Ennis and Maypearl are still on cast iron or ceramic sewer pipes. Both cast iron and ceramic pipes are extremely brittle, and vulnerable to cracking during an earthquake. The smallest crack in a sewer pipe can provide an entry point for tree roots which aggressively invade, greedily feasting on the nutrient rich sewage and growing until they either clog or utterly destroy the pipe. Once tree roots take hold, repair choices are limited to jetting, if you’re lucky, or replacement if you’re not.

Fortunately, unlike water lines, sewer lines are something you can check after a quake without digging them up. Plumbers have cameras specially designed for inspecting sewer lines that can locate and identify problems, such as earthquake induced cracks, long before there are any unpleasant consequences… like raw sewage flooding the yard, or worse, the basement. The knowledge they can provide can prove very valuable. If a crack is detected early, there are less-costly options than replacement you can take advantage of.

Duncan Plumbing Solutions | Phone: 972-937-0040 | info@duncanplumbingsolutions.com | www.duncanplumbingsolutions.com | Expert Gas Line Installation  |  Gas Pressure Test  |  Certified Gas Line  | Texas Gas Line Certified Specialists | Texas Railroad Commission Certified Gas Line Repair  |  Cedar Hill Plumber 75104 | Duncanville Plumber 75116 | Desoto Plumber 75115 | Mansfield Plumber 76063 | Waxahachie Plumber 75165 | Red Oak Plumber 75154 | Waxahachie Plumber 75165 | Ennis Plumber 75119 Master License # M-39624

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