Rain is all fun and games until it turns into a disaster that wreaks havoc in your home. Light pours give one a pleasant feeling, particularly after extended periods of drought. But hard and ephemeral or torrential downpours can turn your living space into a mess.
Too much rain can cause a ton of problems in your plumbing system. Flooding isn’t your only concern. From leaking roofs to burst pipes and sewer backups, there is no telling when and where the problem might occur next.
Of course, you may think that your pipes or plumbing lines are perfect and in stellar condition. However, after a heavy downpour, your basement or living room may slowly begin filling up with water with no immediate clue as to what the problem is.
The culprits could be external factors and not necessarily the condition of your pipes. Some of the plumbing issues associated with heavy rainfall include the following.
1. Clogged or Blocked Drains
One of the most common problems associated with too much rain is blocked or clogged drains. This is usually a result of dirt and debris accumulation inside the plumbing lines disrupting the flow of water.
As a prevalent issue, many people face this problem since most of the residential drainage systems are not designed to handle large amounts of water marred with lots of trash and debris.
The first clue to drainage that is likely to clog or block when the rains come manifests itself in the form of a misty sewage smell escaping through your drains. If you notice such a smell, it is important to have a licensed plumber clean the drainage for you.
This way, when the downpour occurs, the drains will not block, keeping your home safe from all manner of smells and other problems.
2. Broken Pipes
Broken pipes are particular issues faced by homeowners with old water pipes, especially if the pipes are exposed. If the pipes are worn out or old, heavy rains may cause them to break.
Prolonged drought often causes the pipes to dry out, and in some instances, crack. When the rain arrives, the gushing water in them leads to their rupturing.
A change in the color of the water at home is an indication of a burst pipe. Similarly, if the pressure is incredibly low, it could be an indication of a serious leak or a cracked line. In such a case, replacing the pipes remains a pivotal step in eliminating the likelihood of this problem occurring.
3. Flooding of the Basement and Crawl Space
Nothing about a flooded basement of the crawl space is pleasant at all. It causes a lot of damage to your property. For example, it can rot wooden floors, wet and ruin your furniture, and in extreme cases, it can cause severe damage to the foundation of your house.
Flooding of the basement and crawl spaces is worsened by heavy rains, especially if your home doesn’t have a proper drainage system. Pools of water collect outdoors in the yard or the garden, and with nowhere to go, they could become the cause of a serious problem.
Having an area drain in your property is a solution to outdoor flooding. It keeps the water from low points properly channeled away from basements, driveways, walkways, and other spaces.
However, should you find yourself with a flooded basement, the best thing to do is not to wait it out. Ensure that the water is removed as soon as possible, however expensive it is, to prevent other serious damages.
To prevent such a problem from occurring again, you should consider installing a sump pump or a wet vac. With a sump pump, the water is drawn to the reservoir and pumped out.
After draining the basement or the wet spaces, it is recommended that you use a dehumidifier to remove the moisture as opposed to letting it dry out by itself. A dehumidifier will get rid of all the dampness even in hard-to-reach places, keeping your home free from attracting molds, mildew, and fungi.
4. Increased Pressure on Pipes
Under normal circumstances, the likelihood of increased pressure in pipes doesn’t occur. But with heavy rains, the ground gets saturated. When this happens, the surrounding soil, or dirt, may turn to mud, causing increased pressure. The increased pressure outside the pipes can lead to a variety of other issues such as ruptures and bursts.
5. Shifting Underground Pipes
Due to saturated grounds and mud formation around pipes, mudflows could be triggered, leading to the shifting of underground pipes. As a result, the pipes are forced to strain, bend, or shift too much from their lines, causing breakages, ruptures, or complete blockage.
In certain instances, debris enters the raptured lines, causing water blockage, which can also lead to water backing into the basement or inside your house.
6. Sewer Backup
Sewer backups may occur as a result of a blockage in the mainline or when the municipal sewer is backed up. Heavy rains make sewer backups worse, leading to the seeping of dirty, messy, and unhygienic water into your home through the toilet.
If the city sewer is the culprit, there isn’t much you can do apart from waiting it out until the issue is resolved.
Where the drainage pipes are clogged or blocked by shifting pipes or debris deposits, you must take care while handling the situation as further damage such as bursting may occur, and since it is a sewer line you are trying to handle, you don’t want that happening. Only a professional can help you determine the cause and offer a solution.
7. Septic Tank Flooding
Heavy rains can totally defeat the purpose of your septic tank if you have one in your home. Due to flooding, the area around the septic tank can become soft and saturated with water. This often blocks the drain field used to support the septic tank.
The blockage prevents the wastewater from draining, causing it to flow back into the tank. This issue will put unwanted restrictions on your water usage and will require serious adjustments made to the septic tank. You may decide to wait for the drain to clear, but that is a temporary solution that won’t solve similar problems from occurring in the future. Seek the help of a licensed plumber for better solutions.
8. Tree Roots in Sewer Line
Tree roots often extend far enough to interfere with underground pipes around your home. Unfortunately, their search for water could lead to serious plumbing problems.
During heavy rains, some pipes may begin to leak or crack. The damage could be negligible, but it remains enough to provide nutrients and moisture for plants. Tree roots begin growing towards the pipes and eventually end up strangling the pipes or penetrating them, causing serious damage or blockage. It is, therefore, important to have a professional help you detect leaks to prevent such instances from happening.
What Must You Do Next?
While you may easily forget about the impact that heavy downpours have on your plumbing systems, it is important to always be prepared. And whether you have noticed cracks, leakages, flooding, or blockage of pipes in your home, Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning will be happy to help! Our team of professionals is always ready to give you the best service regarding all your plumbing, heating, and air conditioning needs throughout the North Valley and Greater Sacramento area.