The continuing drought conditions in the South-East and the Central Plains are starting to raise concern among homeowners about their homes foundation. Plumbers in the affected areas have been receiving more and more calls involving problems with the plumbing due to this drought. Plumbing industry experts warn us that more issues may still be hidden beneath the slabs.
Broken Pipes and Connections
Problems with the foundation are often the result of long, dry periods, followed by heavy rains, but other vital parts of your plumbing like the pipes and connections may be damaged to. The contraction of the soil caused by the drought followed by the expansion because of rainfall subjects water pipes and drain lines beneath a home’s foundation to the same destructive forces as the foundation.
Broken Water Pipes
When a water pipe beneath your a home breaks, the homeowner usually finds out about it pretty quickly, because that water has to go someplace, and even though water will follow the path of least resistance, it can still cause the concrete foundation above it to rupture, breaking tile and wood flooring along with it.
Broken Drain Pipes
Less obvious to spot are the problems with broken drain pipes. The broken drain pipe will still allows the water to slowly seep away. Because there is no water buildup, a cracked pipe or failed connection in one of these non-pressurized lines may go undetected for months. However, meanwhile the leakage in the drain line slowly continues to erode the soil around the leak. In the end this may cause the slab to break or the foundation may shift entirely. The excess of water under the house will also attract tree and shrub roots, which can grow into drain lines and clog the system up completely.
Annual Plumbing Inspection
The good news is that most of these problems can be avoided. Homeowners should get annual plumbing inspections, including optical imaging of the home’s drain lines. Licensed plumbers can insert a flexible fiber optic line into drains to look for signs of cracks, ingrown tree roots and other problems with the plumbing. A sewer snake inspection is relatively inexpensive compared to repairs that could cost up to thousands of dollars.
Prepare for Periods of Drought
Extended periods of drought will also affect the overall water availability from reservoirs and aquifers. And even although they affect the agricultural sectors first, eventually homeowners will be affected through water rationing and owners of a well will begin to suffer from outages as the water table drops.
Water Storage Tanks
Well owners in the California Hills and the surrounding mountain regions will usually be the first to feel the impact, the longer the period of drought continues the more widespread these problems will become. When the first signs of well problems start to show, the first reaction is to just drill a new well, but it is also a good idea to think of installing a water storage system like a storage cistern or an above ground water storage tank.