Damaged building from earthquake

Are Your Pipes Prepared for an Earthquake?

The lower mainland is a unique and beautiful area to live. However, it poses some very prominent geographic risks.

The mixture of flat farmland, ocean and mountains are signature signs that we live on a fault line, a place that is much more at risk for earthquakes than other places in the world.

Greater Vancouver has experienced earthquakes in the past, and there are even more intense earthquakes expected for the future. The key to living in a high-risk area is preparation. You never know when an emergency will strike, but it is best to ensure that your home will be safe when natural disasters do arise.

One of the key things that can go wrong in earthquakes is damage to your personal property and your house. Modern buildings built in the city are often earthquake proofed by the engineers that design them. 

But what does this mean for your home? Learn how to be sure your home is as safe as it can be when disaster strikes.

Assess Your Risks

The first step to an effective earthquake plan is to check when your home was last updated. Ask yourself: How old are your appliances? What about the supports for your housing structure?

You do not have to fully renovate your home or apartment, you simply need to be sure everything is secure. There are a few simple updates that you can make, specifically, for your plumbing system so that you can be sure it stays in tact.

Earthquakes And Plumbing

Earthquakes can affect everything in your home, but they can cause particular damage to your plumbing system. Any damage to your plumbing system during a natural disaster can lead to ruptured pipes and flooding within your home.

This leads to a plumbing emergency that can leave you on your own. Especially if the earthquake caused particular damage to the city, local plumbing services may be in high demand. It is best to ensure that your plumbing is viable in these kinds of situations.

The key to an effective earthquake-proofed plumbing system is stabilization. This is because a characteristic trait of any earthquake is shaking.

Even minor shaking can disrupt your home plumbing system. We suggest installing seismic straps to your larger appliances, like your water heater or washer. This will help keep large appliances securely in place.

Turn Off Your Gas!

The last thing you need in an earthquake is a gas leak. These are often lethal and can leave you and your family at risk for much more serious problems.

This requires you to familiarize yourself with turning on and off your gas line so that you can do so in an emergency.

In modern homes, there should be a simple shut off valve for your gas tank. In some models, you may need to manually turn off the gas valve with a wrench.

Earthquake-Proof Your Home

The cost to earthquake proof your home may seem unnecessary. However, it is far better than the cost of repairing your home after an earthquake!

Here are some things outside of plumbing that you should keep in mind when you are planning to earthquake-proof your home.

  • Be sure that things like shelves and artwork on the walls are bolted into place. A falling shelf can cause serious injury and even death in the event of an earthquake.
  • Have an emergency kit with non-perishable food and water in an easily accessible place.
  • Know the stable points in your house where you can wait. Many people stand under reinforced door frames for the duration of an earthquake. Plan out the safe zones in your house.

Homes that were built over 20 years ago may need additional supports installed to help make the walls and roof strong enough to endure an earthquake.

Call Your Plumber

If you are not sure how to properly outfit your pipes for an earthquake, or you think you need a professional assessment of your risk, call your plumber. Hillcrest Plumbing and Heating has been working in the lower mainland for over 50 years.

Our plumbers know how to best prepare a home for earthquakes, and other natural disasters like flooding. If you want to plan ahead and be sure your home is as safe as possible during an emergency, call Hillcrest Plumbing and Heating today!

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