Is Your Home Safe? Expert Tips to Prepare for, Recover From Earthquake Disaster

NAPA, Calif. (August 26, 2014) – Following the earthquake Sunday morning, thousands of homes and businesses are dealing with the aftermath of the natural disaster, including unsafe plumbing conditions. Mr. Rooter® Plumbing offers tips to help protect your greatest investment, as well as things to look for following an earthquake that could save home and business owners money.

No one can be fully prepared for a natural disaster, but there are steps one can take to minimize the damage caused by an earthquake. Steve Ferguson, owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Oakland, suggests ensuring the homes water heater is secured via a seismic stabilizer. “Not only does it keep your water heater from shaking and breaking loose from water and gas lines, but it’s a code violation in California if you don’t have this done.”

In addition, Scott Rossmiller, owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Napa and Marin County, suggests having an automatic gas shut-off valve attached to your gas line. “If there is an earthquake, this will automatically shut off all gas to your home, minimizing the chance for a gas fire or worse.” Many insurance companies are now requiring homeowners to have this valve installed prior to approving insurance applications.

Finally, ensure all appliances have flexible connectors. This enables the appliance to shake and rock without busting a gas or water line, causing more damage to your home. “You would be surprised at how many homes still have inflexible connections their furnace, oven, dishwasher, etc.,” stated Ferguson. “This will inevitably lead to a broken gas or water line, resulting in major damage to your home and possibly your health.”

Paul Kitchen, co-owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Sonoma County, also suggests these tips for inspecting your home following an earthquake:

  1. Take a moment to turn off all gas and water in the home. Go out and check the meter to make sure it isn’t moving. If the dial is turning, there could be an unseen break in the gas or water lines. Call a plumbing or utilities professional to inspect the home immediately.
  2. If a sewage smell or slow draining fixtures are noticed, immediately call a plumber as there may be a break or breach in the underground mainline.
  3. Prepare for disaster by knowing where the main water supply and gas supply shut-off valves are located. Should a gas leak or flooding occur, immediately turn your main supply off.