Earthquake Proofing Home Plumbing
Earthquakes are among the most destructive natural disasters and can destroy or severely damage infrastructure. At home, this damage may include structural damage and damage to plumbing systems like pipes, water heaters, and water softeners. These systems are integral to the function of a home or business and are frequently overlooked as casualties of seismic activity. Damage to these appliances and ruptured pipes can create a lot of indirect damage from an earthquake. Securing these appliances and protecting the home plumbing system as a whole during an earthquake is important to protecting the structure and increasing recovery time in the aftermath of an earthquake.
Secure Against Shaking
There are a number of things you can do to secure plumbing lines and appliances against earthquakes. Using seismic straps and braces to keep appliances in upright positions can be an effective way to secure water heaters and softeners and reduce the likelihood of damages. Earthquakes dislodge items and appliances are often damaged as a result of falling debris as much as from violent shaking. Preventing these items from becoming detached is important to protecting these appliances and your home from water and fire damage during an earthquake. These seismic straps should be composed of heavy metal strapping and secured to wall studs for optimal security.
Install Shut-Off Valves
On the main gas line into your home, install an emergency shut-off valve that can be activated during an earthquake. This will likely require contacting the gas company and building authorities, but can be an important safety precaution in the event of an earthquake. Gas leaks from ruptured pipes are a common cause of fires after an earthquake. You may also want to consider installing flexible gas and water pipe fittings on all appliances to help prevent rupture of these lines during shaking. Know where and how to shut off gas, electric, and water utilities as well.
Anchor the Foundation
If the foundation of the house is compromised, so is everything within it. Anchoring the walls to the foundation slab will help support the house better during an earthquake and prevent the rupturing of utility lines. Check that the walls are anchored securely to the foundation in the crawl space and that anchor bolts secure these structural components every four to six feet. Protecting the walls and foundation of your home during an earthquake is extremely important to safeguarding internal plumbing and appliances.