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Storm Season Tips

Updated: Apr 9

Clean Gutters and Downpipes: Before the storm hits, make sure to clear your gutters and downpipes of debris. This simple task can prevent water buildup and potential flooding, which could overwhelm your plumbing system. Clogged gutters can lead to water backing up into your home, causing damage to your foundation and putting additional strain on your plumbing.

  1. Use a ladder - safely!

  2. Wear protective gear to protect your hands and eyes

  3. Remove large debris by hand first

  4. Flush your gutters with water from a hose

  5. Use a gutter scoop/brush - available at most hardware stores

  6. Check that water flows through your downpipes correctly

  7. Use a drain snake, hose, or pressure washer to clear any blockages in downpipes

  8. Investigate installing gutter guards - available at most hardware stores

  9. Inspect for damages such as rust, cracks, holes, or loose brackets

  10. Call us on 07 3034 1870 for any troubles with gutter cleaning, we are here to help

Inspect and Repair Roof Leaks: A well-maintained roof is essential to keeping water out of your home during stormy weather. Inspect your roof for any existing leaks or vulnerabilities. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent water from seeping into your home and causing damage to ceilings, walls, and, ultimately, your plumbing system.

  1. Check interior ceilings and walls for any signs of water stains, mold, or mildew.

  2. Examine the attic for damp insulation, water stains, or visible light through the roof

  3. Externally check the roof for missing or damaged shingles, cracked tiles, or any areas where the roofing material seems compromised.

  4. Examine the flashing around chimneys, vents, skylights, and other roof penetrations. Damaged or improperly sealed flashing is a common source of leaks. Ensure that the flashing is secure and sealed tightly.

  5. Inspect valleys (where two roof slopes meet) for any debris or damage

  6. Check for any openings or joins in the roof, such as vent pipes, satellite dish mounts, or plumbing vents. Seal any gaps or cracks in these areas with appropriate roofing sealant.

  7. Scan for moss and algae which can trap moisture, accelerating roof deterioration

  8. Call us on 07 3034 1870 for any troubles with roof leaks

Know the Location of Shut-Off Valves: Familiarize yourself with the location of shut-off valves for your water supply. In the event of a plumbing emergency, being able to quickly turn off the water can minimize damage. Ensure that all household members know the location and operation of these valves to act swiftly in case of a burst pipe or other plumbing issues during storm season.

  1. Main Water Shut-Off Valve: usually located where the water supply enters your home. This is often in the basement or crawl space near the water meter. In some homes, it may be located in a utility room or garage. The valve is typically a wheel or lever that you turn clockwise to shut off the water supply to the entire house.

  2. Individual Fixture Shut-Off Valves: Look under sinks, behind toilets, and behind washing machines. For sinks and toilets, the shut-off valve is usually located on the wall or floor near the fixture. Washing machine shut-off valves are typically located on the wall behind or next to the machine.

  3. Water Heater Shut-Off Valve: usually located on the cold water supply line leading into the heater. This valve allows you to cut off the water supply to the water heater for maintenance or repairs.

  4. Outdoor Faucet Shut-Off Valve: If you have outdoor faucets there may be a shut-off valve inside your home to isolate the water supply to these outdoor fixtures. Look in basements, crawl spaces, or utility rooms near the area where the outdoor faucets are located.

  5. Emergency Gas Shut-Off Valve: If your home uses natural gas, there should be an emergency gas shut-off valve. This is typically located near the gas meter, often on the exterior of the house. However, turning off the gas supply is a task that should only be done by professionals due to safety concerns.

  6. Water Meter Shut-Off Valve: In some homes, especially those without a separate main shut-off valve, the water meter itself may have a shut-off valve. This valve is usually located near the water meter, often in a concrete box in the ground near the street or sidewalk.

Install Sump Pump and Backup Power: For homes susceptible to flooding, consider installing a sump pump in your basement or crawl space. This mechanical device is installed in a basement or crawl space to help prevent flooding and water damage by pumping excess water that accumulates in a sump pit away from your home. Additionally, invest in a backup power source, such as a generator, to ensure your sump pump continues to function during power outages, which are common during storms. For any concerns about sump pumps, call us on 07 3034 1870.

Secure Outdoor Items: Strong storms often bring heavy winds that can turn outdoor items into projectiles. Secure any loose outdoor fixtures or equipment to prevent them from damaging your plumbing infrastructure. Items like garden tools, pool toys, patio furniture, and even tree branches can become hazardous during a storm, potentially causing damage to pipes or other plumbing components.

Backflow Prevention Devices: Installing backflow prevention for storms is essential to protect the potable water supply from contamination during extreme weather events. Backflow occurs when there is a reversal of the normal flow of water, allowing non-potable water (water that is not safe for drinking) to enter the clean water supply. During storms, the risk of backflow increases due to various factors, making backflow prevention crucial for safeguarding public health. These factors include: sewerage overflow, flooding, pressure change, contaminants from yard/street, cross-connections, and infrastructure damage.

Maintenance: In Queensland, state government requires owners of an installed backflow prevention device to annually register and test the device by a certified tester. Shaw's Plumbing and Gas are certified to carry out these works, and can help with any backflow prevention issues. Call us on 07 3034 1870 to find out more.

Clear Suspected Drain Blockages: Clearing drain blockages before a storm is crucial to prevent the following: potential flooding, water damage, foundation and structural damage, preserve landscaping, sewerage backups, and health risks. Storms often bring heavy rainfall, and if drains are clogged or blocked, water cannot properly flow away from your property. If you suspect you may have a blocked drain, try the following:

  1. Remove visible debris from the surface

  2. Plunge the drain

  3. Try drain cleaners - look out for harsh chemicals and environmental/health hazards before purchasing

  4. Pour a bucket of boiling water down the drain - beware of burns and backsplash

  5. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and pour down the drain, covering the opening if possible. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Use hot water to flush away the dissolved material.

  6. Use a drain snake. Call us on 07 3034 1870 to clear a blockage using drain snakes, or if you have trouble with clearing a drain yourself

General Storm Season Tips:

  1. Check windows and doors for leaks, damaged seals, and loose frames

  2. Trim trees and branches near your home

  3. Prepare an emergency kit with essentials like water, non-perishable food, torches, batteries, and first aid supplies

  4. Prepare a communication plan with your family to establish emergency and evacuation procedures

  5. Stock candles, torches, and a battery-powered radio in case of power outages.

  6. Invest in a generator to support your home during power outages

  7. Inspect for exposed wiring, and address any electrical issues. Remember to never touch exposed wires or fallen power lines - call a professional

  8. Ensure fire extinguishers are in good condition and accessible

  9. Park vehicles in a garage or away from trees and use car covers to avoid potential damage before a storm

  10. Keep important documents (insurance policies, identification, etc.), electronics, and valuables in a waterproof container.

  11. Maintain a home inventory for insurance purposes.

  12. Stay informed about weather forecasts and warnings through reliable sources.

  13. Have a written list of emergency contacts, including local authorities, utilities, and neighbors.

  14. Quickly dry and clean areas affected by water to prevent mold growth.

  15. Consider hiring professionals for a post-storm inspection of your roof, plumbing, and electrical systems.

  16. Consider taking basic first aid and CPR training courses.

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