It isn't often you think of plumbing and electricity at the same time, but many plumbing functions actually depend on electricity to run. If your electricity goes out, you may find yourself with a backed up basement, burst pipes, no hot water and even a toilet that doesn't flush. Let's take a brief look at how electricity affects the various parts of your plumbing and discuss what you can do about some of these things.
You have your sump pump in the basement, steadily pumping excess water outside so your basement stays dry. The motor of the sump pump runs on electricity. It may work quietly in the background without being noticed, but if the electricity goes out, the motor stops and you can find yourself with a flooded basement.
It is good to have a backup generator for your home. Make sure you have the ability to also run the sump pump on this emergency generator. Water damage in your basement can make the lights coming back on seeing you face yet another emergency if you don't.
Today's tankless hot water systems rely on electricity to keep them running. When you turn the hot water tap on, an electrical source ignites the source of fuel, which in turn heats up any water going to the tap. In this way, you eliminate the need to have water sitting for periods of time, constant use of fuel and the need to wait for a tank to refill before you can take a hot shower or wash dishes.
In the case of an electrical outage, you might also consider hooking this up to an emergency generator. However, if the outage isn't going to be long, going without hot water for a short period of time might not be too inconvenient. One of the best plumbing tips to remember; however, is to make sure the circuit breaker is turned off until after the electricity comes back on. By ensuring this, you are preventing a sudden surge of electricity to accidentally ignite the fuel source.
Florida plumbing tips don't often talk about freezing pipes, but with temperatures being lower in many parts of Florida the past few years, there is always the chance that an electrical outage can find you with your pipes freezing. If they are frozen too long, the pipes may burst, flooding your basement and causing you to have to replace the pipes before you have any water again.
If your electricity goes out at a time when temperatures may fall below freezing, there are a couple of measures you can take to help prevent frozen pipes. The first thing to do is to allow the cold water to drip slightly, which keep the water flowing through the pipes. If the temperature is too low, shut off the water valves and drain all pipes until the electricity is restored and you can get warm water through them again. If you are able to keep water dripping, flush your toilet every so often to keep it from freezing.
Yes, you may even have difficulty with your toilet if you lose electricity. Waste removal systems are either gravity-based or rely on electricity to move the waste through the pipes and out into the sewer system. If your system is gravity-based, there shouldn't be a problem, unless the pipes freeze. If the toilet doesn't flush, you can simply pour a bucket of water into the bowl to flush it. Our plumbing tips now address what happens if the waste removal system is dependent upon electricity.
The system is set up where the waste goes through a pipe and gathers in a chamber where an electrical pump pushes it through a pipe going to the outside sewer system. If the electricity fails, the waste will gather in the chamber and be unable to move further along the path. Eventually, that chamber will become full and begin to overflow into your basement. If you can hook this up to the emergency generator, you won't have an issue. However, if this is not possible, have in place an alternative disposal method so you don't have to face backed up waste in your basement.
You can't always avoid issues with electricity or plumbing, but by knowing what to expect in advance, you can prepare for the possibilities and reduce the amount of discomfort and mess that could result. With a backup generator, a backup waste system and a method to keep pipes from freezing, you will be able to weather the outage with minimal hassle. Just keep in mind one of the most important of plumbing tips - water and electricity may depend upon each other but they can be very hazardous if used together. If you lose power, turn off all circuit boxes in the basement and make sure they are not turned back on again unless the basement is dry.
To ensure excellence and safety, contact one of our plumbing experts today to make sure your plumbing can handle a possible power outage. For more plumbing tips. call or visit Bill Fenwick Plumbing today. We will be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions.