Can Heavy Rain Affect Plumbing?


Heavy rain can affect plumbing systems, causing leaks and clogging of water mains. Under normal circumstances, the systems are designed to withstand this type of weather, but if too much rain accumulates or enters these areas it can do damage. The structure may also become compromised because the ground is unable to absorb all of the water, often resulting in flooding.

Ways Heavy Rain Affects Plumbing Systems

Here are some ways heavy rain can affect plumbing systems:

  • Leaks – Pipes may develop leaks or connections can be knocked loose by the force of the water entering them. The flooding that happens around these joints is what causes most of the leakage.
  • Overflows – In some cases, especially when basements are involved, the flooding that happens from the leaks is too much for these receptacles to handle and they can overflow into other parts of a building or structure. This often occurs because homeowners forget to disable their home’s sump pump before leaving on a trip or going away in the summer, a lot of times a heavy rain is what they need to remember.
  • Backups – A backup in the sewer system can cause an enormous amount of damage if it occurs, which is why most systems have backwater valves installed to help avoid this from happening. These devices limit the amount of water that is allowed to pass through it and into the system, although these too can become overwhelmed. Sometimes backups happen several times during a rainstorm as higher amounts of water accumulate in the system.
  • Clogs – The amount of debris and silt carried with heavy rains is sometimes more than what many residential plumbing systems are designed to handle, and the result is that they can become plugged. While this isn’t as bad of a problem as some of the others that heavy rain causes, it still does cause damage to these systems if left unchecked for an extended period of time.

Can Rain Cause Toilet Problems?

Many problems that homeowners experience with their toilets on a regular basis can actually be blamed on heavy rain or inclement weather. For example, if the water level in a toilet tank is high and you have recently experienced a lot of rain, it could be because some of this water has seeped into the system through overflow pipes. It is usually the excess water that causes the float ball to rise, which then triggers the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank to open and release this excess into the bowl.

Why Does My Plumbing Backup When it Rains?

There are several reasons why your home’s plumbing may back up during a rainstorm, including:

  • Tree Roots – If there are ever any large trees near or around your home, their roots can find their way into the sewer system and begin to grow outward. When these roots are heavy enough they can start to push against the walls of pipes, causing an obstruction that will eventually become a backup.
  • Gravel – A lot of cities use gravel as part of their road construction, which is great because it helps with drainage. The problem is, gravel can easily get washed away during a rainstorm and collect in sewer systems, creating an obstruction. The result is similar to that of tree roots.
  • Construction – Sometimes construction projects disturb the pipes too much and they break apart or become loose, which can lead to a backup as well. This usually occurs when new businesses are being developed and excavators dig too deep without consulting with city officials first.
  • Sump Pumps – Sometimes homeowners forget to switch off their sump pumps before leaving town for the weekend, which is what causes them to back up when rain begins to fall. These are electric devices that pump water into sewers and because they run all day long they can overflow into basements or other areas if they aren’t turned off.

What To Do If My Plumbing Backups During a Rainstorm?

If you’re having any issues with heavy rain causing your plumbing to back up, the best thing that you can do is contact a plumber as soon as possible. While some cases can be fixed on your own, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.  

If you’re having any problems with your sewer system, consider hiring a professional to come out and clear trunk lines of debris or roots. They also offer jetting services that can be useful for removing obstructions that are in the way of your plumbing’s ability to drain effectively.

How to prevent rain from affecting your plumbing

The best way to prevent rain from affecting your plumbing is to make sure that it is in great shape and that you aren’t leaving any open areas for water to enter. Plumbing repair professionals will be able to help ensure the safety of your system by doing a full inspection and noting any necessary repairs or replacements. If minor issues are discovered, they can be addressed then and there, but if something more drastic is found it is best to get on top of the problem sooner than later.

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