What to Look For in Your House After an Earthquake

Our recent series of earthquakes have caused many Utahns to feel pretty shaken up. After we’ve made sure that our families and loved ones are safe, it’s also extremely important to check around the house and yard to make sure your home is also safe and that there isn’t any hidden damage.

In one of our recent In The House podcasts, a few Any Hour Services professionals discussed the equipment and areas that you should look at in your home after an earthquake.

You can listen or watch the full podcast here:

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what to look at in your house after an earthquake

Go to the mechanical room, closet, or space where your furnace, water heater, and other equipment is. This can often be found in the basement, but can also be upstairs in a closet or in the garage. Look around and see if anything is out of place. Utilize your senses -- see if you smell, hear, or see anything different. Thoroughly inspect all the equipment and items there.

  • FURNACE - First, notice if there’s a gas smell in the space. If there is, get out and turn off the main gas line and call the gas company right away. Also, check to see if the furnace or ducting has shifted in any way and if ducts and exhaust pipes are still connected and undamaged.

  • WATER HEATER - Make sure there are no leaks or visible issues with your water heater. Additionally, if your water heater doesn’t currently have 2 earthquake straps on it, get some put on as soon as possible. Having earthquake straps on a water heater can keep the water heater tank from falling over, helping to minimize the damage that can occur. 

    Something else to consider is flexible gas lines and flexible water lines. Flexible lines are safer than hard lines, as they give you more play for movement without damage. If your water heater doesn’t have flexible connection lines already on it, make this easy and inexpensive switch to be ready for any future earthquakes. 
what to look for in your house after an earthquake - mechanical room

Check all the water connections, pipes, toilets, and faucets in your home to make sure they are secure and have no leaks. Go underneath the sinks and look at the water lines to see if any of the pipes are loose and need to be tightened.

  • SEWER MAIN LINE: As you continue using the plumbing (toilets, showers, sinks, drains) in your home after an earthquake, look for signs of any kind of backup happening. If you do see backup, the pipes may have issues that need to be addressed. It’s possible that with the ground shifting, you could have a partial collapse on your sewer main line. A drain technician should be able to send a camera down your main line connection to see whether a break in the pipe has caused the backup.
what to look for in your house after an earthquake - plumbing

Look over your main electrical panel to see if there is any damage to the conduit going to it. Also, check out the electrical outlets, switches, and lines throughout your home for any issues. If you see sparks, broken or frayed wires, or smell something burning, turn off the electricity at the main electrical panel or fuse box and call a licensed electrician.

what to look for in your house after an earthquake - electrical


Lastly, it’s important to know where the main shut-offs are in your home for your gas, water, and electricity in case of an emergency. Take the time to find where those are before there’s an issue. When an emergency happens and you need to shut one of them off, you don't want to be searching for where it is.

Also, teach your kids where the shut-off valves are located and practice shutting them off (at least annually) so that you know they work properly.

what to look for in your house after an earthquake - shut-off valve

Being aware of what’s happening with the equipment and systems in your home is important in keeping your house and family safe. If you feel like you need help with any issues you find, give Any Hour Services a call. We have plumbers, drain techs, electricians, and HVAC technicians to help you with any issues you may have, related to an earthquake or not.



Author: Tammy Nelson
Copyright © 2020 by Any Hour Services


Apr 3rd 2020

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