Is Your Gas, Water Heater and Plumbing Secure During an Earthquake?


small three-dimensional man turns the valve

The recent earthquakes in California are a reminder that we do live in earthquake country, especially for those of us living in Southern California. It is important to secure your plumbing, gas and water heater now so that when an earthquake hits, you are safe in your home or business.

Gas leaks are a major concern and can be a potential for disaster. When an earthquake of a specified magnitude happens, the automatic earthquake shut off valves should shut off the gas to a building at a gas meter. The new earthquake valves are very reliable and some insurance companies offer discounts for automatic gas shutoff valves on homeowners insurance.

Here are some other steps you can take to give your plumbing system the best chance during and after an earthquake:

1) Knowing What to Do: One of the most important things you can do in the event of an earthquake is to know how to secure your water, power and fuel components and systems. Label your pipes and valves and have every adult in the house be aware of where the main water shut-off valve is and how to shut it off. You should also know where your main electrical breaker or fuse box is and how to secure all power to your home. Label the breakers so you know which switch shuts off what area.

2) Natural Gas: If you have natural, propane or any fuel oil system in your house, know where the main feeds are and how to secure them. Keep in mind, in the event of a large earthquake, the number one priority is the safety of you and your family. Get everyone out of the home firsts. Once that is done, you can turn off the affected systems if it is safe to do so.

3) Water Heater: Your water heater should be protected from being damaged during an earthquake. Water heaters can thrash around and cause serious flood and other damage to your home if it is not properly secured. You can brace your water heater yourself or contact a licensed plumber to do this.

4) Flexible Connections: FEMA has useful guidelines for using flexible connections on your gas and water lines at home. Their suggestion is to install flexible connections to your appliances that use water and gas. Dishwashers and washing machines are already connected with hoses so they shouldn’t need any special precautions. Water heaters and furnaces do require more work. They should have flexible connections and you should hire a professional plumber to install these. They should be certified to work on natural gas to make the gas pipe transition and know how to test it properly.

5) The California Office of Emergency Services has tons of information, guidelines and brochures for California residents to help them prepare for most emergencies, including earthquakes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is also loaded with good information.

North County Plumbing is located in Vista, California and has been in the service business since 1970 providing quality plumbing services including leak detection and drain service in northern San Diego County. Our qualified technicians are available 24 hours a day to help with emergency plumbing repair services… with no overtime charges!

If you found this blog helpful, you may want to check out our post “The Importance of Having an Emergency Plumber“.

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