As residents of Charleston, South Carolina, and nearby communities, including Mount Pleasant and Summerville, brace themselves for the annual hurricane season, it is crucial to be prepared in every aspect.
When is hurricane season? The answer is typically from June 1st to November 30th. From June to November, the hurricane season poses significant challenges. It’s essential to begin preparations in May. One of the first steps to prepare for an upcoming Lowcountry hurricane is to assess your plumbing and HVAC systems.
While many homeowners install permanent storm shutters, they often must remember to prep their home’s plumbing and sewer systems.
This article will discuss ways to prepare and ready your plumbing system before the storm hits. Many of these tips you can handle and prepare yourself while others you should seek assistance from a reputable plumber.
Assess Vulnerabilities in Your Plumbing and HVAC System
Before hurricane season arrives in Charleston, SC, it’s crucial to assess vulnerabilities and understand your home’s plumbing weak points and in your HVAC system. Conducting a thorough inspection before a major storm can help identify potential issues and take preventive measures.
Start by examining exposed pipes for signs of corrosion, leaks, or damage. Check pipe connections and valves for any loose fittings or worn-out seals. Inspect the basement and crawl spaces for dampness, moisture, or signs of water damage.
Evaluate the condition of your water heater, looking for rust, leaks, or inadequate insulation. Assess the stability of outdoor plumbing fixtures, such as faucets and sprinkler systems.
By understanding these weak points, especially regarding your HVAC system, you can address them proactively and minimize potential plumbing problems during hurricane season.
Install a Sump Pump and a Backflow Preventer
Floodwaters can quickly infiltrate and fill your basement or crawl space during a hurricane, causing damage to your home and possessions. Installing a sump pump can help remove excess water from these areas, preventing further damage.
It’s also essential to have a backflow preventer installed to protect your home’s potable water supply from contamination caused by floodwaters.
A plumbing Charleston, SC professional can assess your home and recommend the appropriate sump pump and backflow preventer system.
It’s always better to be proactive and install these before hurricane season begins.
Ensure Adequate Water Supply for Emergency Toilet Flushing
Keeping a supply of water for flushing toilet purposes is essential. Power outages are common during hurricane season in North Charleston, South Carolina. This can cause disruptions to your water supply, making it challenging to flush toilets. It’s essential to have an alternative method for flushing in case your plumbing becomes compromised.
Store several gallons of water in a cool, dark place within your home. This water can be used to fill the toilet tank manually, allowing for proper toilet flush operation during power outages.
In case of an extended power outage, plumbers in Charleston, South Carolina, recommend storing enough water for at least three days.
Check Your Home’s Sewage System
Heavy rainfall during a hurricane or storm surge can strain your home’s sewage system, causing backups and unpleasant odors. Before hurricane season begins, have your sewage system inspected by a professional plumber to ensure it’s in good working condition.
Charleston, SC, plumbing companies can inspect your sewage system, clear any blockages, and make necessary repairs or upgrades to the sewer system to help prevent backups and other issues during the upcoming hurricane season.
Maintain Your Water Heater
Ensuring the proper functioning of your water heater is an essential step during hurricane preparedness. Annual inspections and maintenance are recommended to ensure it is ready to run during the Atlantic Ocean tropical storm or storm surge.
By having an expert plumbing company inspect and service your heater, you can ensure it operates efficiently and safely.
You can experience a power outage during a hurricane, and your water heater may stop running.
A professional plumber can assess and determine the condition of its electrical components and make any necessary repairs or upgrades to ensure its resilience during such events. They can also check the insulation and piping connections to prevent heat loss and potential leaks that can lead to water damage.
Keep an Emergency Supplies Kit Ready
Once the storm hits, you won’t have time to head to the store for food, water, and supplies. Therefore, you should always keep a kit at your home. Once the high winds and heavy rains start and the tropical storm hits, you’ll be happy that you have this kit already in your home:
- Water supplies and drinking water
- Sanitary supplies and hygiene necessities
- Non-perishable food
- First aid kit
- Necessary medications
- Extra batteries
- Bring blankets, flashlights, and extra clothing
- Essential documents in a waterproof container
- An evacuation route map printed on paper
- Emergency information printed on a waterproof card
Commonly, a power outage could occur during hurricane season, especially if there are high winds beforehand. An emergency supplies kit will ensure you have everything you need to stay safe.
Protecting all areas of your home during a hurricane, both inside and out, is essential. Make sure to follow these tips to keep you as safe as possible.
If You Have a Storm Shelter, Use It
Some homes come with storm shelters as standard. If you’re lucky enough to have one and there’s a hurricane warning, this is the safest place you can go. Ensure you have the right supplies inside your shelter to remain there for a few hours.
It could take some time for the storm to pass over, so keep your emergency supplies kit inside your shelter.
Stay Inside Until You Know It’s Safe
You will usually hear from the authorities through the local media that it’s safe to leave your hurricane shelter. The eye of the storm is a very clear point, and people often mistake this for the end of the storm.
That’s why it’s crucial to remain inside until you are told you can leave.
If You’re Asked to Evacuate, Do
You may be asked to leave your home entirely temporarily in a severe storm or hurricane. The authorities do this if they believe there is an immediate threat to life and the storm surge will be too damaging to survive.
If you are told to leave by the police, then you should do so. They will tell you the evacuation route and where you should go to be at a safe distance from the storm.
If you don’t have somewhere, many charity organizations or religious groups set up shelters in local community halls, school gyms, and other large buildings. Many people go to these places even if they’re not asked to evacuate. Ask the police for a list of places you can stay until it’s safe to return home.
Prepare the Exterior of Your Home
Of course, the rest of your home is also in danger during a hurricane or tropical storm. Here’s some hurricane preparedness that will ensure your home has the best chance of survival during hurricanes, heavy rains, and the winds once the storm hits. If debris hits your home, these tips could help prevent large-scale damage.
Secure the Garage Door
Reinforce your garage door to withstand high winds by installing a bracing system or reinforcing the existing structure. This will help prevent structural damage and potential water intrusion during hurricanes and flooding. It could also avert garage door fails.
Gas Tank Safety
Any external propane tanks need protection before the storm hits. You should ensure any propane tanks are anchored and safely secured during hurricane front-side winds. You should also turn off any gas entering your home to reduce the risk of leaks, fires, and accidents during hurricanes.
Protect All External Units
If you have external air conditioner units, you’ll also need to protect them. Cover your unit with a manufacturer-approved cover or securely fastened tarp to shield it from flying debris and potential water and wind damage below.
Clear Yard Debris and Secure Lawn Furniture
Trimming trees and shrubs around your property would be best to remove any dead or overhanging branches before a storm. This helps lower the risk of stray branches falling and damaging your home during the storm.
You should also move outdoor furniture, grills, and other loose items indoors or secure them tightly to prevent them from becoming projectiles during strong winds. You can also anchor objects with straps if the items are too large to move.
Protect Your Roof with Hurricane Straps
Consider installing hurricane straps or clips to reinforce the roof and secure it to the walls of your home. This can enhance the overall structural integrity of your house during severe weather conditions.
You should also have a yearly roof inspection to look for any missing or damaged shingles. This ensures your roof is ready for the storm. Of course, if your home receives any damage during a storm, you should also have a roof inspection after the significant storm too.
Board and Secure All Exterior Doors and Windows
Remember to secure your home’s exterior glass doors and windows before a storm. Glass doors and windows are prone to damage and should be your primary concern during hurricane preparedness.
Permanent shutters look great and make protecting your home much easier than plywood panels. These permanent storm shutters can help protect your home against debris.
You can use any solid wood, including marine plywood, to board up your home. Being well boarded up also protects you and your family from flood roads or burst riverbanks nearby.
General Hurricane Preparedness and Storm Safety Instructions
Stay tuned to local media during hurricane season. It’s an excellent resource for the latest news, emergency instructions seeking shelter elsewhere, and finding information on flooded roads. In your emergency preparedness kit, keep a radio so that you can get the latest updates if there’s a power outage. Floods are often greater than one foot deep during a hurricane, so you should do everything possible to prepare.
Make sure your other family members and loved ones know where shelter options, drinking and water supplies, and food supplies are located. They should also know the emergency telephone numbers they might need during a storm.
To prepare for a storm, you should also have the necessary financial resources. If your home is damaged during a storm, you may need to contact your insurance company to see what can be done and help you prepare to find shelter. They’ll also help you determine the extent of the damage, should any occur.
They can also help find a contract should you experience flooding during a hurricane.
To determine the extent of flooding and cover flood damage alone, the company will usually send an estimator.
Organizations like the American Red Cross can help you after a hurricane. They’ll help you prepare to rebuild your home and offer support. They can also help with debris-clearing efforts.
The services these kinds of organizations offer are updated annually. But they are great for advising on how to prepare for wind damage and can help you determine what you need to stay safe.
Prepare for a South Carolina Storm or Hurricane
South Carolina is a beautiful place to live but very vulnerable to hurricanes. South Carolina has become better at dealing with high winds, flooding, and fall-out debris. If any of these occur in South Carolina, follow the above tips to protect yourself.
Take Care of Your Home and Plumbing During Hurricane Season
Proper preparation for hurricane season in Charleston, South Carolina, and surrounding areas is essential to protect your home and family. By implementing the measures mentioned in this article, you can reduce flood damage and ensure that your plumbing system is equipped to handle the challenges of hurricane season.
Even if the local media or authorities advise that the greatest threat from the tropical storm front is far away, it’s always better to be prepared before the storm hits.
Taking these precautions, such as inspecting and cleaning gutters, installing sump pumps and backflow preventers, maintaining a sufficient water supply for emergencies, and checking your home’s sewage system and water heater, can make a difference during a hurricane.
Of course, only a portion of hurricane preparedness can get everyone ready. If your home is not ready for a hurricane, seeking shelter should be more important than preparing to cover flood damage to your home.
While some tasks can be tackled by DIYers, consulting with a professional plumbing company like Smoak’s Comfort Control in Charleston, SC, plumbing is always recommended. Their skilled plumbers offer invaluable advice, services, and peace of mind, guaranteeing that your home’s plumbing system is in optimal condition during the most trying time of the year.
Trust Smoak’s to assist you in preparing for and weathering the challenges of Hurricane Charleston, SC season. With their expertise and commitment to exceptional service, you can rest assured that your home is in the most capable hands.