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The Role of Repiping in Earthquake Proofing

Updated:  |  Published:

PEX tubing is preferred for homes in earthquake zones
PEX tubing is preferred for homes in earthquake zones

Do you live in an earthquake-prone area? Are your pipes located in or under a concrete slab?

Earthquakes can cause catastrophic damage not just to your home's plumbing but also to the entire structure of your house. However, there are ways to help minimize the damage to your plumbing located in or under a concrete slab.

In this article, we will look at the common effects that earthquakes have on plumbing systems, what is the best plumbing material for earthquake prone zones, and how repiping your plumbing can minimize the damage caused by earthquake.

How Do Earthquakes Affect Plumbing?

In earthquake-prone regions like California, Nevada, Washington, and even Utah, earthquakes have had a significant impact on infrastructure. There are several plumbing-related issues that can arise from earthquakes:

Slab Leaks

One of the most common effects of earthquakes on your home's plumbing is slab leaks. Any movement in the ground can cause cracks and movement in a concrete slab, which, in turn, can damage plumbing, leading to leaks.

Slab leaks may go unnoticed for a while, but signs often include unexplained damp spots on the floor, a sudden increase in water bills, or even the sound of running water when all faucets are turned off. We have a detailed article that covers Warning Signs of a Leak Under Slab.

a damaged floor caused by a slab leak.
A damaged floor caused by a slab leak.

The challenge with slab leaks lies in identifying these problems early, as delayed detection may lead to more extensive and costly repairs. For more information on slab leaks, you can read our article Frequently Asked Questions About Slab Leaks.

Pipe Misalignment

The ground movement during earthquakes can cause shifts in the foundation, leading to the misalignment of pipes, causing them to bend, kink, or even disconnect from their intended positions. This misalignment can result in kinks, bends, or even complete disconnections in the plumbing system.

Corrosion Acceleration

The stress and movement generated by earthquakes can accelerate the corrosion process in metal pipes, causing microcracks, fractures, or weakening of protective coatings on the pipes. This acceleration weakens the structural integrity of the pipes, making them more prone to leaks and breaks.


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What Is The Best Plumbing Material For Earthquakes?

In regions prone to earthquakes, the choice of repiping material plays a crucial role in ensuring the structural integrity and resilience of a plumbing system during earthquakes.

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing is the best solution for earthquake-prone areas, especially when replacing traditional copper and steel pipes.

The flexibility of PEX allows it to absorb and withstand the dynamic movements caused by earthquakes, reducing the risk of pipe fractures and subsequent water damage. Unlike rigid metal pipes, PEX can flex without breaking, making it an ideal choice for earthquake-prone regions where ground shifts and building tremors are common.

Additionally, PEX is corrosion-resistant, eliminating the concerns associated with metal pipe deterioration over time. We have a detailed article on the advantages of repiping with PEX tubing.

At Repipe Specialists, our repipes utilize Uponor PEX-A tubing due to its many benefits, including its stress-crack corrosion resistance and lower cost in comparison to other types of PEX tubing.


Earthquake-Proofing Your Plumbing: Repiping Through Walls

There is no way to completely earthquake-proof your plumbing. However, you can minimize the effects on your plumbing and avoid issues such as slab leaks by repiping your fresh water lines through walls using flexible materials like PEX tubing.

Here at Repipe Specialists, our full home repipes do just that. We cap off the fresh water lines that are already in or under your slab, leaving them in place. We then route all your new plumbing through walls, ceilings, and attics, avoiding the slab and preventing future slab leaks.

routing new PEX tubing through walls
Routing new PEX tubing through walls

Our whole-home repipes will also generally be much less disruptive than jackhammering open your slab to access and replace leaking pipes caused by earthquakes. With our One-Stop Repipe™ Process, we can complete a repipe of your entire home in just 1-2 days, and handle everything from inspections to wall patching - all backed by a lifetime warranty.

A Repipe Specialist repipe will provide you with the peace of mind that your plumbing is as earthquake-proof as possible. Feel free to contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our local repipe consultants.


Get a Quote for Your Home Repipe

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced the plumbing in over 75,000 homes since 1991 using both copper piping and PEX tubing. We continually get positive customer feedback from customers about their overall home repipe experiences. We often exceed their expectations on:

  • Speed: Our repipe crews typically complete a repipe in a day, returning on another day for wall patching.
  • Convenience: Through our One-Stop Repipe™ Process, we handle everything from permits, to wall patching, to inspections.
  • Cleanliness: Our crews are trained to protect your home while working (we cover all surfaces with protective sheeting), and to clean up fully at the end of each day.
  • Peace of Mind: Repipe Specialists is a fully licensed plumber in every state we operate in, and we back all of our repipes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Financing programs: To help take the sting out of unplanned repipe expenses, we offer several financing programs.
  • Price: As a specialist that performs hundreds of repipes a week, we can deliver high-quality repipes at a lower cost vs generalist plumbers. We have an article that covers repipe cost factors in detail. Our quotes typically range from $4,500 to $15,000 depending on the size and complexity of your project.

Schedule a free in-home consult, and one of our local repipe consultants will explain all your repipe options and provide you with a written, fixed-price quote. Repipe your fresh water pipes through walls and earthquake-proof your plumbing today.


About Repipe Specialists

Expert Repiping at an Affordable Cost

Since our founding in 1991, we've been completing residential and multi-family building repipes to the highest standard.

With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our  One Stop Repipe™ process: providing you with a high quality and convenient repipe experience while offering significant savings compared to traditional plumbers - plus, our work is guaranteed for life.

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