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How to Earthquake-Proof Plumbing in Washington State

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Will your plumbing leak in the next Washington earthquake?
Will your plumbing leak in the next Washington earthquake?

Are you concerned about how Washington State's earthquakes might be affecting your plumbing?

Washington State (particularly areas around the Puget Sound basin) is prone to earthquakes. Over 1,000 earthquakes hit the state each year, so it's important to ensure the safety of your home's freshwater plumbing in case of a sudden seismic event.

Note: There is no way to completely earthquake-proof your plumbing, but you can help minimize the effects of earthquakes on your home's plumbing.

In this article, we will discuss whether there are earthquake plumbing codes in Washington State, how earthquakes can negatively affect plumbing, which plumbing materials are best suited to the state's seismic activity, and how to earthquake-proof your plumbing for many years to come.

How Earthquakes Affect Plumbing in Washington State

In Washington State, earthquakes pose significant threats to infrastructure, including plumbing systems. Specific issues that can arise in Washington State due to earthquakes include:

  • Pipe Misalignment: Ground shifts during earthquakes in Washington State can misalign pipes, causing them to bend, kink, or disconnect from their intended positions. This misalignment can lead to kinks, bends, or complete disconnections within the plumbing system.
  • Corrosion Acceleration: Earthquake-induced stress and movement can accelerate the corrosion process in metal pipes in Washington State, leading to microcracks, fractures, or weakening of protective coatings. This acceleration weakens pipe integrity, increasing the risk of leaks and breaks.
  • a damaged floor caused by a slab leak.
    A damaged floor caused by a slab leak.
  • Slab Leaks: Earthquakes in Washington State can lead to slab leaks, where ground movement causes cracks in concrete slabs, damaging plumbing and resulting in leaks. Signs of slab leaks include unexplained damp spots, increased water bills, or the sound of running water with faucets off. We have a detailed article that covers Warning Signs of a Leak Under Slab.

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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Plumbing Damage Caused by Washington State's Earthquakes?

Typically, standard homeowners insurance policies in Washington State do not cover earthquake damage to plumbing systems.

Washington State residents can opt to purchase separate earthquake insurance policies to protect their properties from seismic-related damages, including plumbing issues. Several insurance companies in Washington State offer earthquake insurance coverage, such as Secord Agency Insurance and GeoVera Insurance Group.

These policies vary in terms of coverage limits, deductibles, and premiums, so it's essential for property owners to carefully review and understand their policy's terms and conditions. On average, earthquake coverage in Washington State regularly costs about a third as much as homeowners insurance policies.

It's crucial for residents in Washington State to assess their insurance needs and consider investing in earthquake insurance coverage to safeguard their properties against potential plumbing damage.

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What Are the Best Plumbing Materials for Washington State's Earthquakes?

When deciding on the best plumbing material to help protect your home against earthquakes in Washington State, PEX tubing is by far the most earthquake-resistant.

PEX (Cross-linked polyethylene) pipes are the preferred plumbing material in Washington State due to their flexibility and durability, which enable them to endure the dynamic movements associated with earthquakes without rupturing. These materials have been extensively adopted in seismic-prone regions like Washington State, where seismic activity is a recurring concern.

Although copper pipes are commonly used across Washington State, they may be more susceptible to damage during earthquakes due to their rigid nature which can lead to issues such as pinhole leaks.

When it comes to Washington State's earthquakes, opting for flexible and resilient materials like PEX, and employing appropriate installation methods is integral for ensuring the longevity and integrity of your plumbing system.

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How to Earthquake-Proof Your Plumbing in Washington State

In order to protect your plumbing against earthquakes in Washington State, the best option is to reroute your home's plumbing through walls and cavities, minimizing exposure to potential earthquake damage caused by ground movements.

Here at Repipe Specialists, our full home repipes do just that. By embedding pipes within the structure of your home, such as walls, ceilings, and attics, they become less susceptible to external forces during earthquakes. With no pipes located in or under the slab, you will also never have to worry about slab leaks again.

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

Repiping with Uponor PEX-A tubing further protects plumbing against earthquakes, allowing pipes to flex and absorb energy without breaking, thanks to Uponor's exceptional stress-crack corrosion resistance.

By following these proactive measures, you can minimize the risk of plumbing failures in your Washington State home during earthquakes, safeguarding both you and your property against any potential damage.

If you want to know more about repiping with PEX, feel free to contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our local repipe consultants.

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Get your free estimate today

With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our One-Stop Repipe™ for your home.

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Receive a Free Quote for Your Washington 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 pipes through walls and earthquake-proof your Washington State home today.

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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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