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Plumbing problems to watch for when it’s raining

Written by Eamonn Ryan

In South Africa, the heavy rain the country and particularly KwaZulu Natal (KZN) is experiencing is usually hard to come by. However, when heavy rain does come, homeowners are seldom prepared for the aftermath. Sudden rains can lead to serious issues with your plumbing and drain systems, especially where properties aren’t properly equipped to handle the unusual volume of water intake. In order to secure your home and guard against rain, look out for signs that might indicate a serious plumbing problem.

The following are four common plumbing problems which can occur when it rains heavily:

    • Flooding due to poor outdoor drainage:

      Heavy rain can often cause water to accumulate in low points and dips throughout your garden. If there is nowhere for this water to naturally drain, these pools of rainwater can become a serious issue. Outdoor flooding could point to several different problems, so uncovering the real reason depends largely on where the water is and whether the proper drains are in place. Outside flooding might indicate a lack of proper drainage on your property. If the lay of your property does not correctly channel the rainwater away, then your driveway, swimming pool or garden paths might flood. Furthermore, this type of flooding could compromise the stability of your driveway, deck, or the underlying foundation of your home. An area drain could solve this issue by providing proper drainage at the low points on your property and carrying water away from your home.

    • Debris clogging indoor drains leading to a backup:

      When you notice water pooling in your sink, shower, bathtub, or near other household drains, you might have a blockage in your plumbing system. Debris such as leaves, soil, sticks, and trash can be brought in by heavy rain, enter your sewer system and cause your drains to clog, backing up your entire system.

    • Sewage backing up into your home due to clogged drains:

      When your residential suburb experiences a heavy or sudden rainfall, you should give thought to what it does to your municipal sewer pipe. As previously mentioned, heavy rain can lead to a build-up of debris in outdoor drains, which often clogs the underlying pipes. When this happens, it might eventually affect your sewer pipe. The sewer line carries wastewater from your home to the municipal sewer line, but when the line is blocked, that dirty water could accumulate over your clogged drains. Even worse, the buildup might cause your pipes to crack or burst.

    • Pipes bursting and cracking from a blockage:

      If you notice that your sink water is darkened, your water tastes coppery, or a mildew smell permeates your home, you may have experienced a cracked or broken pipe. When rainwater has nowhere to go, it puts pressure on your pipes and could cause them to break, especially when pipes are old or damaged. As a result, the fresh water that flows into your home might be tainted by soil and other contaminants.

What should you do in the event of one of these faults?

Even though South Africa rarely experiences heavy rain, the KZN flooding and heavy rain in many parts of the country suggest that homeowners need to be well prepared for potential plumbing problems of a summer rainstorm. Whether you’re dealing with a major pipe burst, a simple clogged drain, or a blocked sewer, you can visit the Find a Plumber site at to locate a local qualified professional who is equipped to restore the functionality of your home and property. Be very careful of using an unqualified plumber or handyman who doesn’t understand the intricacies of plumbing and doesn’t use compliant products. IOPSA members and PIRB registered plumbers offer many different services, including re-piping, drain clearing, video line assessments and repairs, water main replacements, sewer line repairs, and more. If you are concerned about the integrity of your drains or plumbing system after a rainstorm, make sure you reach out to only a professional plumber.

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