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Using Your Plumbing During a Power Outage


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It’s no secret that power outages are inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst. These times are further complicated if you can’t safely use your home’s plumbing system.

Below, we explore what aspects of your plumbing system you may be able to use and what aspects are unavailable during a power outage, plus tips for getting by until the power is restored.

Is City Water Available During a Power Outage?

If your single-family home relies on city water, it will likely be available even when electricity isn’t. This is because the water coming from the city to your home is usually coming from water towers that rely on gravity to get it to your home.

However, if you live in a large apartment building, you probably won’t have access during a power outage. These high-rise buildings typically pump water to individual apartments using a pumping system housed in a basement or on the first floor. These systems won’t work without power.

Is Well Water Affected by a Power Outage?

Unfortunately, well water pumps are usually powered by electricity, making them inoperable during a power outage. You will, however, be able to access the water in your reservoir if you have one, although those typically hold only 10 to 50 gallons of water.

Do Any Appliances Work During a Power Outage?

While your major plumbing-related appliances like dishwashers, washers, tankless water heaters, and sump pumps won’t work without electricity, some parts of your system will. If you have water coming to your home during an outage, you’ll be able to use your sinks, showers, and toilets.

If you have a traditional storage-tank water heater, you’ll also be able to use whatever hot water is in the tank, but be sure to do so quickly, as there won’t be electricity to keep the water at its set temperature for long.

Things To Remember About Your Plumbing During an Outage

If you find yourself in an extended power outage, keep the following in mind to protect your plumbing system:

  • If your sewer system is pump-powered, be careful not to flush your toilets too many times, as it could cause a sewer backup.
  • During cold weather, if you’re without water during a power outage, let all the water out of your pipes during the outage. This will help prevent water freezing in your pipes, which can cause pipes to break.
  • If you have a sump pump in your basement, it won’t work during a power outage, putting you at risk for flooding. It’s best to have a generator on hand to use for your sump pump during a power outage.

The plumbing experts at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited are here for all your plumbing needs and can answer any questions you may have about your home’s system.

Contact us by scheduling your service online.

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