Can Heavy Rain Affect Plumbing? How, Why, and What to Do

Monday 25th April 2022
by Homeforce

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Mon 25th April 2022

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Most of us try to check guttering routinely for any minor plumbing issues we might be experiencing, but can something as simple as a downpour of heavy rain affect your home plumbing system? 

It’s not uncommon for odd plumbing problems to pop up from time to time, but have you suddenly started to experience problems with leaks, backed up drains or even issues with underground piping? 

Read on to find out if it could be heavy rain that could be causing the problem. 

Let’s find out the mini answer first before we delve a little deeper.

Heavy rain can cause serious damage to your home’s plumbing system. Persistent heavy rain may cause soil to shift which weakens and cracks pipes also causing a change in pressure which may cause pooling in sinks and problems with toilets. It could also cause leaks and flooding. 

So with the short answer in mind so you can understand a little more about whether heavy rain can affect plumbing let’s start by finding out how heavy rainfall can affect pipes.

Heavy rain can cause pipes to burst

Although a fall of rain can be welcomed by gardeners after a heatwave, it’s not always good for your plumbing system. 

Persistent rain can especially be a problem for older systems, but can also affect new systems in good condition.

After particularly heavy rainfall the sheer weight of it on the pipelines can cause them to fracture, and break. While any soil and sand can very quickly be turned into mud which puts pressure on pipelines.

As the soil around them shifts, pipes are less supported and can sometimes bend, which means they are more likely to crack. 

If you notice any problems with pipes it’s important to call expert plumbers who will be able to make any repairs or replace them. An experienced plumber will be able to quickly detect any minor leaks before they can turn into a major issue. 

“Persistent rain can especially be a problem for older systems, but can also affect new systems in good condition.”

Heavy rain can move underground pipes 

Not only can heavy rain cause underground pipes to break or leak, but they can also dislodge them due to mud and soft soil around them.

If rainfall is high, it could potentially shift pipes sufficiently to cause them to crack. Very quickly, this can lead to both leaks and a change in water pressure.

If your outside drain is blocked or there are other signs of damage to pipework after a heavy rainstorm, it’s important to act quickly so as not to cause further plumbing issues. 

Shut off the water supply if you suspect underground pipes might have moved and contact an expert straight away. 

Backup of debris in pipes due to heavy rain 

Another way heavy rain can affect plumbing is that debris such as soil, mud and sand get into the pipeline due to the cracks and anywhere the pipeline has been badly damaged. 

Not only can smaller pieces of debris get into the pipework, but this can also add to a situation for instance if tree roots have previously entered pipes which have caused cracks. 

You will most likely notice this pretty much straight away if it’s happened after heavy rainfall as water might seep into any basements causing a flood. 

You might even notice the water pressure dropping from your taps too. This is one of the most obvious signs of blockages that might be caused by a heavy fall of rain. 

If the water pressure has dropped on your taps, get in touch with an expert plumber straight away. 

Hidden Leaks And Flooding

Another problem you might experience in your home due to a rainstorm is leaks which lead to water pooling around your home. Generally speaking, pipes and much of the plumbing are forced to work much harder and under greater pressure following any reasonably fast or prolonged rainstorm. 

These floods can be either small or large scale and might be in areas that are left unattended. 

So if you’ve had particularly heavy rainfall then double-check areas such as underground storage areas and basements. 

“pipes and much of the plumbing are forced to work much harder and under greater pressure following any reasonably fast or prolonged rainstorm.”

When the ground is mostly dry, usually water simply drains away. However, at times when the permeable quality of ground is affected after heavy bouts of rain, water can build up in the foundations of your home. 

The geographical location and type of home is also a key factor in determining whether heavy rain will affect the plumbing. 

For instance, if your house is on a slope, it’s easier for water to pool in areas surrounding your home and its pipework.

Sump Pump

If your sump pump is not working correctly or if you don’t have one, then after heavy rain, water can collect in areas causing floods.

It’s important that your sump pump is the right type for home and that it’s in good working order before seasons where heavy rain might be a problem.

A properly working sump pump will begin working to remove water. The harder it rains, the harder your sump pump needs to perform.

If you’re unsure about sump pumps in general, then come and talk to us and we can advise further on whether this is the issue and the solutions available to you. 

Debris can clog indoor drains after heavy rain

After a heavy fall of rain, you might notice the pooling of water in your home. Areas might include 

  • Sink 
  • Household drains 
  • Shower
  • Bathtub 

The debris such as stones, leaves, sticks and even rubbish might cause the drains to clog and back up the plumbing system. 

Can sewage backup up in my home due to heavy rain? 

Any debris which clogs pipes can also eventually affect sewers. Clogged pipes can stop wastewater from being removed and you might see dirty water over any blocked drains. 

There are a number of warning signs which can show problems with sewage lines. You might experience: 

  • Water’s slow draining 
  • Drains making a ‘bubbling’ sound 
  • Clogs in more than one drain 
  • A sewage-like smell coming from drains 
  • Sewage emitting from clean pipes 

Does heavy rain cause problems with toilets? 

As heavy rain affects plumbing, it’s not surprising that you might discover issues with your toilets.

As with sewer problems, you might notice a ‘gurgling’ sound coming from a toilet. This is due to a clogged drain or backup pipe.

If you have a septic tank, it could also be that rainwater might have made its way into your tank causing it to fill and then make its way back into your toilet.

How can I protect my drains from heavy rain? 

There are a few ways you can protect your home from clogged up drains. 

Regularly clean out any debris such as fallen leaves, stones and sticks by scooping them out or using a wet-dry vacuum.

You could also try using a rain guard which you can find in most larger DIY shops, to stop the build-up of debris such as leaves, rocks and soil. Rain guards come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so there will be one that you can find to fit most household drain sizes.

With the aid of a simple cutting tool, many drain guards can be fashioned to fit around appropriate drain pipes and against walls.

Regular checking of drains is part of a good home maintenance routine. Making sure all drains are free from debris can help protect plumbing after heavy rain. 

The first thing to do is regularly clear out debris in your drain by scooping it out before using a wet-dry vacuum to get any remaining, hard-to-reach debris. 

“Regular checking of drains is part of a good home maintenance routine.”

Can heavy rain affect plumbing – Next steps 

If you are experiencing any of the problems above with plumbing, and need an emergency call out, get in touch with our experienced plumbers here

Our specialist U.K. wide network of engineers can help with blocked drains, leaking and blocked pipes. 

Don’t forget to also check out our monthly plans which mean no large payouts if you suddenly experience plumbing problems because of heavy rainfall.

Ready to get started? Call us anytime on 0844 77 00 597 or

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