How to Inspect Your House After an Earthquake
Experiencing a natural disaster like an earthquake can be frightening. If you’ve never encountered one before, it can be difficult to know what steps to take afterwards. One of the most important things to do post-earthquake is to examine your home for any potential damage. Failure to do so could be dangerous to both your family and your home. Here’s where you should look when doing an inspection of your home following an earthquake.
Thoroughly examine the exterior of your house. The first thing to look for after an earthquake has hit is the exterior of your home. Stand at a distance to see if there’s any visible shifting or crookedness to you house. Take note of any areas that have seemed to collapse or look out of place. Look at the foundation and outside walls to see if any new cracks have appeared, or if it looks like the home has potentially shifted off the foundation.
Inspect the utilities. It’s very important to make sure all of your utilities are functioning properly post-earthquake. Be aware of any potential gas leaks in your home. If you smell gas, evacuate your home and call your gas company. Check any water lines to make sure the pipes haven’t shifted and been damaged during the earthquake. Turn on your faucets and flush your toilets to ensure that everything is working properly. Take a look at your hot water heater to make sure it’s standing upright and hasn’t shifted. Any visible power lines should also be checked for sagging.
Check the chimney. Chimneys are especially susceptible to earthquake damage due to the stability of the brick, especially in older homes. Examine the area where the chimney connects to the roof and side of the home for any signs it may have separated. On the inside of the chimney, check the liner for any potential cracks that may have occurred, and take note of any unusual pieces of rubble in the fireplace.
Examine the interior. It’s important to pay special attention when examining the interior of your home for potential damage. First, check the ceilings for any indiction of a potential leak. If your ceiling is leaking, it’s possible there is damage to your roof. Open and close windows and doors to determine if they are working properly. Closely examine walls, and any place where fixtures are attached to walls for potential cracks.
Sometimes earthquake damage can take time to develop, so it’s important to pay special attention to your home in the months following. If you’ve experienced damage due to an earthquake, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you develop a plan to restore your house.