The unimaginable has happened: during a particularly heavy thunderstorm, your area started flooding and your home was ravaged by water. After a flood, it’s easy to focus heavily on the cosmetic damage, on the things you can see. Whether it’s a now-soggy carpet or water stains creeping up the walls, it’s easy to forget that there might be more severe damages.

One part of your home you might not think about after a flood is your plumbing, and if it’s left unchecked, it could have severe consequences. Here’s what you need to know.

Common plumbing damages after a flood

Naturally, one of the most common issues following a flood is the probability of clogged drains. When excess water and debris get into your drains, regardless of whether they’re on the interior or exterior, it can cause a nasty amount of blockage. Luckily, since clogging is one of the most common post-flood occurrences, it’s fairly easy to remedy as well. A qualified plumber can take out even the most stubborn of clogs with clever use of a snake or the right kind of drain cleaner. If there’s sediment buildup, this may be trickier to address and shouldn’t be approached as a DIY project.

Flooding also has a nasty habit of damaging the foundation of a home, causing it to shift and warp under the strain of rushing water. While this often seems like more of a structural issue, a shifting foundation can easily mean shifting pipes. It can also mean cracks, chipping, and outright breakage, which leads to more standing water as well as further water damage.

If your foundation has been warped by a flood, contact both a contractor (to assess the foundation) and a plumber (to determine whether or not your pipes have been damaged in any way and whether repairs are required). Even underground plumbing can be affected so a thorough inspection is an absolute must.

The road to repair

Thankfully, if the damage caused by the flooding isn’t too severe, you can handle a vast majority of the repairs on your own. Things like minor clogs and backed up plumbing are fairly easy to remedy through careful use of a small drain snake or commercial drain cleaner solutions. Minor debris and blockage can be cleared with minimal effort, so long as you handle it cautiously and carefully.

There’s one aspect of plumbing that’s a bit more difficult to repair. It’s important to consider that the majority of your home’s plumbing is underground. As such, unless you’re requiring a detailed, thorough inspection, you might not realize that underground pipes have been damaged until they’ve started blemishing the rest of your home. While it may be tempting to grab a shovel and start digging until you find the problem, you may end up making things worse. If you suspect that a flood caused underground damage, reach out to a professional before taking things any further.

Calling in the cavalry

So you’ve done some investigating, requested an inspection, and it seems as though you can’t handle the problem yourself. Now what? How do you go about finding a professional to help erase all of your plumbing woes? There are a few good starting points. The first is to ask for referrals. If anyone you know has recently had plumbing work done, see if they’re willing to set you up with their contact.

You could also look online for a company that has a good industry reputation and is well-reviewed. This is an easy way to find local companies like Affordable Plumbing, who can send someone to inspect your plumbing and determine the best course of action. Flooding often puts your life on hold, but it’s possible to get it back on track if you know what to do.