Power outages are never convenient. A lot of homeowners and apartment dwellers wonder whether their gas plumbing will continue working when the power goes out. There isn’t a direct answer to this question because whether the plumbing will still work depends on several factors, like the types of appliances you use and the water connections to your home.
Does City Gas Water Work During Power Outages?
Whether or not you have access to municipal water during blackouts depends heavily on where you live. If you have your own home, then chances are you can still use your gas plumbing.
Typically, municipal water reaches residents’ taps by flowing down from an elevated water tower. This high elevation allows gravity to keep the water running to your home even during power outages. However, you’ll only have access to the water that was in these towers at the time of the power loss since pumping water into them requires energy. If the tower’s water supply goes dry, it can’t fill back up until the electricity comes back on.
For those living in a multi-story apartment building, your gas plumbing will likely keep working during power outages, but you won’t have access to water. Multi-story apartment buildings usually house their water pumping systems in the building’s basement. As a result, when the electricity goes out, there’s no way to pump the water upward. Because of this, apartment dwellers often lose access to water during blackouts, even if their apartments have gas plumbing.
Does Well Water Work During Power Outages?
If you live outside of the city and use well water, the type of system you use to pump the water from the well to your house will determine whether it will still work during power outages. Any well that uses electricity to pump water to a home won’t work if the electricity is off.
What Will and Won’t Work During Power Outages
Use our guide on power outages and appliances to see which plumbing appliances will keep working when the power goes out.
Since most sewage systems rely on gravity flow, there shouldn’t be any backup in the event of a power failure unless there is a blockage in a pipe. If your home uses an electric pump to move wastewater through the pipes, only flush the toilet when required. If you flush it too much, wastewater might overflow into your home.
Standard toilets use water pressure combined with gravity to work. Because there is no need for electricity, toilets will keep working during power outages. However, you’ll need water in your pipes in order for the toilet to keep flushing.
Once the pipes in your home run out of water, the toilet won’t fill back up with water after you flush it. You’ll have to manually fill the toilet with water out of a jug or bucket until the electricity comes back on and the pipes fill back up with water. This is why it’s smart to keep a few jugs of water on hand at all times in case the power goes out.
Sump pumps suck water out of basements to prevent flooding when it rains really hard. Standard sump pumps won’t work during blackouts because they need electricity to run. Fortunately, though, if you happen to use a gas-powered sump pump, it will continue to work.
If you have an electric sump pump and the electricity goes out, you’ll need to connect it to a gas-powered generator during power outages when there is heavy rain; this will keep the sump pump running and help prevent flooding.
Tankless Water Heaters
If the power goes out, you won’t have any hot water since tankless water heaters rely on electricity to operate, even the gas types. A tankless water heater may not be an ideal option if you live in an area prone to power outages.
You shouldn’t have a problem accessing water and using sinks during short power outages. Whether or not the water is hot depends on how much heated water is stored in the water heater and whether or not it is tankless. If you have a regular gas water heater, you can enjoy as much hot water as you want even during power outages as long as you have access to water. Tankless water heaters do need electricity, meaning the only hot water that will come out of your sinks is the heated water that was stored in the tank before the power went out.
Potential Plumbing Risks During Power Outages
There are a number of dangers to your plumbing system that might occur when the power goes out. As we already stated, an overflow may occur if you flush the toilet too often and rely on a pump-powered sewage system.
Frozen pipes are another concern during blackouts. You only have to worry about this problem during the colder parts of the year, when the temperatures dip below freezing. To avoid this issue, drain all the water in your home’s pipes when the power goes out and it’s freezing temperatures. If you don’t, the water in the pipes might freeze and expand, causing the pipes to crack and bust, which can lead to costly repairs and flooding.
If you have a sump pump installed to keep water out of your basement, the pump will be ineffective during power outages. You should keep it connected to a gas generator during blackouts to help avoid flooding. Since this device operates on its own and is rather quiet, it’s easy to forget about it, but it should be a top priority when the electricity goes off.
Alternative Power Source in Case of Blackout
Before the next power outage, invest in a generator that you can connect to any non-gas-powered plumbing appliances during a blackout. Depending on the size of the generator that you buy, this type of power source can keep all appliances up and running. Remember, even if you have a tankless gas water heater, it still needs an electric power source to operate.
Book a Gas Plumbing Maintenance or Repair Session
No matter the type of plumbing project or task that you’re working on, always leave it in the hands of a licensed plumbing company. If you’re in need of a plumber in the Denver, CO, area, High 5 Plumbing is the company to contact. When it comes to plumbing, we’ve got you covered whether you need a sump pump fixed, a new kitchen sink installed, or your septic system maintained. We also specialize in drain cleaning, sewer line maintenance, hydro-jetting, and more.
Sign up for our Club Membership and receive 10% off service calls, a discounted emergency service fee, no fees at all for regular-hour service calls, priority scheduling, and free annual in-home inspections. Our professional inspections and round-the-clock availability as emergency repair specialists keep customers coming back to us again and again.