Winter and Los Angeles.
Not usually two words you see together. Like a Fish needs a Bicycle. But 2016-2017 is on track to be Southern California’s coldest winter since 2007 when Malibu got dusted by snow flurries and West Hollywood was pelted with a hailstorm.
Winterizing your home is something all Los Angeles area residents should think about as the mercury dips and the rain storms roll through. In almost every situation, it is better to get ahead of the problem with a dose of prevention before a complication may cause your home to not have any hot water.
Your hot water heater is especially susceptible to winter flooding during this wet time of year. The first measure of prevention is to check your vent to make sure that rain water is not coming inside the structure and possibly flooding your hot water heater.
When checking your vents that are exposed to the outside elements, there are some considerations to take note of:
- If you have a chimney, it is venting from the top of your home. By double checking that there is a screen and/or cap on top of the chimney, you can make sure that water is not running into your pipes and possibly backing up. Yes, this may require a trip onto the roof of your home, but squirrels and birds get awfully pecky at chimney caps/screens so it is best to ensure that they are still in place as this area is the most common spot for heavy water intake.
- If you have a vent for exhaust that is attached to a basement, you may want to check it for dampness. This can be done simply by removing the vent’s outermost screen and reaching inside to see if there is any dampness. A small amount of water could be a result of simple condensation, but a bigger amount of water could be the result of a leak.
- If everything looks OK, but you STILL have water building up inside your pipes and coming into your home, you may want to check the integrity of the caulk (the lining) between the vent and the structure itself. Extreme cold (and heat) can crack and erode the firmness of the seal and rain water may be coming into your structure through a worn-out seal.
What to do if I have been flooded and my pilot light is out?
If the winter rains victimized your hot water heater and your pilot light is out, here are some steps that you can take to get it up and running again.
- You are going to want to get all that water out! We recommend a submersible pump make sure that all of the water is removed from your flooded area.
- Make sure your gas shut-offs are in the “off” position. This will prevent a leak just in case one of your control valves was also damaged by the water.
- Take stock of your burner assembly. As long as nothing is undamaged, you are going to wipe down and dry your burner assembly as best as possible. You want to make sure that all vents and open areas are clear and free of debris.
- Once you have made sure all your connections are in good working condition, go ahead and relight the pilot light as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is best to have inspected and re-lit your hot water heater at least a day in advance before we at Water Heaters Only, Inc. Los Angeles come out to inspect your unit. Sometimes, running a simple fan that is facing the unit will do the trick to dry out all those hard to reach spots!
We know that winter can be taxing on the mind, body and soul, but with a hint of prevention we can all stay warm and toasty until that glorious Southern California spring returns!
If you have any emergencies with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, you can call them at (800) DIAL-DWP or 1-800-342-5397.
If you have to contact the power company directly, Southern California Edison can be reached at (800) 611-1911.
And if you have any questions for the gas company, SoCalGas can be reached directly at (800) 427-2200.
For all of your hot water heater needs, Water Heaters Only, Inc. Los Angeles can be reached 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at (323) 234-7071.