Not all earthquake damage obvious at home

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by KING5.com

KING5.com

Posted on July 8, 2010 at 10:47 AM

SEATTLE – Since not all damage is easy to see, it’s important for homeowners to carefully check their property in the hours and days after an earthquake. KING 5's Scott Miller talked to the experts about how to make sure your home survived a quake intact.

You may have obvious signs of damage such as a toppled chimney, but earthquakes don't always leave a telltale pile of bricks.

"If you had a serious crack, you'd be looking for something that runs diagonal from an interior opening," explained building inspector Hugh Kelso.

Diagonal cracks in the wall are the worst, but more subtle cracks can also appear in corners where the wall meets ceiling. In the basement of older homes, check support posts for signs of shifting.

Other things to check:

  • Check old pipes for signs of new leaks.
  • Chimneys may be damaged inside, even if they look fine outside.
  • Cement foundations need a close inspection.

"Do you have any new cracks that you haven't noticed that weren't there before? If it's more than a quarter of an inch, that's significant and you want to look around and see what else may have moved," Kelso said.

Experts say these inspections are important. The better you know your home inside and out, the easier it is to tell when something has changed. If you want to hire a professional inspector to go through your home, it will cost you at least a hundred dollars. Some jurisdictions like King County offer inspections for a fee, as well.

 

Reported by Scott Miller

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