Oklahoma Earthquakes: Part 3


If you have lived in Oklahoma for at least a decade, you probably consider yourself somewhat of an expert on severe weather and tornadoes.

Now that we are arguably the earthquake capitol of the planet, we need to become experts on another way mother earth lets us know who’s boss.

As spring approaches and we spend more time outside (hopefully!), we need to be on the lookout for changes in our homes that may need to be addressed before they become bigger, more expensive problems.

Here is a list that FEMA has put out of things to check as you move in and around your home.

1. Check The External House Structure:

• Survey all portions of your house to see if any part collapsed or sustained damage.

• Check to see if the house shifted on its foundation, or fell away from the foundation in any place.

• Check to see if the house is noticeably leaning, or looks tilted from a distance.

• Look for severe cracks or openings, especially around outdoor steps or porches.

• If inside the house, check to see if you are experiencing seriously increased vibrations from passing trucks and buses.

• Look for cracks in external walls. Check to see if existing cracks in the walls are getting bigger.

• Check to see if mortars are separating from the blocks.

• Look for sink holes or large divots in the ground next to the foundation.

2. Check The Chimneys:

• Look for cracks between the chimney and the exterior wall or the roof.

• Look for cracks in the liner.

• Check to see if there is unexplained debris in the fireplace.

3. Check Utilities:

• Check to see if power lines to your house are noticeably sagging.

• Check to see if hot water heater is leaning or tilted.

• Check to see if all the water connections, dry-pipes, toilets, faucets are secure.

4. Check the Inside Of the House:

• Check to see if doors and windows are harder to open, and if doors do not shut properly.

• Check to see if the roof is leaking. Look for water damage to the ceiling.

• Check to see if the furnace has shifted in any way, and if ducts and exhaust pipes are connected and undamaged.

• If inside the house, check to see if you are experiencing unexplained draftiness. Look for cracks in the walls, poorly aligned window frames, and loosened exterior siding. They can all let in breezes.

• Check to see if the floor is separated from walls or stairwells inside the house.

• Look for cracks between walls and built-in fixtures such as lights, cupboards or bookcases.

• Look for gaps around plumbing pipes that exit the foundation wall.

Aron Ralston pointed this fact out in his book Between a Rock and a Hard Place years ago.  Everything in our environment is moving.  Some things move quickly, and some move very slowly, but everything is moving.

The ground beneath us is moving much more quickly these days, so be on the lookout for problems that may compromise your homes well being.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
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