Floods are the number #1 disaster in the United States. The majority of those floods are caused by problems with plumbing and appliances within the home. In fact, many homeowners who have experienced a flood event will suffer from another flooding incident because they never address how to prevent flooding and how to mitigate the damage if it does occur. This article will outline how to prevent home flooding.
Know Your Risk
The first step in preventing flooding is to understand what the risk factors are for your home.
Get a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) from your local FEMA office. A FIRM will outline how flood-prone your property is.
You may also talk to your neighbors and ask how high the water rose in their homes during previous flooding events.
Ensure Your Home
If you live in an area prone to flooding, it is important that your home be insured.
Ensure your home with as much coverage as possible for flooding damage. Be sure to read the fine print regarding how and when the flood insurance will payout.
Flood Insurance Rate Maps are updated every few years, so make sure you record and report any changes to your property to your insurer.
Backflow preventers or check valves are devices that allow water to flow in only one direction. They are a must for every household with municipal-supplied water.
Without backflow prevention, waste disposal systems can discharge wastewater into the drinking supply, resulting in disease and illness. This simple device will ensure your taps and showerheads do not become contaminated by other homes in your area.
These devices are relatively inexpensive to install, saving you thousands of dollars on costly repairs after flooding occurs.
Backflow prevention legal requirement because it keeps dangerous contaminants like germs, sewage, or chemicals out of your piping system.
Proper Water Drainage
Maintaining proper water drainage will reduce the risk of flooding.
Check your roof gutters and downspouts at least twice a year to ensure that they are still in good condition. Remove any debris that’s obstructing the flow of rainwater away from your house.
You should also check nearby stormwater tunnels and ditches for clogs. Locating and fixing these problems now is much easier than doing it after flooding.
Use Rain Chains
Rain gutter chains are how to prevent flooding by channeling water away from your foundation. They look like a series of bowls linked together. The rain falls into and flows through each bowl and then drains out of the lowest point at the end of the chain.
Rain barrels are a great way to collect rainwater from your rooftop. You can then use it to water plants or fill the toilet tank during dry spells without using your municipal supply.
Installing rain barrels can greatly reduce the risk of flooding by keeping rainfall from overwhelming your home’s plumbing.
Rain barrels are easy to maintain and add a great decorative touch as well. Plus, you’ll be doing your part for the environment as they can reduce stormwater runoff into local waterways and encourage water conservation.
Improve Lot Grading
Improving the lot grading around your home reduces the risk of flooding.
When you clear out any obstacles and make sure all of the low-lying areas are properly graded, it will allow water to flow away from your house quickly when it rains.
Ideally, this should happen before planting trees or landscaping. The best time to do this is to prepare the lot for construction to prevent future flooding issues.
But if you already live in a home with flat areas that flood easily, it’s not too late to get started. Improvements can be made with the help of a landscaping company, improving both your property’s appearance and its flood resilience.
Reduce Impervious Surfaces
Impervious surfaces (like roofing, driveways, and patios) are attractive because they resist water. But this quality can also hurt you because it forces water to either drain too quickly or pool in low-lying areas around your home.
When possible, you want to reduce these types of surfaces around your house. This will help rain to flow away from your home and reduce the chance of flooding.
Create natural grass lawns in front and back yards instead of asphalt or concrete. Add other environmentally friendly landscaping features like mulching, ground covers.
Take the time now to elevate your most vulnerable utilities like sump pumps, water heaters, furnaces, and electrical panels.
Flooding can cause these important devices to fail if submerged in water for even a short time. Even when the rest of your home remains unharmed, this damage could potentially cost you thousands of dollars to repair.
It would be best to elevate them at least one foot above the highest level of predicted flooding.
Seal Foundation and Basement Walls
Your home’s foundation and basement walls are some of the most vulnerable areas to flooding. But basement flooding can cause serious damage to the house structure.
Sealing these areas will prevent water from getting in and keep it away once it does. You can use simple floor paint, caulk, or waterproof sealants to protect your walls against moisture.
Install Sump Pump
You should invest in a quality sump pump for your home. It is one of the best defenses against flooding, especially if you live near a body of water like a river or creek bed.
A good sump pump will remove excess water that collects in low-lying areas around your house. It will pull water away and pump it into a safe location until the storm is over.
Safeguard Your Valuables
If you have valuable belongings in the basement or crawlspace, take the time to safeguard them.
Water damage can ruin electronic equipment and other valuables, which will cost you thousands of dollars to repair or replace. You should invest in waterproof containers like flood safes that are designed to keep water out.
Fix Leaky Roof
You should schedule routine roof maintenance to help prevent water damage.
You must make sure all of the shingles are still secure and in good condition. You’ll also want to check for hail damage, which can easily go unnoticed (or worse, be covered up by a contractor without your knowledge).
The best time to do this is during the off-season when you’re not dealing with ice dams or snow accumulation problems. You should inspect your home’s roof annually, at least, if possible.
Install Flood Vents
There are several types of vents that can be installed on your home’s roof.
Setting these up will channel any water or ice away from your home. If you have flat areas around your house, flood vents will allow the water to flow more easily and quickly without pooling at the lowest points.
Select Resistant Materials
It would help if you only considered using materials resistant to flooding when remodeling your basement or building a new home. You need strong lumber, supports, and other construction materials so they won’t rot if they’re suddenly submerged in water for a prolonged period of time.
Have an Emergency Plan in Place
If you live near a high-risk area for floods, having an emergency plan is essential. Ideally, you should have a safe place to go to when your home is threatened by flooding. You may have to stay there for several days while the floodwaters recede and disaster relief organizations can start helping affected homeowners finally.
Move Out of Flood Zones If Possible
If your house is in an area that’s prone to flooding, you may want to consider moving out of that flood zone if possible. It’s heartbreaking when a storm comes through and damages your home or even obliterates it. It can also be expensive to recover from an incident like that.
Consider Elevating Your House Even Further
Some people feel like one foot above the highest predicted water level is enough protection, but others prefer two feet above the highest level.
One of the best defenses against flooding is to elevate your home as much as possible above the predicted water levels. This will protect your property from any floods or downpours that could occur during major storms.
Sandbags are a great way to protect your home from flooding. If you live in an area that’s prone to flooding, sandbags can be used as a temporary wall between your house and the water.
Not only will they stop water from getting inside, but they’ll also prevent it from spreading once it gets there. Load up sandbags and stack them three feet high (or however high is recommended by local authorities).
Know How To Prevent Flooding in Your Home
You can take many steps to prevent flooding in your home, and it doesn’t have to be a difficult or time-consuming task.
Just by using some of the techniques described in this article, you will be able to reduce the risk of water damage in your house. Every little bit helps.
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- About the Author
Abigail Bassey is an interior design and lifestyle enthusiast & blogger with over 5+ years of experience in writing and editing. She takes pleasure in helping people achieve their dream homes.