Fall Checklist: 7 ways to protect your home from flood damage

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, floods are the most common and widespread of all weather-related natural disasters. Here are some ways you can reduce flood damage to your home.

1. Start from the bottom

An extensive flood damage prevention plan needs to start from the basics, from your home’s foundation. Check if there are any small cracks in it. Over time, these cracks tend to grow and lead to more significant problems, as they may let water seep in. Simply fill any gaps you notice with masonry caulk or mortar.

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Keep in mind that cracks that keep on reappearing might be a signal that you have a bigger problem that requires professional attention.

2. Landscaping matters

Regular landscaping is one thing that tends to be overlooked, even though it is crucial for reducing flood damage. Keep your gutters, downspouts, and splash pads clean and debris free. If they get backed up, the rainwater will build up instead of getting away from your home.

You should also keep your ditches and drains clean, so they don’t overflow. Consider getting a rain barrel to collect the rainwater in. The barrels will prevent the water from pooling and give you easy access to water for watering your plants.

3. Keep yourself safe from sewer water

Sewer water flood is unpleasant to look at, and even more unpleasant to smell. Besides that, it carries a high risk of contamination. Have drain plugs installed into all of your basement drains, and have a professional install backflow valves on your pipes. By doing so, you will stop the water from both waste and flooding from entering your home through sinks and toilets.

4. Keep things sealed

Other areas that might frequently go overlooked when it comes to waterproofing your home are doors and windows. Use a primary sealant to protect your home from the rainwater pouring in. You can even apply it to the foundation as an additional layer of protection.

When it comes to the basement or low-level windows, you might want to buy a window well cover that fastens securely to help prevent water from spilling into the well.

5. Protect the power

Check your home’s flood level — the official measure of how high floodwaters could rise where you live. You can do so at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website.

Raise the switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring at least a foot above your area’s expected flood level. The same goes for your furnace, water heater, and any other anchored indoor equipment. Keep in mind that remodeling your home’s interior is more than just a simple DIY project.

Also, make sure to turn all of the electronics off if you know that a flood is approaching. You can make sure that the power is completely off by shutting off breakers or unscrewing fuses. If floodwaters get close to the electrical entrance box, call the power supplier and have the house’s electrical supply disconnected.

6. Make sure you have the higher ground

Sometimes, prevention is the best form of action. If you are expecting a flood, move all of your valuables on the higher floor of your home, or, at the very least, on the top shelves of closets and cupboards. Raise all the appliances such as washing machines and dryers at least one foot above the ground. You can use wood or cement blocks to do so.

When it comes to stuff that is outdoors, fuel tanks, air-conditioning units, and generators should be anchored and raised above flood level.

Lastly, store backups of all of the crucial documents in a fire-safe, waterproof box and put it on a higher elevation.

7. Make sure that you have the appropriate insurance

If all of your waterproofing efforts fail, and the flood damage does happen, it is vital to reach out to your insurance agent right away.

When searching for the type of insurance that suits your needs, keep in mind that water and flood damage are two different things. It seems counterintuitive, but the standard homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood damage. You’ll have to get a different flood policy in some places, while elsewhere, a homeowner must have an individual flood insurance rider.

Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work on PlainHelp.

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