To protect your house from flood damage, you should explicitly evaluate the likelihood of flooding in your area and your property. You will then carry out a number of plans and improvements, such as installing a flood protection device and adding sealants to any cracks in your home base. Finally, contact the flood insurance provider to decide any specific emergency management steps they can suggest.
How To Evaluate The Risk of Flooding In Your Home
The first step in protecting yourself from floods is to decide how likely you are to have a flood in your town, and how well your house is constructed to withstand any water damage. The FEMA Flood Map Service is available online and will show you the general risk of flooding in your area. After entering your postcode, click “View web map” to display the flood zones in your city, and click “Show all items for this city” to display the flood history of your region.
The flood maps contain a variety of zone markings that show the danger of flooding in the area and its associated infrastructures, such as bridges, dams and levees. Some of the areas that you would need to be able to identify are:
Blue Zones: these are the 1% cumulative chance regions. FEMA has estimated that the blue areas are likely to be flooded at least once every 100 years. Although 1% can seem to be a minimal number, FEMA still considers this to be a high-risk category, and you should take reasonable measures to protect your home from flooding.
Orange Zones: 0.2 per cent of total chance zones. FEMA notes that orange areas are likely to be flooded at least once every 500 years. Since these areas have a greater chance of flooding than homes in the blue zone, the flood insurance premiums are likely to be lower. However, you should also ensure that your home is not at risk of flooding due to leaks or excessive surface runoff during rainstorms.
Yellow Zones: these are regions of undetermined risk of flooding. If you already live in or would like to buy property that is classed as being in a yellow zone areas then we suggest studying the history of floods in the region. Ask your neighbours what kind of flood they’ve experienced in the course of their time there, and make sure through your assessor or flood insurance agent that the property is designed to withstand any potential floods.
Blue with Red Stripes: these are controlled floodways. Such zones also include a river and its surrounding floodplain and are generally held clear to allow water to drain from neighbouring flood zones. Nevertheless, some houses are constructed in or very close to regulatory floodways. If that is the case with your house, take adequate measures to protect your house from flooding.
After you check the maps for your area, take note of the year in which the map was made. Some charts are seriously out of date, and the real flood threats in your region could be different from those shown on the map.
Understand how floodwaters could reach your house by measuring the surface runoff the next time you encounter heavy rain or snowmelt. Remember how the water flows in or out of your house, as well as any different doors or basement windows around it. This will help you to understand the potential risk of flooding and recognise any particular areas that can benefit from dry-proofing techniques.
Finally, please remember that your regular homeowner’s insurance policy does not shield you from the possibility of flooding. Therefore, you will need to buy flood insurance either through the National Flood Insurance Program or as an extra policy from your homeowner’s insurance provider.
Prepare Your House To Resist Flooding
After you have evaluated your home’s potential risk of flooding, take the appropriate measures to ensure that your home is fully flood-proof. Floodproofing can vary from costly home renovations to free, simple maintenance. The steps you take will depend on the threat of flooding to your house and how well the house has been built to cope with the floods.
Flood-Proofing Renovations For Your Home
If you are building a house in a flood-prone area, or if your home has not been designed to withstand rising water, some flood-proofing work might be needed to mitigate damage from floods. Below are several flood control strategies that will protect your home from rising water.
Raise your house on your stilts or piers. Although it’s difficult to do retroactively, putting your house on stilts would decrease your home’s flood risk. Since even an inch of floodwater can lead to serious harm, raising your home above the flood level would significantly protect your house.
Install a foundation vent or a sump pump. Foundation vents, a type of “wet flood-proofing,” allow floodwater to flow through your house, rather than pool around it. It also offers a floodwater drain and relieves the high pressure that floodwater will bring on your walls and basement windows. Sump pumps are also used to drain water out of basements where flooding occurs often. We recommend buying a battery backup pump so that you can still use it if and when the electricity goes out.
Use coatings and sealants. A method of “dry flood-proofing,” coatings and sealants that you add to your base, walls, windows and doorways can help prevent the floodwater from escaping through cracks into your building.
Raise the power outlets and switches. In order to avoid major electrical damage in the event of a flood, all power outlets, sockets, switches and circuit breakers should be at least one foot above the flood level.
Mount check valves on your pipes. Make sure that all the pipes entering your house have valves to keep the polluted sewage system from returning to your home. Gate valves are favoured over flap valves because they provide better sealing against flood pressure.
Slope your lawn away from your house. If your lawn is tilting to your house, rainwater may pool around your home. Use a thick soil containing clay and sand to change your lawn so that the surface runoff is drained to a more suitable spot, such as a street gutter.
Make space between your mulch and the side of your house. Wet mulch will rot the side of your building, which in turn can lead to leaks. Keep the gap between your mulch and the siding so that the base of your building can be fully dry during rainstorms.
In addition to the above repairs, you can also safeguard your home’s internal and external appliances by bringing them above the flood level. Usually, you can do this easily by placing your belongings on stacks of concrete blocks. Here’s a few appliances that should be elevated above the flood level:
- Air conditioning units
- Water heaters
- Washing machines
- Drying machines
Take Preventive Steps When Flooding Starts
When a storm is imminent or if the floods have already begun, take these measures to mitigate flooding and water damage to your personal property:
- Turn off the water line if it is the cause of the flood.
- Clean the gutters and drains so that the water can flow easily into them.
- Use sandbags to plug any holes that can lead to flooding.
- Transfer carpets, chairs, appliances and other valuables to the upper floor of the house, or at least lift them from the floor.
- Switch off your power from the breaker panel, if the floodwater is near your electrical system.
- If it’s not raining, open several windows to allow air to flow into your house.
- Turn your pump on or use a vacuum to drain water as easily as possible.
- Photograph or videotape any floods to record and defend your claim with your flood insurance agent.
For a more in-depth look at flood prevention for your home, you should contact a water prevention specialist company who can assess, recommend and likely put in place preventative measures to ensure your home never falls victim to floods in your area.