When a hurricane or bad storm parks itself above your hometown and dumps several feet of water on your home, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to prevent flooding in your home. However, many homes flood every year from milder storms and many of those floods could have been prevented. In addition to the loss of personal property and the expenses of repairing your home, water damage can leave behind mold and other health hazards.
Here are 9 things you can do in advance as a homeowner to prevent flooding and water damage in your home.
Install Sump Pumps and a Generator
Having a sump pump installed in the basement of your home can be an effective way to remove water and pump it back outside your home. Sump pumps installed in the basement can protect the foundation from water damage and may prevent flooding to higher levels. Most sump pumps are situated in a sump pit, and the pump sucks in the groundwater around the house and directs it away from the structure through installed drainage pipes.
If you have an electric sump pump installed, make sure you have a generator as well. The pump won’t do a lot of good if you lose electricity during a bad storm. Alternatively, you can purchase a battery-powered sump pump to prevent flooding in more isolated events.
Identify and Repair Leakage Sites
Keeping your home properly maintained is the best way to keep water out during heavy rainfall. Check for signs of leakage all throughout your home including the basement, attic and all areas of your home. You can take advantage of technology as well by purchasing moisture sensors that alert you when moisture is detected in your home.
Also, repair cracks in your foundation or driveway and sidewalk as these can allow water to pool and collect even in low to moderate rainfall. It doesn’t take much water to cause a lot of damage.
Install Septic and Sewer Check Valves
The last thing you want during a heavy rainstorm is sewage backing up into your home. A flooded sewer system can easily back up into your home causing loads of damage to your home. You can avoid this disaster by installing check valves that prevent backflow in your sewer or septic lines. These valves should be installed at an easily accessible location for maintenance and periodic inspection. If you feel comfortable, you can install these valves yourself. Otherwise, it is best to hire a professional. Once installed, these valves should be properly inspected and maintained annually. Sewer line check valves are an easy way to prevent flooding and water damage in your home.
Check the Natural Flow of Water Around your Home
The grading of your home (slope of the ground) can direct water away from your home or directly to it. Obviously, it is best if the home was designed so that water flows naturally away from your home. You can observe the natural flow of water during any rainstorm. Watch how the water and make sure it isn’t collecting near the foundation of your home. Even if your home was built properly, the soil can erode over time and change the water flow so it is important that you keep tabs on water flow over the years. There are several things you can do to help prevent flooding and direct the water flow such as building up low areas and installing heavy vegetation to prevent soil erosion.
Keep gutters clean
The gutters on your home were installed to prevent water from getting into your home, but they don’t do any good if they are clogged. In fact, clogged gutters can make things a lot worse. Gutters collect all sorts of debris such as fallen leaves and dirt. They require periodic cleaning to help prevent flooding and keep the water flowing during a rainstorm.
Raise your Home
If your home has a history of flooding, you may consider raising the entire home. It sounds crazy, but your home can be physically raised using piers or columns so that the lowest floor is above the potential flood level. This is a drastic and fairly expensive solution, but it can be a permanent fix to completely prevent flooding. If you are investigating this option, be sure to do your research and raise the home well beyond flood levels.
Raise and Anchor Outdoor Equipment
Air conditioner units, generators and fuel tanks should be elevated above potential flood levels. Oftentimes, flooded equipment cannot be easily repaired and is expensive to replace. Make sure to anchor this equipment as well so that in the event of a flood, it doesn’t break loose and float away which can cause contamination events and more.
Invest in Flood Insurance
While having flood insurance doesn’t help prevent flooding in your home, it certainly makes it easier to deal with the aftermath of a flooded house. A lot of people mistakenly believe they are covered for flooding under their homeowner’s insurance policy, but they are not. You have to purchase a separate flood insurance policy to be covered for a flood. If your house is in a floodplain, your mortgage company may require that you carry a flood policy. But even if you aren’t, you should seriously consider purchasing one. According to Floodsmart.gov, flooding is the #1 natural disaster in the U.S.
Last minute measures as water rises
If water is rising and you realize that it will soon enter your home, there are several last-minute measures you can take to minimize the damage and loss.
- Raise furniture and expensive appliances using cement blocks if possible.
- Move all important documents and photos to a high location. Consider storing these items on a higher floor if possible.
- Turn off the electricity at the breaker before the water reaches the electrical outlets.
- Get as much personal property off of the floor as possible.
- Clear gutters and sidewalks directly in front of your home of all debris.
As a homeowner, flooding is a scary thought. Not only is the safety of your family at risk, but your entire home and contents can be destroyed in the blink of an eye. Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with, and there isn’t always something we can do to prevent flooding. However, there are several things we CAN do in advance to either prevent water from getting in the home or at least minimize the damage and loss in the event that it does enter the home. Use these tips and always be ready and prepared for natural disaster.
What are some tips you have had success with when it comes to preventing flooding and water damage in your home? Leave them in the comments!