Flooding is a natural disaster that can strike your home at any time particularly if you live in a flood-prone area. According to statistics available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are the most frequent and often expensive natural disaster in the US, and all states or territories can experience flooding at one time or the other.
The time and cost of recovering from a flood are expensive. Sometimes it might mean completely rebuilding your home or purchasing new furniture and other expensive equipment. However, before this happens, there are several measures you can adopt to protect your home against flooding.
Choose Where to Live with Floods in Mind
Choosing where to live is almost a natural step to consider when you intend to purchase a new home. You can get an expert opinion from a home insurance agent, the local building department or from FEMA'S website. You can also go online and check for the information from the flood maps. It is essential to know how high flood waters may rise where your home is located.
Buy Flood Insurance
If you live on a street that gets inundated by water anytime it rains, or if your home is in a low lying coastal area, you must remember to buy flood insurance through FEMA. The insurance will provide protection against the losses caused by water damage to the structure and the content of your home. Protecting your home with insurance plans that cover flood damage should be a top priority if your home is situated in a flood zone.
Elevate Your Home
The best way to ensure that you stay above water is to elevate your home. Significant damages can be caused to your property once water reaches the level of your floor and rises even an inch above it. The chief engineer and senior vice president at the IBHS or the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety say that there is no other margin of safety apart from elevation because water can be nasty. To make any modifications, you should first check about permit requirements from your local building department, and use only insured and licensed contractor for all work.
Remodel Your Home
When you are remodeling and upgrading your home ensure that all circuit breakers, sockets, switches and electrical wiring are raised above the anticipated flood levels. Other modifications should be done on the water heater, the furnace and all anchored equipment indoors. Other important rebuilding steps include:
- Raising your home on columns or piers to make the lowest floor higher than the flood level. Although this is expensive, in the long run, it will save you a lot of costs.
- Apply sealing materials and coating to your walls as dry proofing to keep out the water.
- You can also install vents in the foundations to permit water flow through the building by wet-proofing. All walls should have vents.
- Install movable kitchen units that are free-standing
- All water inlet pipes and drains should have non-return valves that allow water to flow only one way
- lay ceramic tiles on the lower floor.
Control Water Flow Direction around Your Home
Depending on where your home is situated, the gradient of the slope, the grading, and the ground's angle can either direct water away or to your house. The following steps can help.
- You should do some landscaping to ensure water will drain away from the house. Find out how water flows around your home or where floods accumulate after a rainstorm to enable you to make the right decision.
- However, if you live on a street where water stands after moderate rain inform your local environmental planning and service department since it is their responsibility to check on water flow.
- Another important measure you should take is to construct barriers such as flood walls and levees around your home to prevent flood waters from entering.
- The last option is to demolish your home and reconstruct it according to the standards of flood safety. Alternatively, you can relocate the house to higher ground.
Measures to Take in a Flood
Here are some of the practical things you can do if you find yourself in a flash flood or if your home frequently floods and moving somewhere else is not an option you have.
- Take proactive measures by removing rugs, furniture, electronic equipment and other personal belongings to the upper floor or a higher ground.
- Turn off electricity at the circuit breaker panel
- Clear all the downspouts, gutters and drains
- All outdoor equipment such as generators, air-conditioning units, and fuel tanks should be raised and anchored above the flood level.
- Equip your home with a battery powered Sump or suction pump. This is a good defense against excessive flooding because you can use it to pump water out of your home.
Apart from anchoring your fuel tanks, you can also wrap them in a waterproof material to reduce any ensuing damages. But FEMA recommends that all water pumps, tanks, and furnaces should be elevated above the flood levels when they are being installed.
Do not wait until floods come knocking at your door. Take any preventative measure before the worst happens. If possible, you can encourage the formation of a local community task force to determine the best way of protecting a group of homes using free-standing barriers field with sand or other materials.