More than 4 million homes in the United States are at risk of severe flood damage. With the cost of flood damage to homes expected to rise by almost 50 percent in the next 30 years, prevention is what every homeowner should focus on.
So, how can you best prevent flood and water damage?
Let us look at ways to mitigate risks and protect your home from the next potential disaster.
1. Know Your Water Damage and Flooding Risks
Before you can prepare your home for potential damage, you have to know what the damage could be. FEMA has created an invaluable map of the entire country where you can enter your address and get a flood zone designation.
The tool makes it clear that if you live in a zone marked with an A or a V, you have a high risk of flooding, while zones B and X have a lower risk, and zones C and unshaded X have an even lower risk.
Once you know your flood zone and its risks, you can have a better idea of how much you need to prepare for the next rainy season.
2. Keep Your Property In Shape
To prevent flood and water damage of any kind, you want to keep up with your home's maintenance. If you have noticed your roof has a leak, that will only get worse if you do not fix it. Some tasks you want to tackle are:
- - Clearing your gutters to prevent buildup of leaves and other debris and checking they are attached correctly to your roof
- - Repairing your roof
- - Checking rain spouts to ensure they will lead water away from your home to avoid foundation issues
- - Fix walkways and driveways around your home to make certain water will not pool there
When dealing with a flood hazard, you want to take every preventative measure you can. Investing in repairing your roof and fixing any other issues in your home will help you save money in the long run.
3. Get Flood Insurance
If your home is in a flood zone, whether with a high or low risk, you need to get flood insurance. Many times, homeowners assume their homeowners' insurance will cover water damage, but the coverage can be very limited.
The basic policy covers mainly water damage that originated inside the home, like a leaky appliance. It does not cover water damage that originates outside the home, such as a weather-related flood.
You need to get insurance that covers these risks. In many zones that are at a high risk of flooding, flood insurance is something you must get if you want to purchase a home.
Do keep in mind that preventing flood damage by keeping your home in good shape is something flood insurance companies like to see. Many of them reward homeowners with lower rates.
4. Valve Updates
Some of the most expensive water damage and the highest number of flood insurance claims happen even when the water levels do not flood the house. If a substantial amount of water backs up your sewer, it will flow into your home.
You want to have a plumber install a gate valve into every sewer pipe connected to your home. These valves will ensure the water flows outward and not into your home.
5. Strategic Landscaping
Using strategic landscaping can help mitigate flooding risks. With just a few tricks you can help the land around your home absorb some of the water so it does not get to your foundations. Use mulch in your garden beds and around your home. Mulch absorbs water and helps keep soil from moving, which is ideal in lots of rain. To ensure no rot sets in, leave a space between the mulch and your home. You can also avoid over-mowing your lawn when the rainy season begins. Grass' roots absorb water, as well, and when you cut the lawn too short the roots weaken.
You want the opposite to be able to face a flood. Your driveway cannot absorb water, so you want to be able to give the rainwater somewhere to go that is not towards your home. Adding a trench drain can fix this problem.
6. Move Sensitive Items Above the Flood Level
If you know your flood zone, you can easily find your area's base flood elevation or BFE. This number will tell you as accurately as possible how high water will rise if there is a serious storm.
Once you know the BFE, you want to move any sensitive items above that base level. Electronics and appliances and even your generator should go above the BFE. Remember that you want to have your wiring and electrical sockets at least one foot above the flooding level.
7. Have a Plan
If the worst happens and there is a flood, you need to know exactly what you have to do to protect your loved ones and your property.
If you see there is no preventing the flood, you need to turn off your home's electricity and use sandbags to stop the water as much as you can. To avoid furniture and appliances from moving around and causing more damage, tie them so they cannot shift about.
You want to move electronics and valuables to another story or place them on the highest counters or shelves in your home.
Although a flood will always cause some damage, having a plan can help you reduce the severity of that damage.
With flood insurance, you will give yourself the peace of mind of knowing any water damage to your home will be covered. Why wait? Contact us and get your free flood insurance quote today!