Protect Your Property from Floods: Things to Do to Reduce Flood Damage
Protecting your property from floods goes beyond flood and homeowners insurance. A little preparation goes a long way. Some of these steps may require professional help from a licensed contractor, but you can get started with some of them today and make plans for the others.
Know your flood risk
Before purchasing or building your home, make sure you look at a local flood map. You’ll learn about your evacuation zone and projected flood elevation and help you determine how prepared you need to be.
Check your sump pump
The last thing you want in a flood is for a sump pump to stop working. Periodically testing the sump pump is a good idea as well as making sure the water is discharged into an area that slopes away from your house.
Move valuables to higher locations
This one seems like a given, but in the hustle to prepare for a storm you may forget this simple step. Moving, or better yet storing, irreplaceable photos, tax records, and other valuables on high shelves, second stories, or even in the attics. Making a copy would be a good idea too.
Prevent sewer backup
Along with making sure your sump pump is working, you don’t want a sewer backup after a flood. One step to take is to cap or plug all sewer openings in your basement.
Moving your washer and dryer out of the path of potential water is a great idea either by elevating or just moving them to a new location. Try elevating them on bricks or wood at least 12” or moving them to a higher floor. You could also wrap them in plastic to prevent the silt and dirt from getting in, even if the water does get in, making cleanup easier.
Additional Steps to Take
- Check floor drains for a float plug.
- Plug basement floor drains with removable grids.
- Cover basement floor drains with permanent grids.
- Reduce flooding from other drains.
- Move hazardous materials like paints and cleaning supplies to higher locations.
- Shut off electricity (at the circuit breaker) to areas of the home that might flood.
Things a Contractor Should Do
The things on this list would ideally be already done by your builder or general contractor, but if not, you should put these on a list for preparing for floods.
- Build with Flood Damage Resistant Materials
- Dry Flood Proof Your Building
- Add a Waterproof Veneer to Exterior Walls
- Raise Electrical System Components
- Raise or Flood Proof HVAC Equipment
- Install Sewer Backflow Valves
- Anchor Fuel Tanks
- Protect Wells from Contamination by Flooding
Make sure you do your research, both on the contractor, and the task they are performing for you.
As you can see, preparing for a flood takes a bit of time and patience (and some cash!). Prioritize the recommendations based on your flood risk and take it one step at a time.