Steps to Protect Your Home Against Floods

house with sand bags near door

Each year, homes and businesses across the United States are damaged or destroyed by floodwaters. One-third of flood damage occurs outside of designated floodplains, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Knowing your flood risk is the first step toward becoming better prepared. While elevating properties is the most effective solution to protect against flooding, there are other steps you take to help you prepare, respond and recover from a flood.

Prepare in Advance

A good preparedness strategy starts long before a storm is forecast. There are a few long-term things you can do to protect your home against floods. To protect your family, make sure your evacuation kit and route are prepared. You can also double-check this list of things suggested to protect your property.

Some suggested ideas to put on your long-term improvement lists include:

  • Hiring an electrician to raise electric components at least 12 inches above the expected flood levels.
  • Have a plumber install an interior or exterior back flow valve.
  • Adjust your yard so it directs excess water away from the home.
  • Have your furnace, water heater and other permanent equipment permanently elevated above flood levels.

There are a few things you can do when it seems like a storm is on its way. Start by making sure drains, gutters and downspouts remain free of debris and securing any furniture or lose items around the yard. Then, when a storm and flooding become more imminent, move furniture and electronics off the floor, starting with the lowest level and moving up. Roll up rugs and loose carpeting and store them as high as possible. This would also be the time that you turn off electrical service to the areas that are likely to flood.

Safely and Swiftly Recover

Nothing should be done to recover or repair from flood damage until all of the water has receded and the risk of flooding is gone. Then, as soon as it is safe to do so, disconnect everything electric that was affected and move it to a dry location. Remove as much standing water as possible from inside your home, using any and all techniques that you can do to get the water out.

Keep in mind that standing or sitting water can increase your risk of mold, so the faster you can get things dry, the lower your risk. Ventilate with fans and dehumidify. Anything that is water-damaged should be removed from the house as soon as possible, even if only temporarily.

When it comes to flood damage, acting quickly gives you the best chance of salvaging anything damaged by water and avoiding rust, rot, and mold. While these are inconvenient when it comes to property, flood damage can impact your foundation and the external structure of your home.