Floodwater damage to homes can be catastrophic, ruining belongings, exposing health risks and making it hard for insurance companies to cover costs.
Living near bodies of water carries with it some risk, but there are steps you can take to mitigate flood damage and lower your chance of flood damage.
Many times, the source of your flooding problems lies within a crack in the foundation that allows water to seep into basements or crawl spaces. Sealing such cracks will prevent moisture and mildew damage and maintain structural integrity within your home.
If your home is regularly flooding, investing in a sump pump or wet vac may be useful in quickly draining away excess water from it. As more time passes without adequate drainage of excess moisture from its place of origin, damage and restoration costs become exponentially greater.
At times, your house can flood due to improper drainage in your yard. When water leaks into your basement or crawl space from time-to-time, it’s wise to examine your yard for drainage issues and make any necessary modifications so that water flows away from rather than towards your house.
At first, clear away any vegetation obstructing water flow. After that, install gutters and downspouts or grade your yard away from the house to a 2 percent slope surrounded by concrete foundation walls, using French drains or plastic injection ports in surface prep paste for crack sealing. To seal cracks further along their length run a thick bead of this mixture along its length until all cracks have been sealed off completely.
Keep Appliances Off the Floor
Maintaining appliances off of the floor is one effective way to protect them from being damaged by flooding. You can achieve this by creating a flood-resistant platform using pressure-treated lumber as the frame, or switching out freestanding washer and dryer for front load machines mounted onto platforms – something which also makes accessing electrical outlets and switches that may have been damaged easier.
As soon as a home flood occurs, the first priority should be ensuring all members of your household (human and animal alike) have reached dry ground safely. Call your insurance company as soon as you know everything is secure before reporting damage to the house; while an adjuster may come out later to assess damage to inspect, making these calls as soon as you know everything is secure is essential to survival.
Once everyone is safe and you have made all necessary phone calls, you can begin the cleanup process. Wait for first responders to signal it’s safe before entering your house again, never touch electrical components in a flooded home without first consulting an electrician, and never drink or cook with any contaminated water until notified by local utilities that it’s safe as sewage and chemicals from flooded homes can create dangerous bacteria and mold growth that needs to be dealt with before drinking/using for cooking/drinking or other purposes.
Plant Trees Too Close
Planting trees in your yard can add tremendous visual appeal, yet it is vitally important that you research how far away their growth may come before making this investment. When planted too close to a home or structure, trees can cause structural damage, pest infestation and block sunlight if left to their own devices.
If you plant trees too close to your home, their roots could drain vital moisture meant for foundation support, leading to settlement or cracking and drain clogging resulting in expensive repair bills. It is recommended to plant at least fifteen feet away and to perform research into mature size of each species of tree in addition to calling call-before-you-dig to identify all underground utilities in the area before planting any tree.
Trees planted too close to your home also pose another potential hazard: leaves, twigs, and branches can accumulate during storms, falling onto roofs and into gutters that become clogged up, eventually blocking rainwater drainage away from homes and leading to roof and siding damage. They may also attract pests such as possums or bees which will nest inside, making rainwater collection ineffective, blocking sunlight out, and making rooms dark.
Elevate Your Appliances
In areas prone to flooding, it is vitally important to elevate major appliances like water heaters, furnaces and washing machines at least one foot above expected flood levels in order to minimize costly damages during a flood event. Masonry blocks, plywood or concrete blocks may all work effectively for elevating these items while specially-made stands may also be purchased to protect appliances.
Regular inspection of all appliances that could lead to flooding is recommended, with particular attention paid in areas prone to flooding due to geography and climate. Residents in such regions should closely follow weather forecasts and take appropriate steps to protect their home against possible flood damage.
If your house is flooded, the first priority should always be ensuring the wellbeing of all family members, including pets and livestock. Once everyone is safe from harm, focus can then turn towards cleaning up and rebuilding efforts.
Before entering a flooded area, take care to switch off your electricity at the fuse box if possible – this can protect valuables, reduce electrical fire risk and shorten any service disruptions. It is also vitally important that damage documentation takes place quickly so your insurance claim will go through more smoothly.