How to Prepare for a Flood in Your Home
It's important to be proactive in creating prevention plans as well as formulating appropriate responses if preventable actions fail and your house does become flooded.
PREPARE FOR SEASONAL FLOODING
Flooding can happen in any season, but you can take precautions to prevent water damage at different times of the year. These seasonal weather patterns will be important to keep in mind when preparing for flooding.
During spring thaw, melting snow can overflow lakes and riverbanks. Add spring rains to that abundance of water, and your home may be in danger of flooding. Severe flooding in the Midwest during spring has occurred many times over the years.
Thunderstorms in summer can bring heavy rains, sometimes over a period of several days, resulting in flooding in low lying areas. Some areas even experience flash floods during summer storms.
Hurricane season runs from June through November and during these months, locations along the East and Gulf coasts are vulnerable to storm surge and torrential rains. Even inland locations can be affected by rising floodwaters and ensuring your home is properly protected is vital to prevent damage.
While big winter storms get headlines for bringing snow days to the north, they can also cause major rainfall in the warmer southern states. These big wintry snow dumps can lead to a buildup of snow that eventually leads to a big spring thaw.
HOW TO STOP FLOODING IN YOUR HOME
If you live in a high-risk area, it may be inevitable that your home will flood. Luckily, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage to structural elements and possessions in your home.
6 WAYS TO MINIMIZE FLOOD DAMAGE
1. Check your roof - Be sure that gutters and drains are clear of debris so rainwater can flow away from your home instead of seeping in through your roof or pooling at the base of your home.
2. Check the foundation - Find cracks and close them with expandable products such as hydraulic cement so water doesn't seep into your basement.
3. Move expensive items higher - When furnaces and water pumps are installed, make sure they are at least 12 inches above the known flood level for your area. Move valuable items to higher levels to avoid potential flood damage in low-lying areas.
4. Keep wastewater from backing up - Install sewer or septic line check valves, which will prevent your sewage from ending up in the standing water in your home.
5. Mitigate water damage - Once power sources like furnaces and water heaters are turned off and cool, you can wrap them up in waterproof tarps. Also make sure fuel tanks are anchored so they don't float or rupture.
6. Document your property - Take photos and videos of all the damage your property sustained. If you have flood insurance, it'll be necessary to show proof of what has been affected.
IMPORTANT STEPS TO TAKE TO HELP ENSURE YOUR SAFETY
- DO NOT step into standing water in your basement. You risk electrocution. Turn off the power.
- Scrub floors and surfaces with a bleach solution of one cup of bleach to one gallon of water.
- Dry your home using dehumidifiers and fans.
- Stop the flow of water. If a burst pipe has caused the flood, find the source and make plans for repairs before you turn the water back on.
- Remove water. A sump pump or utility pump will effectively propel water out of your basement. Most homes have a sump pump in a pit or basin in the basement or crawl space. If, for some reason, your sump pump is broken, then a battery-powered backup will be more useful than bucketing water
MINIMIZE DAMAGE BY ACTING QUICKLY WITH IMMEDIATE WATER REMOVAL
- Act within 48 hours to minimize the damage to structural elements and possessions in your home, which can help to prevent mold, and secondary water damage.
- According to waterdamagedefense.com, 1-4" of water can cost $7,800 in repairs.* Removing all water and drying the area is most important to prevent damage.
- A large amount of flood damage calls for a professional. Ask your homeowner insurance company for a recommendation.
(Content courtesy of Pentair Everpure)