Generally, water is viewed positively. It is vital to our health, we use it to bathe ourselves, we brush our teeth with it, swim in it, water our lawns and gardens with it, surf on it, boat on it, float in it, etc. But there are plenty of instances in which water can be harmful, including flooding. In fact, flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States and has cost billions of dollars in damages. In most cases, if homeowners wish to have insurance coverage from flooding damage, then they will have to take out a separate policy in addition to their homeowner’s insurance. However, there are steps and precautions that you can take to help protect your home from damage in the event of flooding.
It may be easy for most homeowners to think that flooding is something that only happens in certain parts of the country that are prone to hurricanes or heavy rainfall. Truth is that there are plenty of instances in which flood damage has occurred in areas with relatively low flood risks. Check with your local insurance agent to see if there are flood insurance policies available to you. Also familiarize yourself with your home’s flood level (which can be found on the FEMA website according to your area).
It’s always a good idea to be ready should the situation call for you to leave your home. Have a bag ready to go in the event of an emergency with a change of clothes, important policy numbers, insurance agent’s number, toiletries, and money to get you by for a few days. While your home is of high value, your safety along with the safety of your family and loved ones comes first. That being said, let’s take a look at some things you can do to protect your home against possible flood damage:
● Fix any leaks immediately. The smallest consistent dripping can actually cause substantial damage and lead to bigger problems. It may be just as simple as tightening a nut, but do not leave leaks alone.
● Seal the outside of your home. Sealing your home’s exterior walls to protect it from flooding is a great start to keeping water out where it isn’t wanted.
● Extra roofing. Next time you need to replace your roofing, consider adding extra protection that will keep any water from penetrating your roof.
● Protect your windows by making sure that the seals around your window frames are intact without any cracks or open seams.
● Do not leave cracks in your foundation. Be sure to fill any such cracks with mortar and masonry caulk or hydraulic cement.
● Clear gutters and drains. Grass, leaves, and other debris can easily and quickly block proper water drainage. Make sure your gutters are clear as well as any storm drains on your street. It may not only save your house, but your neighbors’ homes as well.
● Keep valuables and more expensive items in safer areas. Storing photographs, keepsakes, and other valuables well above your home’s flood level may be very rewarding. If such items are kept on upper levels of your home, chances are they will remain safe except in the most extreme flooding circumstances.
● Raise appliances and anchor units. Fuel tanks, air conditioning units, and generators should be anchored, but also raised above your home’s flood level.
In the event of flooding, there are also some last minute precautions you can take. Move furniture and other items to upper levels of the house, or at the very least, raise them above the water level. Turn off all electricity in your house by shutting off the breaker; however, never do so while standing in water. Be sure to once again check any drains and gutters for blockage. It’s important to stay on top of maintaining your house; fix leaks, check seals, repair cracks, and so on. Doing so will protect your home from flooding among other incidents, but it will also educate you on where you need to make improvements to your home.