Flooding is a risk for anyone who lives in an area that rains. Even if you live in a low flood-risk area, you can still be susceptible to flooding. This is true for those who live near the coast, in mountains, on flatlands, and pretty much anywhere. In fact, according to FEMA, twenty-five percent of all flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate flood-risk areas.
Your risk of flooding isn’t just based on your community’s flood history. There’s a variety of factors that determine flood-risk, such as:
- Tidal-surge data
- Changes from new construction in your area
Obviously, the easiest way to protect your home from flooding is to stay above water, but even homes at the top of the highest hill can be at risk. You can check your home’s flood-risk here.
Even homes in a low-risk area can be at risk of flash flooding. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to help protect your home against damage due to flooding.
Protect Your Home’s Electrical Systems
All switches, circuit breakers, sockets, and wiring should be at least a foot above your area’s expected flood level. Also, your furnace, water heater, and other anchored indoor equipment should be elevated to at least a foot above your area’s expected flood level.
Modify Water Valves
If your sewer system becomes flooded, sewage can be backed up into your home. The last thing anyone wants in their home is sewage, but fortunately, this can be avoided. To prevent sewage from entering your home, install a backflow valve. Gate valves are recommended by FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. These complex valves are hand-operated and provide stronger seals than flap or check valves. These valves should be installed on all pipes entering your home.
Raise/Anchor All Outdoor Equipment
Outdoor equipment, such as air conditioners, fuel tanks, and generators should all be anchored and raised above flood level. Fuel tanks that are unanchored are at risk of breaking free, causing the supply lines to contaminate the ground. Electrical power units, such as generators, will become useless in the event of flooding.
Figure Out How Water Flows Around Your Home
The angle, or slope, of the ground surrounding your home can either push water towards your home or away. You can do this by paying attention to how water accumulates during a rainstorm. If you notice water collecting near your home during an average rainstorm, you know that your home will be prone to flooding. You can talk to your county’s planning department, who should be able to make suggestions on what to do.
Actions You Can Take When Water Is Rising
Sometimes, it’s too late to take other precautions and you need to protect your home immediately. If it’s raining and water is rising around your home, you can do the following to prevent damages:
- If you believe that your major appliances are at risk of being damaged by flooding, elevate them with concrete blocks. It’s a good idea to keep concrete blocks in your home as a precautionary measure.
- Shut off your electricity with the breaker.
- Clear out all downspouts, gutters, and drains.
- Move electronics, rugs, furniture, and other important belonging to an upper level. If your home does not have an upper level, just move whatever you can above ground.
It is important to know what to do to protect your home against floods, even if you don’t live in a high flood-risk area. Floods can strike anywhere at any time and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. For more information on determining flood risk and preparing for a potential flood, contact us today.