There are additional dangers involved with flooding inside your home. It is important to assess these risks. To avoid possible loss, one should prepare and make the appropriate renovations to reduce the threat of a flood. These preparations include installing a flood control system as well as applying sealants to the home’s infrastructure where need be. The last step would be to consult a flood insurance agent. They will be able to inform you of the recommended emergency management steps.
Evaluate the Dangers of Flooding
First and foremost, it’s important to determine the risks involved if a flood were to take place. A homeowner should evaluate how likely a flood is to occur, as well as how much the home would suffer as a result. The FEMA Flood Map Service will show you the general flood risk of your region and even your specific home. To see the flood map for our area, just type in the address or longitude/latitude coordinates.
Zone markings indicate a flood risk for a particular region and its relevant structure. To examine this, look at the flood map. Relevant structures include bridges, dams and levees. Here are some zones that you may need to recognize when observing a flood map:
- Zones with No-Marking: Although flood insurance is not required for homes located in this area, it is still available for those who desire to obtain it. These areas are considered to have a low risk of flooding.
- Blue zones: If you live in a blue zone area, you are facing a 1% annual chance of a flooding. Despite the fact that this may seem like a minimal risk, blue zones have been recognized to face significant flooding at least once every 100 years. This is considered to be a high-risk designation by FEMA. Therefore, one should definitely flood proof their home.
- Orange Zone: These areas face a lower risk with a .2% annual chance of possible flooding. This means that orange zones are likely to encounter a flooding once every 500 years. However, to protect the integrity of your structure, it is still important to ensure your home is free of leaks and excessive surface run off. Taking such actions will reduce the chances of water damage especially after heavy rainstorms.
- Yellow Zones: If you considering buying a home in an area labeled as a yellow zone, precautionary measures should absolutely be taken. These are areas of undetermined flood risk. Doing one’s research on the flood history in these areas is essential. Additionally, it would be beneficial to ask a neighbor regarding their experience with excess standing water within that region. Your appraiser or flood insurance agent would also be knowledgeable on this topic and can inform you of the property’s ability to withstand a flood in the general area.
- Blue with Red Stripes: If you live or plan to live in an area labeled as a ‘Blue with Red Stripes’ zone, then it is imperative to take extensive precautions to protect the home from flooding. Due to the fact that these zones have rivers and other surrounding flood plain, these areas are recognized as regulatory floodways. Most of the time these areas are kept clear in order to allow water to drain from flood zones, but occasionally houses are built in these districts.
Some flood maps are severely outdated and therefore it is important to note the year in which the map was renewed. An out-of-date map could provide incorrect information for a specific area.
Next, work with a surveyor or your insurance agent to determine the specific flood level of your house. Just because your property (land), or a portion of it, is in a flood zone doesn’t mean that your house and other buildings are at risk of flood. During harsh weather, flood waters may rise. The extent to which these waters rise is known as the flood level. In order to be protected from flood damage to an extent, your home should be built above this flood level. A house located at the bottom of a valley is exposed to greater risk of a flood than a house situated at the top of a hill. This position relative to the flood level is referred to as elevation.
Next time you experience heavy rainfall or inclement weather, note the amount of surface run off your property has. Evaluate whether the water is flowing towards your home or away from it, and if the water tends to pool around any exterior walls or doors.
Lastly, the National Flood Insurance Program can provide you with flood insurance, or you can initiate an additional policy with your homeowner’s insurance. It’s important to know you’re your standard homeowner’s insurance policy alone does not provide coverage for flooding.
Protect your House from Flooding
After assessing the overall risk of flooding, it is time to flood proof your home. The risks you have identified and how well your home is equipped for a flood will determine the steps you should take to protect yourself and your property. These steps can vary from free, basic maintenance to expensive renovations.
Flood-proofing Renovations to Protect Your Home
If you are at high risk for flooding in your area and your home was not properly constructed to withstand one, there are steps you can take to minimize potential flood damage. Here are a few tips that will help protect your home:
- Raise your home on stilts or piers. Despite the fact that this tip can be costly, it can prevent significant water damage resulting from a flood. Raising a home above the flood level with stilts or piers could be very beneficial even with just 1 inch of flood water.
- Install foundation vents or a sump pump. Rather than having water build up around the home, foundation vents allow water to flow through the house. This can relieve the pressure on exterior walls from built up water. Flooding commonly occurs within crawl spaces, and sump pumps are devices that can mitigate this issue. They are used to pump the water out of these spaces, and can be purchased with a battery in the event of a power outage.
- Apply coating and sealants. Mentioned earlier as an important precautionary step, sealants can be very useful. To prevent flood water from leaking in your home through cracks and crevasses, this idea of ‘dry flood-proofing’ can be quite effective. You apply this coating to the foundation itself, walls, windows, doorways – wherever water may make its way in.
- Raise your electrical outlets and switches. In order to prevent significant electrical damage, all outlets, switches, sockets and circuit breakers should be at least one foot above flood level.
- Install check valves on your pipes. To prevent a flooded sewage system from backing up into your home, ensure that all pipes have valves installed. Because they provide a greater sealant against flood pressure, gate valves are generally favored over flap valves.
- Grade the lawn away from the house. The direction in which water flows on your lawn is important in the case of a flood. If the lawn slants inward, water will potentially pool against the home. With that being said, you can adjust the level of your yard. It is best to use heavy soil that contains clay and sand.
- Make space between your mulch and siding. In order to keep your house safe from leaks, manage the space between the mulch and any wood trim or siding. Mulch can rot the siding of a home if it is wet. To make certain that mulch isn’t causing damage, leave some room for the base of the home to dry after heavy rain.
- Point your downspouts away from your home. The direction of the gutter run off is vital in protecting your home from a flood. A gutter can create water buildup and pool at the corners of your house. In turn, this can form leaks and cause water damage in the home.
- Raising the appliances in your home could also be very beneficial in the event of a flood. Lifting your home’s internal and external appliances can be managed inexpensively with the use of concrete blocks. Below are a few items that we recommend you raise above flood level:
- Air conditioning units
- Washing machines
We hope you never need us, but OneRestore is the local expert in flood water situations. We handle everything from water extraction, dehumidification and dry out, reconstruction and mold treatment. Contact Us for a free estimate.