According to the Red Cross, floods kill 110 people on average every year, and cost $3.7 billion annually, on average. When flood warnings hit your area, or if you live in an area that floods regularly, taking steps to prevent significant damage to your home can make a big difference in not only the quality of your home, but the weight of your wallet. Flood damage can be expensive, even with insurance, and powerful floods can completely demolish homes. By taking these simple steps, however, you can make sure you’ve done everything to prevent significant damage to your home from excessive water flow.
Turn Everything Off
Whether you’re planning on evacuating or not, turning off all electronics in the house can prevent unwanted sparks. Also turning off water and gas is a good idea. Cities usually recommend this when a flood warning is in place.
Move Your Valuables
Floods can destroy valuable photos, documents, and anything else that isn’t waterproof. Store important items in a waterproof box that you have easy access to, or store them above the projected flood level of your home. Focus especially on protecting insurance documents, as you’ll need these after the damage is done. If you’re evacuating, take these valuables with you just in case.
Secure Fuel Tanks
If a fuel tank tips over during a flood, a spill may occur, causing a fire. Spills can also make cleanup much more difficult after the fact. In rare cases, lingering petroleum vapors can render house uninhabitable. To prevent this from occurring, securely anchor fuel tanks to the floor, or consider emptying the tank and filling it with water to reduce buoyancy.
Invest in Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is important for those who live in frequently flooded areas- typically, homeowners insurance will not cover flood damage. Flood insurance can make recovering from a severely damaged home due to flooding a much easier and painless process.
Consider Moving Your Furnace/Water Heater
Moving the furnace and water heater to higher levels where flood waters will most likely not reach is a good idea before a flood. Be sure to shut off the electricity and gas before moving these appliances. It’s also smart to move all appliances (fridge, washer, dryer, etc) off the floor and higher up, either on cement blocks or physically moving them to different parts of the house like the attic. Shut off all appliances before moving. If you cannot move your appliances, covering them in polyethylene film will make cleanup easier.
Consider Installing a Water Alarm
If flood warnings are in your area but the threat isn’t imminent or calling for evacuation, consider installing a water alarm. These alarms will alert you whenever water enter your home, and you and your family can be alerted before excessive flooding occurs.
Get Rid Of Existing Debris
When a storm has already hit and flooding is becoming a very likely possibility, it’s a good idea to go outside and remove any existing debris around your home that could cause damage. Removing things from the roof, around the entryways, and the yard could make the difference between simply flood damage or holes in your home.
Be aware of breaking news during storms and look out for flood warnings. If you’re in an area that frequently experiences floods, have an emergency plan laid out and take the precautions listed above to make the experience as easy (and cheap!) as possible.
About the Author
Jon Bibb helps run Dry Experts, a professional water removal team serving Texas in the San Antonio, New Braunfels, and surrounding areas. Dry Experts prides themselves on being thorough and professional at all times, helping you restore your home or business back to its original quality.