Flooding can occur anywhere–often with little or no warning–and the effects can range from inconvenient to devastating. Understanding what you can do yourself to prevent water damage and controlling a flood at home is very important in preparation for both severe weather and malfunctions or accidents around the home.
The best flood preparation involves taking measures to prevent damages well before floods present a risk. In general, this comes down to adhering to some best practices around the house to prepare to mitigate water damage. Here are a few good tips for preparing your home for flood control.
Repair Cracks and Leaks-
These are major vulnerabilities in the home that will exacerbate with water. Cracks in the roof and foundation are the most concerning since these are the main entry points for water. Inspect these areas closely while its dry and fix any deficiencies as soon as possible. Use caulk, mortar, or hydraulic cement to repair foundation cracks. If you notice a persistent leak, you will need to find the source, repair the leak, and then seal the area well to prevent further damage.
Inspect and Fix the Roof-
The roof is everything. If there is structural damage or damage to shingles, repair as soon as possible. Sustained water damage can quickly weaken a roof and lead to more severe problems later. Look for noticeably worn or damaged shingles and have them replaced. Also, consider adding an underlayer of rubber below the shingles as a waterproof barrier to further protect the roof.
Clean Drains and Gutters-
Water can easily back up in drains, gutters, and downspouts due to leaves and other debris. Make sure the gutters and downspouts running off your roof are clear of debris. Also check all drains for easily flow and consider adding sewer line check valves to prevent sewer backup in the event of a flood. These function to allow waste to flow only one way and can be good to have to keep waste water from entering your home.
Relocate Valuables and Elevate Appliances-
During a flood or in the event of any other type of water damage, you will want to protect valuables and prevent damage to appliances. This step is especially important in basements where water arrives first. Relocate electronics and furniture and shut off appliances that may be affected. If possible, elevate appliances on blocks above the water level. In the instance of a severe flood, this may not be possible, but in general raising them 12 inches or so should keep them out of the water. Shut off power at the main breaker.
While water damage is difficult to prevent entirely, taking measures to keep your home in good condition, ensuring proper drainage around the house, and having a procedure for protecting items from damage can help reduce the damaging potential of water.