Water can be a blessing or a curse when it comes to your home. You want access to clean water, but never ever want too much of a good thing. When it comes to protecting your house from water and flooding damage, you can make smart choices from the beginning, and as your home ages.
Prepare for When Water Becomes the Enemy
You don’t have to live directly beside a source of water for flash flooding to become a real problem. Storm runoff, such as from spring or summer deluges, winter ice melt or hurricanes, can bring sudden water rushing into your home. Especially with the global effects of climate change spurring stronger storms and raising water levels around the world, flooding can affect more than just those who live beside lakes and rivers.
Be prepared for flooding with some simple tips:
- Prevent rising water from reaching your home by building or raising your foundation up, either on stilts or a larger concrete slab.
- Protect major appliances like HVAC systems, water heaters and washer/dryers by installing them on higher levels of the home, even in the attic if necessary when you live in flood-prone areas. Also consider moving power and wiring to a higher level to avoid damage or the risk of electrocution during a flood event.
- If flooding is a regular possibility, keep an emergency kit that works better than sandbags. Try barriers, special plastic flood wraps/shields or a sump pump or utility pump in good working order to remove or prevent water from entering your home.
Use Modern Home Designs and Go Beyond Stilts
If you don’t want a raised home, or can’t manage to make that shift on an existing home, you can use new techniques to slow runoff from storms. Water that ends up in a city’s sewer systems after a thunderstorm often overcomes the municipality’s simple systems. If you can slow the flow of water into the drains, everyone will benefit after a big storm or melt.
“It is all about slowing down the flow of water,” notes Hannah Cloke, a flood defense expert at the University of Reading in England, as quoted in The Guardian. “Even if it is just your house, there will still be a direct benefit to you in reducing the risk from surface water flooding.”
- Try a green roof that can absorb rainwater and snow melt slowly, while providing heat-absorbing greenery in the summer — keeping your home cooler.
- Install porous paving stones on your driveway and walkways.
- Use new technology, such as engineered barriers that can divert flash flood waters around your home or business, like waterproof doors that seal upon closure or removable flood barriers.
Above all, make sure your home carries appropriate flood insurance to protect both the structure and your belongings. You can check FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center to see if flooding is a known issue in your area. If you need to talk to a professional at PayneWest, we’re available to answer your questions on flood insurance and protecting your home or business.