April showers may bring May flowers, but they can also bring tremendous, unexpected rainfall. You can be proactive about flood-proofing your home by considering these three major steps to addressing flood control.
Know Your Risk
Is your house on a flood plain? If not, you still may be at risk for flooding. The FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) Flood Map Service tells you by location your risk of a flood occurring in your area. Go to https://msc.fema.gov/portal/ homepage, enter your address and view a color-coded map identifying your flood risk.
Contact your insurance agent to learn the estimated maximum height of floodwaters around your house (estimated flood level) during inclement weather. Review your insurance policy. Standard policies usually do not include flood protection. Consider adding a flood insurance policy through your carrier or the National Flood Insurance Program.
Address interior flood-proofing methods, such as:
- Installing sump pumps with a battery backup system to keep water from flooding your basement and to ensure continued service during power outages (Contact a professional service provider for the proper system for your home.)
- Applying waterproof sealants to foundation walls, windows, and doorways
- Locating electrical switches and outlets above the estimated flood level
- Elevating critical interior appliances – furnace, water heater, washing machines, and dryers – above the estimated flood level
Address the exterior of your home by:
- Checking backflow valves on pipes to stop flooded sewage from entering your house. (A professional services provider can recommend the proper valves)
- Grading your lawn away from your house toward street gutters or other appropriate areas
- Keeping gutters and drains clean; running downspouts away from the house to avoid the pooling of water around your foundation
- Elevating outdoor appliances – fuel tanks, air conditioning units, and generators – above the estimated flood level
Limit Flood Damage
If the Weather Service warns of a flood, you can take measures to limit flood damage:
- Shut off your water line, if necessary
- Elevate furniture, electronics, and valuables above estimated flood level
- Turn off electricity at your breaker panel if waters threaten the electrical system
- Ensure your sump pump is running; remove any accumulated water with a shop vacuum as it builds
You never want your house described as “underwater,” to begin to think about flood control and proactively prevent flood damage.