How to protect your home from flooding

How to protect your home from flooding

The state of Texas is prone to flooding due to its geography and weather patterns. Flash floods are common and can hit with little to no prior warning, posing risks to your safety and home. Understanding the risk of flooding and implementing a combination of preventative measures, structural modifications and strategic planning can help to reduce flood damage.

How to protect your home from a flood

Depending on where you live in Texas, the risk of flooding is often unavoidable. Although you may not be able to stop water from entering your home during a flood, you can implement some preventative measures to help minimize the damage caused by flooding.

So, how can flood damage be reduced?

Install backflow valves in your sewer lines – A backflow valve is a device installed onto pipes that only allows water to flow in one direction. Installing backflow valves in your sewer lines will stop sewage water from flowing back into your home during a flood, preventing it from flooding your basement.

Ensure your home has proper drainage – Drainage systems like gutters and drains direct water away from your home’s foundations. Regularly check that your drainage systems are working effectively and are debris-free.

Install a sump pump – A sump pump is designed to remove water accumulations and is recommended for any home in flood-prone areas with a basement or crawl space. Install the sump pump at the lowest point of the property, such as the basement, and close to the room’s perimeter to allow the discharge pipe to move excess water outside easily.

Invest in a water alarm system – Flood damage isn’t just caused by quick successions of water, sometimes your home can flood slowly and discreetly. Install water alarms at areas of the home where flood water may seep in. The device will set off an alarm if it detects any presence of water, alerting you of a potential flood risk.

Elevate your electrical systems and appliances – Heating systems, circuit breakers and HVAC units can be damaged in floods and may become an electrical hazard. Where possible, elevate these systems and appliances to above potential flood levels. Anchor large appliances and fuel tanks to the ground or walls.

Invest in structural flood-proofing measures – For homes in areas that are at very high risk of large floods, sealing walls and installing waterproof membranes in the basement can prevent disastrous flood damage to the structure of your home. Elevating your entire home can reduce the risk of major flood damage in areas with repetitive flooding.

Be tactical with your landscaping – Grade your yard away from the foundations of your home to prevent water from pooling around the perimeter of the building. Certain native plants and trees can also help absorb excess water if planted within your lot.

Stockpile protective materials – Keep materials such as plastic sheeting, flood barriers, and sandbags stocked and stored in a known place in your home. These can create temporary barriers around doors, windows, and other vulnerable areas, protecting against rising waters.

Flood preparedness tips

No matter how many preventative measures you put into place, large floods require immediate action to keep yourself, your home, and your belongings safe.

Flood maps provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can highlight which areas of the state are most at risk of flooding. It’s important to understand the flood risk in your area. Still, since many floods can occur outside of high-risk areas, preparing for flood-related emergencies is recommended regardless of your risk.

Purchasing flood insurance can provide financial compensation if your home is damaged by flooding. Most homeowner insurance policies will not cover flood-related damage or loss, so investing in a suitable insurance policy can be worthwhile if flooding is a potential risk in your area.

Important documents, such as financial, medical, and legal documents or records, should always be stored securely. Store physical copies in a secure waterproof bag, and back up all documents as electronic copies. Extremely valuable or special items should be stored carefully around the home. It’s recommended that in the case of an evacuation, you should be able to pack all of your valuables in under 15 minutes.

Stay informed about upcoming weather forecasts, flood warnings, and evacuation orders issued by local authorities. Large floods can’t always be predicted too far in advance, but every minute of prior warning before disaster hits is valuable time for safeguarding yourself and your home.

Any household living in or around a flood-prone area should have an evacuation kit ready at all times in case of disaster. This should include non-perishable food and water, medical supplies, and tools like a flashlight, matches, and a whistle. Ensure this is kept in a known place that is easily accessible in an emergency.

Have an evacuation plan to quickly and safely leave the home where necessary. This should include important actions to complete within the home (if it’s safe), such as shutting off the circuit breaker to prevent electrocution. Have a location where your family can meet up if separated during the commotion and a plan of where you will head for safety. Get to know evacuation routes and learn about local shelters before an emergency. The Texas Department of Transportation can provide suitable evacuation routes, and the FEMA app can be used to locate emergency shelters near you. Let any friends or family outside of your home area know your emergency plans so they can have a rough idea of your whereabouts if a disastrous flood hits.

Remember that protecting yourself and those around you is the most important action in an emergency. Preparing your home for disaster ahead of time leaves you to focus on your safety if the situation occurs.

If your home has been damaged due to flooding, contact a professional flood restoration service.