Flood Proofing Your Home: How To Be Prepared When The Rainy Season Comes
One can never be fully prepared for a disaster situation, but there are things you can do to help minimize the damage and, possibly, prevent potential problems from entering your home. When it comes to dealing with weather-driven risks, your best bet is to be proactive and to apply preventive measures. While having disaster kits on the ready in case a flood or an earthquake strikes, this is an after-the-fall response. Being prepared for the unexpected is excellent, and should be the practice in every household. However, you can also help reduce its potential impact on your home by flood proofing it.
Homes are more vulnerable than ever now to flood damage because of rising sea levels, urbanization and climate change. There are several ways to flood proof your house, ranging from simple measures to the bigger, more expensive ones. Of course, you should always prepare for the worst. While not all neighborhoods are considered in the so-called “high risk” flood zones, all homes are potentially exposed to fllooding. But before you decide to invest in technology or renovate your entire premises to ensure that floods don’t get through, there are basic steps you can take to shield your home from severe damage.
- Evaluate Risk First
You can start with the easiest way to determine if your locality is at risk for flood: check the National Flood Insurance Program‘s website Floodsmart[dot]gov and see if your area is listed. The site contains plenty of information about assessing your neighborhood’s exposure. As a general rule, any house that is within what it calls a “100-year-floodplain” (or any area with a 1% expose to flooding) is already at classified as “at risk.”
That’s not the only thing you should check when you assess an area’s vulnerability. You can also ask locals and check previous news to find out if the propety has ever been flooded in before. Some real estate records in certain states are required to the declare this information. Better yet, ask the people who have live there for a very long time to know if there has been any flooding in the past decades.
You can also evaluate flood risk by giving the property a once-over yourself. Here are 4 things you can watch out for.
1. Is your house located in an area that goes uphill or downhill?
2. If it’s at the bottom of an elevation and there are not surrounding downhill slopes, you might be at risk. If this is so you may need to create manmade slopes to channel water away from your property.
3. After a rain, go around your property and note were large puddles are forming. When you find that many of them are near your home, the greater your exposure to flooding.
4. While doing your gardening tasks, take note of the direction that water is flowing while you’re hosing things down. Make sure the water is not going towards your house’s direction.
- Identifying Possible Flood Points & What You Can Do
When you have pointed out which areas of your home are likely to contribute to flooding, it’s time to take action. You can do these things yourself or get in touch with a professional cleaning agency or landscaper to help you.
1. Clean your house’s downspouts. Downspouts are connected gutter bottoms and they can help channel water away from your home’s foundation. Clear it of any debris that may cause water to pool and cause flooding. Make sure none of your spouts are blocked. When you don’t have this feature in your home, have it installed by a professional before the rainy season comes.
2. Check your perimeter and set up barriers. Sandbags are an effective way to stop flood water from getting into your property. You can also build concrete, dirt or steel barriers so halt an incoming rush of water. Do this even before the rainy season comes so you can prepared for anything. While, admittedly, barriers are not totally flood proof, they can help slow the onslaught of heavy flooding.
3. Change your landscaping. Go for more porous outdoor surfaces for your perimeter because they seep water into the ground better and will prevent it from streaming toward your house. You can dig swales to channel rainwater runoff away or convert asphalt or cement driveways to brick or gravel, instead. Absorbent mulch can also help manage water and reduce your risk for flood damage.
- Elevate Your Home
If simple proactive measures are not enough because you do live in a flood-prone zone, you can invest in elevating your home. It’s an expensive project and will require a lot of manpower, but over the long run you will be thankful that you did it. If you find yourself and the rest of your family collecting buckets of water to pour outside after every rain comes, elevating your house is a must. Consult with your contractor or engineer to find out the best and most cost-effective way to make this happen, but be prepared anyway to spend.
- Getting Flood Insurance
To further protect your home from the ill effects of flooding, you can opt to insurance your property. This is especially important if you live in a flood-prone zone or your house sits on a 100-year floodplain. You can set up an emergency fund in the event of disasters, but that can’t really be enough. If your house is situation outside a flood zone, that’s also not an excuse not to get insurance. In fact, around 25 percent of reported flood insurance claims are from homes that are in so-called “safe” areas. Overall, when it comes to your home’s security and your family’s safety, you can never really be too sure.
When disaster strikes, nobody can really predict the outcome nor can anybody by totally shielded by the onslaught. Such is the reality of a natural occurence and this is something we cannot control, no matter how advanced our technologies are. However, for minor rainy-season issues, there are plenty of ways to ensure that your house stays protected and your family is safe. So that the next time the heavy rains hit or a storm comes, you can have peace of mind that you are spared. If not totally protected, you know definitely that the damage will be something you can manage and afford.