5 Tips for Minimizing Flood Damage in Your Home
Unless you enjoy reading the Old Testament, you probably don’t often think about flooding. But in 2013 floods aren’t just a lesson from scripture. Extreme weather patterns have been fluctuating in recent years, and flooding has become a reality even in parts of the country where it was never a problem previously. Millions of people who suffer through a flood don’t have the proper insurance to protect them, and for that reason and countless others you’re going to have to focus on anything you can do to minimize the damage those flood waters cause. You can’t spend time worrying about what you could or should have done in preparation, but must only focus on the solution. So here are five tips to help you minimize the flood damage in your home.
At the very first sign of a flooding issue, rush around your home and move everything valuable to a higher elevation. This might sound obvious, but the obvious measures can often be forgotten in the panic of the moment. Look around and identify everything that is either expensive or absolutely irreplaceable, such as photo albums or family heirlooms. Collect everything as quickly as you can and move them to higher ground. In most houses that probably means bringing them upstairs. But you can still make the effort if you live in a one-story house. Look for cabinets that will help you get this stuff far away from the floor as well.
Along those same lines, look to pull any electrical equipment off the floor as well. Televisions, computers, stereos and other home electronics will be destroyed forever with only the slightest bit of water intrusion. Grab a friend or a family member to help you get that stuff up off the floor. There’s an added bit of urgency to this task, as electricity and water absolutely do not mix. So if you’ve got anything plugged into the walls make sure you get it free from live electricity and out of harm’s way.
The key during a flood will be getting that water out of your house as quickly as possible, any way you can. One of your best tools in this effort is a sump pump. Ideally, every homeowner should have one of these, but if you hear that a coming storm could result in flooding go out and purchase or rent one as soon as you can. A sump pump can be used in any room of the house to push water back outside. Look for a place you can drain the water that will send it away from your home. But even if that’s not possible, simply running the sump pump will help keep the water level lower in your home.
This tip definitely goes into the prevention heading, but if you live in a flood prone area you should certainly be thinking this way. To that end, look to see if you can protect your HVAC system from flooding. Central heating and air conditioning systems are incredibly expensive to install, repair or replace, and saving it from damage during a flood is absolutely crucial. Consider installing the components of your system in a part of the house that would see less water in a flood, such as on the second floor or in the attic. If this is impossible, think about disassembling your HVAC system as the flood is coming and getting the parts up and out of the way.
You can save items in your home, you can break down and move carrier heating systems, but there’s no saving the walls from a flood. The water’s going to come through somewhere, and soaked walls will be the result. That’s a steep renovation bill to face after dealing with all of the other damage. So consider painting your walls with a waterproof topcoat. You can find some outdoor paints that have waterproof elements, but you can also purchase waterproof coatings you can use all across your home. It won’t prevent all of the damage, but it hopefully will cut down on the devastation and make the reconstruction more manageable.