Floods can devastate a property and create an unsightly, dangerous mess. Damage from rising waters can spur the growth of toxic mould around your home. Protecting yourself is the best way to avoid some of the headaches associated with natural disasters, such as flooding.
So how can you protect your home against flooding? Just do your homework and take proactive steps to ensure your safety and security. Consider the following precautions.
1. Do Your Research
“I live in an arid region. Therefore, my home can’t possibly lie in a flood plain.” It’s a common thought, but think again. When dry, clay-like soil becomes compacted from the heat, water can’t penetrate it. Floods in desert areas can prove as devastating as those in boggy marshes, though they may not occur as frequently.
The best way to know if you live in a flood zone is to check the flood map service center through FEMA. You can also invest in home security systems that include flood sensors, which will alert you to rising waters. Topography changes over time, so it’s a wise idea to re-evaluate your property for risk every five years.
2. Carry Flood Insurance
When you’re looking to buy a home, you’ll probably focus primarily on how much mortgage you can afford. While you may consider things like homeowners’ insurance, fewer people calculate the average cost of flood insurance in the equation.
You’ll need to buy a separate policy to obtain this coverage, so consider the price if you decide to buy a home in a flood plain. Even if you’re in an area of low risk, it’s a savvy idea to cover yourself. Better safe than sorry!
3. Build Retaining Walls
Retaining walls divert flowing water away from a home’s foundation. Additionally, they create a usable garden space and add aesthetic appeal to a property. You can construct many such walls in a single weekend using stackable concrete blocks.
You’ll begin by building a trench. Check with your city utility office to make sure you’re not digging in an area with underground wires or pipes. Once you’ve erected the structure, you’ll get to enjoy the fun part — selecting plants for your new garden.
4. Maintain Your Gutters
You probably think of flood damage as primarily impacting your home’s lower levels. The truth, however, is that a leaky or cracked roof due to gutters filled with debris can allow water to enter your drywall from above. This scenario will not only create a toxic mould situation, but it can also destroy the structural integrity of your home over time.
Take the time to clean your gutters every spring and fall. While you do so, make sure you unclog your drainspout and inspect for any small holes or tears. Always wear a hard hat when climbing on ladders, and consider hiring a professional service if your house is two or more stories high.
5. Install Proper Landscaping
The right plants can absorb excess moisture before it damages your home. A rain garden makes an appropriate drainage spot for steep slopes.
You can use pavers for flat areas and create rock riverbeds to divert water away from your foundation.
6. Consider Window Well Covers
If your basement windows lie partially or fully below the surface of the outside land surrounding your home, water has a convenient access point. In addition to letting floodwaters pour into your lower level, these wells create a safety hazard. Children or pets playing around your home can easily fall into a window well, especially if you conceal the opening with landscaping.
To protect against floods and keep your little ones safe, invest in well covers that enhance security and safety. Make sure yours can withhold several hundred pounds of weight if you feel concerned about people walking on them.
7. Inspect Your Foundation
Finally, you should inspect your home’s foundation regularly to keep minor problems from snowballing into substantial headaches. Don’t worry if you see hairline cracks — these small cracks are common in nearly all homes.
However, any cracks more extensive than a quarter of an inch in width require professional evaluation. While you walk the border, investigate any signs of termite or rodent infestation and address them as well.
Protect Your Home With These Seven Tips
Floods can decimate your property value and require costly cleanup. Prevent problems before they occur with these seven tips!
Dylan Bartlett blogs about health and wellness on his site, Just a Regular Guide. Follow him on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates on his work!