10 Ways To Prevent Home Flooding & Water Damage
Floods and stormwater can wreak havoc on your home or business. If you live in a flood zone or a flood plain, the risk of flooding is increased. Consider the following steps to prevent a flood from occurring in the first place.
Many people don't know it, but most homeowner's insurance policies cover water damage caused by an overflowed sink or bathtub, but not flood damage caused by storms, hurricanes, or other natural disasters. Talk to your insurance agent to understand what is covered by your policy.
If you live in a high-risk area, check to see if flood insurance makes sense for you.
Consider these suggestions to prevent or minimize flood damage in your home or business.
- Install water sensors or flood detection systems.
There are many options for water detection systems, sensors, and alarms to alert you to water or leaks within your home or business. More complex water or leak detection systems can be tied into your smart home or your home security system to alert you of water before it's a disaster.
- Regularly test your sump pump & consider a battery backup.
Regularly test your sump pump. Be sure it can remove water at an adequate pace during heavy rains. You may also consider installing a battery backup or UPS, so if the power goes out, your sump pump will continue to operate until the power is restored. You can also buy sump pumps with a battery backup integrated into the system.
- Regularly clear debris from drains and ditches.
Avoid piling leaves, mulch, or other debris in your yard where it could flush into the sewage drains or block drainage paths. If you live in an area with lots of trees, regularly rake your yard, bag the leaves, and set them at the curb for pick up. Check nearby storm drains to make sure they are clear, and use a rake to remove any visible blockage. Contact your city or county water or sewer department for more severe blockages.
- Regularly check and clean downspouts and gutters.
Check and clean the gutters and downspouts at least once a year, more frequently if you have lots of trees near your home. You can use a leaf blower or gloves to clean the gutters and a flexible water hose with a high-pressure attachment to ensure the downspouts are clear. You can also hire a lawn or landscape pro to take care of this.
- Improve grading and drainage around your home.
When it rains, take note of any rain or flood water that accumulates near your home. Pay attention to areas near the foundation. The ground should slope away from the foundation of your home or business. You may need to bring in dirt and sod to improve the grading. In some cases, you may need to install drainage where water accumulates to give the water a place to go during heavy storms.
- Check for and seal openings and cracks in your foundation.
As part of your yearly home maintenance, seal openings, such as doors, windows, utility, and exhaust penetrations, regularly inspect your foundation and seal foundation cracks with masonry or mortar caulk.
- Check & seal your basement windows.
Improve the water resistance of the basement or low windows by making sure they are properly sealed and caulked. If you have old windows, you may also consider having new ones installed. Newer windows have a better seal which can reduce the chance of water entering your home. New windows can also help with energy efficiency.
- Inspect and upgrade drains.
If the drains in your home do not have one-way (backflow prevention) valves, consider having them installed by a licensed plumber. If you have sewer backups, the one-way valves prevent the backup from entering your home.
- Install flood skirts and barriers.
Consider attaching flood skirts or barriers to windows and doors and around air bricks. These will help to floodproof and keep water out of your home.
- Keep sandbags nearby.
If flood levels are rising and water is approaching your home, sandbags can prevent water from coming through doorways or low windows. If you are in an area where flood risk is high, keep sandbags handy for emergencies.
Additional flood resources: