If you have not witnessed a flood, it is easy to dismiss them as just another harmless natural occurrence. This mindset should be avoided at all costs as flooding can be an unpredictable and life-changing ordeal if you are not prepared. When there is a risk of flooding, there is also the risk of property damage, injuries, and even death.

By taking a few days out of your busy schedule to prepare for a flood, you could be in a much better situation if a flooding emergency were to arise. In this article, we will go over basic instructions to avoid flooding, what to do if areas of your house become flooded, and various other tips.

How to Stop Basement Flooding

Basements are the lowest areas of your house and can become unfortunate places where water can accumulate during a flood. To keep your home and basement dry, we recommend following these five steps.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts

We all hate cleaning our gutters. It’s a dirty and tiring task that needs to be done fairly frequently. However, this simple task can have a large impact on how your basement fares during a flood. A clogged up gutter and an inefficient downspout can cause water to pool up on and around your home. This is a dangerous situation that could end up with all of the water collecting at the lowest part of your home: the basement. To avoid this, we recommend cleaning your gutters monthly to ensure that they can allow a free flow of water and to inspect your downspouts so that they are always directing water at least three feet away from your home.

Check The Landscaping Around Your Home

It may be difficult to imagine, but your own yard could serve as a funnel to bring water towards your home. Even when it rains or snows, the water does not slide down your landscape to your basement. However, if there is flooding, that is a completely different story. If the slope of your yard is pointing directly to your home, that is something that you may want to consider. Some possible solutions to this include a regrade of your lawn or installation of a French Drain.Repair Any Cracks in Foundation

Repair Any Cracks in Foundation

A small crack may be a minor aesthetic annoyance on a sunny day, but that crack could be the difference between a flooded home and a dry home. Make it a habit to walk around your home and inspect the walls and floors for any cracks or holes. These cracks serve as an entry point for water during floods, and you will be surprised just how much water can end up coming through a small crack. Spending a few hours buying epoxy and fixing a crack could save you tens of thousands in property damage.

Install Window Well Covers

If your basement has windows, that is an easy way for water to seep through even if they are fastened shut. A window well cover helps to reinforce your windows and truly make them flood-proof. They are relatively inexpensive and are extremely sturdy. If you want a window well cover that still allows sunlight in, be sure to look for acrylic window well covers that are clear.

Maintain Your Sump Pump

If you are reading this article, and you don’t know what a sump pump is, we have good news and bad news. The good news is this article probably saved you a lot of property damage, but the bad news is you should probably go right now to check if you have one and if it is properly working.

A sump pump helps to prevent mold, water damage, and of course flooding. However, most homeowners don’t know that sump pump failure is the highest known cause of basement floods. If there is an incoming flood, we highly suggest maintaining your sump pump. If you would like to be really proactive we suggest buying a spare sump pump as well as a generator in case the electricity cuts out.

One last piece of advice is that most homeowners insurance does not cover damages from a malfunctioning sump pump, so it is very important that you are inspecting it regularly.

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How To Read FEMA Flood Map

Reading a FEMA flood map is very important to understanding how risky your current area is for flooding. A FEMA flood map will highlight which zones are flood zones and the levels of risk associated with each zone.

Here is a step by step process on how to read a FEMA flood map:

  1. Go to fema.gov
  2. Navigate to your map and find your address
  3. Go to the description and find which zone your address falls under (Zone A, AR, A99, etc)
  4. Read the description and see if your location is at risk of flooding
  5. Make an appropriate plan of action depending on what the FEMA flood map says about your location

Knowing the likelihood of how badly your house will be affected by a flood is powerful information. However, it is important to note that even if the FEMA map claims that there is a low percentage that your home will be severely affected, we still suggest taking at least a small amount of precaution just in case. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

How to Install Flood Lights

Floodlights are a great addition to any home, especially when a natural disaster hits. Floodlights can be a cost-effective way to keep intruders and robbers away from your home when you are most vulnerable.

Installing floodlights is not as complex as it seems, and can usually be done by anyone who has a basic understanding of light fixtures.

How to Stop Yard From Flooding

When it comes to flooding, the highest priority should be the safety of your home and your family that resides in it. However, another important aspect to consider is the flooding that occurs in your yard. Do you notice that your yard floods every time there is heavy rainfall? Even though there may not be negative consequences right now, not addressing your flooded backyard can be a huge mistake for any homeowner.

A flooded yard can eventually seep into your basement or ruin the foundation of your home. There are several steps we can take to avoid this, one of which we have already discussed earlier in the article.

French Drains

A french drain system is a drainage device that helps spread excess water evenly throughout the soil in your yard. By doing this, the water does not end up pooling in the lowest area and flooding. A french drain is especially important if your home also sits in the lowest area next to your yard.

To install a french drain, you dig a trench in the problem areas of your yard. Be sure to dig the trench deeper than your home, so that you can lower the risk of property damage. After doing so, place the pipe that will disperse the water evenly into the trench. The final step is to fill the aggregate with gravel so that it filters the water. Without an aggregate, dirt and other debris may clog your pipe and lower the efficiency of your french drain.

Dry Wells

A dry well is a drain that collects water when there is heavy rainfall or flooding and slowly puts it back into the soil. Just as you did with the french drain, be sure to dig a hole that is deeper than your house when you install this drainage system. The main purpose of a dry well is to collect water and slowly release the water back into the soil over time to help control the buildup of water.

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are the best way to handle flooding but they are relatively expensive. A sump pump actually removes the water from the soil into its special pit and pumps the water away to a separate location. If the safety of your family and property is your highest property, we highly suggest making a small investment and buying a sump pump for your home.

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How To Get Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is a great way to lessen your anxiety when it comes to floods and flood damage. Luckily, there are very few restrictions on who can buy flood insurance. Even if your location is at low risk for floods or there historically have never been floods you are free to purchase flood insurance.

When getting flood insurance, you have a choice of choosing between a National Flood Insurance Program or a Private Flood Insurance Program. There are various pros and cons to both, but the main difference is that private flood insurances have higher claim limits, but are a bit less reliable because you may be suddenly dropped.

To get National Flood Insurance, you can call (888) 379-9531. You can choose to either shop with an insurer or an agent. With the National Flood Program, you are usually limited to a claims limit of $250k.

To get Private Flood Insurance, we suggest that you look online for the Flood Insurance Agencies in your area. Be sure to do your due diligence and look through the reviews and pricing of each insurance agency that you are interested in.

Purchasing flood insurance is a difficult decision, especially if you live in an area that traditionally does not flood often. The age-old quote of “better safe than sorry” may not apply here because flood insurance is relatively expensive compared to other types of insurance. If you are living in an area that is prone to flooding, we highly suggest flood insurance, but if you are not, that is a decision that should be made on a case by case basis.

How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement

Let’s say that you came to our article a little too late and you are in a situation where your basement has already been flooded. This is a very dangerous situation, and there are a few things to consider when you are dealing with a situation like this.

  1. Do not drain the water in the inside of your basement if there is still a large amount of water on the outside walls of the basement. This may seem a bit bizarre, but cleaning your basement prematurely can actually cause more damage. With the water damage already present, pumping out the water could cause the walls of your basement to collapse due to the pressure from the water on the outside.
  2. If there is a large amount of water inside the basement, traditional methods of removing water will not work. Luckily, there are many services that rent out sump pumps, especially if you live in an area that has constant flooding issues. Using a sump pump will quickly remove all of the water from your basement.
  3. After the water is removed, you should start by shoveling the mud and dirt from the floors and walls of the basement as soon as possible. In general, when it comes to cleaning you should start with the largest tasks first and then focus down onto the smaller tasks.
  1. If the walls and floor of your basement are made of concrete, you can use a high-pressure hose to effectively clean off the stains and dirt from the walls in a quick manner.
  2. Once you have cleaned out the water, the mud, and the stains on the wall begin drying out the basement. You should look to accomplish all of these things in a short time period because the longer the basement is wet the more mold will appear. If you dry out your basement there will be much less structural damage, wood decay, and mold growth. Renting a fan or dehumidifier can help with the drying of your home.
  3. This may be obvious, but it is very important to remember that you should never turn on any electric appliance that has been flooded. It’s never worth it, and your curiosity could cost you your life.
  1. If the walls and floor of your basement are made of concrete, you can use a high-pressure hose to effectively clean off the stains and dirt from the walls in a quick manner.
  2. Once you have cleaned out the water, the mud, and the stains on the wall begin drying out the basement. You should look to accomplish all of these things in a short time period because the longer the basement is wet the more mold will appear. If you dry out your basement there will be much less structural damage, wood decay, and mold growth. Renting a fan or dehumidifier can help with the drying of your home.
  3. This may be obvious, but it is very important to remember that you should never turn on any electric appliance that has been flooded. It’s never worth it, and your curiosity could cost you your life.

How To Dry Flooded Carpet

Let’s say that there is some carpeting in your basement or that the flood has affected the upper levels of your home. When it comes to cleaning your carpets, there are similar concerns that you have to watch out for.

Firstly, bring up as much of the water as possible. You can do this with a wet vacuum, and you want to do this process until the carpet is just a bit wet instead of being completely damp.

Next, you want to sprinkle baking soda generously over all of the damp areas in your carpet. The amount of baking soda that you use could be surprising, and you may run through several canisters of baking soda. After a few hours, you will see that the baking soda has dried up and you can vacuum it all from the carpet.

The final step is to get a fan or a heater to aid your carpet in drying. As with other areas of the house, flooding can cause mold and structural damage. Be sure to act swiftly when you find an area flooded so that you can minimize damages to your home.

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Conclusion

Flooding damage is an expensive headache that should be avoided at all costs. Yes, it is possible to clean a flooded basement or a flooded year, but the best course of action is to avoid any flooding around your home at all costs. By using FEMA maps, floodproofing your basement, floodproofing your yard, and setting up floodlights you should be prepared when disaster strikes. We hope this article helps you avoid any expensive flood damage, and please stay safe.

Thanks for reading!

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