How to prevent flood damage from natural events

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Stop the flood: How to avoid or diminish flood damage

  1. Learn the ways to prevent flood damage to your home. First, identify your property’s flood zone along with the percentages of significant flood risk.
  2. Tips for protecting your appliances and outlets from electrical damage and potential home fires.
  3. How to prevent flood expansion by using tactics to collect flood water and pushing it away from your home.

As fall approaches, homeowners should consider the possibility of potential flood damage. In order to protect your home’s infrastructure entirely, it’s important to understand your location, along with the associated land conditions. Like every form of property damage that can arise for homeowners, there are ways to minimize or prevent flood damage from deteriorating your home.

Flood damage can stem from a variety of sources which includes excessive rain on normally dry land, ocean waves overflowing, melting snow and a dam or levee break. Flash floods can present a variety of challenges for cities of all sizes; these occur when the land is unable to absorb the amount of rain, thus creating ripples and larger waves.

Related: Top summer homeowners claims and how to prevent them

In this article, we’ll explore a variety of ways homeowners can combat the effects of flood damage from impacting their family and home.


Check your flood zone

One of the first steps to understanding the flood threats in your vicinity is to check for your specific flood zone. This zone will determine the likelihood of a flood occurring around your property. To find the most reliable information, the FEMA Flood Map will help you find your region and your designated zone. In addition to identifying zones, these flood maps include various zone markings that indicate the flood risk of an area and its closest structures such as bridges, dams and levees.

There are four zones that every homeowner should be able to recognize, and they’re measured by opportunity percentages.

  • Orange zones – An orange zone represents the least risk of all the zones, standing at 0.2% chance of a significant flood annually. Although this is the lowest percentage, homeowners should still prioritize the possibility of water damage.
  • Blue zones – This zone has the second lowest percentage of flood chances, sitting at approximately 1% chance of annual-flooding. Although 1% seems low, this practically means that every century there’s significant flooding at least once.
  • Yellow zones – Areas in the yellow zone are in a place where flooding risk is practically undetermined. The best way to truly understand flood patterns is by researching the area’s flood history and communicating with an appraiser to see if the property can withstand a flood.
  • Blue with red stripes – These zones are known as floodway zones; they are located near rivers and are used to allow water to drain from additional zones. Some homes are built in these areas, and if your home is, you’ll want to take extensive precautions.
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Raise your appliances & electricals outlets

Whether you’re building or buying a new house, it’s important to understand the property’s flood level. Naturally, the flood level is the height that water can build up due to inclement weather. Work with a flood insurance agent or adjuster to determine your flood level, this may differ depending on the land. Consider these ways to prevent flood damage if inclement weather is to occur, which includes raising your appliances and your electrical outlets.

In order to protect your appliances both inside and out, you’ll want to raise them above your home’s flood level. Not doing so can lead to serious damage to essential appliances that moderate your home’s comfort. You can use bricks or concrete blocks to raise your water heater, washing machine, dryer and more. Raising your electrical outlets is also another best practice when trying to preserve your home from a flood. In the case of a flood, your outlets and plugs should be one foot above the flood level to prevent electrical fires.


Buy and install a sump pump with a backup battery

Another tactic homeowners can do to prevent flood damage is by ensuring that they have a sump pump with a backup battery. A sump pump is designed to prevent the spread of flooding by using pits beneath their structure. When the water reaches an alarming level, the sump pump will turn on immediately, pushing water away from your foundation. Make sure your pump has no flaws or leaks, if that is the case, we recommend buying a new one with a backup battery.

Related: How to prepare your home for a hurricane [infographic]

A battery backup can provide peace of mind, especially if your sump pump experiences durability and mechanical issues often. If your home doesn’t come with a sump pump, depending on your location, you should buy a new one that includes a backup battery. New sump pumps can be expensive at times, so it’s best to use a HELOC or credit card to assist your purchase. By using your home’s equity, you can experience lower interest rates and financial flexibility. A credit card is also another reliable option when purchasing additional appliances, because it’s one of the most accepted methods of payment. Prevent excess flood damage with a sump pump system in premium working condition.


Apply sealants and point your downspouts away

Two other ways to keep flood water from entering your home is by applying sealants and pointing your downspouts away from your home’s foundation. Both are different tactics but equally provide adequate preventative measures if a flood is to occur.

Spraying sealants or coating throughout flood exposed parts of your property is a reliable way to limit flood expansion. Carefully cover spots where exposed cracks exist: places like your windows, walls and your foundation will help prevent flood water leaks.

Gutter runoff can cause structural issues for homeowners, especially when potential leaks are created by the pressure of heavy rainfall, wind and more. One way to deflect these waves is by pointing your downspouts away from your home’s foundation. Keeping your gutters clean and diverting water from your home is a reliable way to prevent additional damage.

Related: Protecting your home after a hurricane or major storm

If you find yourself in a location zone where floods can drastically impact your home, you may need to take these precautions, this may also include investing in protection. However, a typical homeowners insurance policy won’t protect you from flooding. If you need additional assistance, your friends at Arrowhead can help you find the right information for your needs.

Agents, take a look at our Homeowners Program to add to your portfolio of insurance solutions.