Water damage is one of the leading causes of property damage in the United States. Many kinds of water damage can occur, but the most immediately devastating is flood damage. Many homeowners have been unpleasantly surprised to discover that their homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage from floods. This requires special flood insurance. If you are insured against floods, you would still rather have a virtually flood proof house than a ruined home and a check. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid serious flood damage.
BEFORE YOU BUY
Of course the first step to avoiding flood damage is to not buy a home in an area prone to frequent flooding. Do your research before you purchase a home. One great resource for this is the FEMA Flood Map Service, which shows general flood risk by region. And if the home is in a known flood plain, your lender is likely to inform you of this and require you to buy flood insurance. If you’re having trouble assessing the flood risk of a home, consider asking the current owners or tenants, and/or people living nearby if they have any knowledge of flooding in the area.
Another factor in your assessment of a home should be local topography. A house at the bottom of a hill is much more likely to flood than a house at the top of a hill. Sometimes this flood risk is obvious from visible flood damage to the house, or from precautionary measures such as French drains, or from workarounds such as sump pumps.
GAUGE YOUR RISK
If you already own a home, you should assess the risk of flooding if you haven’t already done so. This should affect how much money you’re willing to spend flood proofing your home, and if you should consider buying flood insurance. If your area is rated low-risk and has never flooded, maybe you should focus on other concerns. But it couldn’t hurt to re-evaluate the flood risk from time to time as it may change due to climate change or other factors.
If you feel that your house is not adequately prepared to withstand flood damage here are a few things you can do:
- Install check valves on your pipes. These prevent a flooded septic system from overflowing into your home.
- Apply coatings and sealants. These materials can prevent minor floods from seeping into your home through cracks in the exterior.
- Grade the ground. The land around your house should be graded down from your home’s exterior to avoid puddles forming which can damage your foundation.
- Install a sump pump. Sump pumps are commonly used to remove water from basements, crawl spaces, and ground floors in low-lying homes.
For more extreme risks, you may consider raising the electrical outlets in your home, or even raising the entire home via stilts. These options are of course more costly than the previous suggestions, but are better than losing your home.
Pacific Flood Restoration is a leading flood damage restoration company in San Diego. We can help you flood proof your home and fix whatever water damage your home may have sustained. We have a reputation for integrity and high-quality services. Give us a call at (760) 516-8549 or contact us online if you find signs of water damage in your home.