6 Ways To Protect Your Home From Water Damage

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By Sam Bocetta / Published by Sam Bocetta
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Some easy steps that any homeowner can take to protect his or her home.

Flooding is the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the U.S. today. Floods can strike at any time, often with little or no warning, and can cause huge damage to your home very quickly. 

Water damage can affect almost everything in your home. Electrical items are particularly susceptible to water damage, of course, but even if water only rises an inch or so above floor level, you can spend months repairing sodden insulation and ripping out damaged wiring. 

First and foremost, it is important to understand how likely it is that your home will be flooded, so check the elevation of your property, and know how far flood waters would have to rise to effect you.

Even if you live on a hill, though, it is worth taking steps to protect your home from water damage.

Here are 6 steps that every homeowner should take: 

Safeguard your Electrical and Climate Systems

 First and foremost, make sure that all of your switches, circuit breakers, and wiring are at least a foot above the expected flood level in your area. 

Doing this will mean that even if your home is flooded, the water will not be able to effect the most expensive part of your house’s infrastructure – the electrical system. 

 Anchor and raise outdoor equipment

 Don’t forget about the stuff outside your house! If you have fuel tanks, air conditioning units, or generators outside, they also need to be raised above the likely flood level, and securely anchored to the ground. 

 Fuel tanks, in particular, can cause huge damage. If they break free, they can cause damage to your house, and fuel spills can contaminate the ground, leaving you with a huge clean up bill.

 If you have a generator to provide emergency power, it will be of no use if it is underwater! 

Modify your water valves

 If the sewer system is flooded, sewer water can back up and enter your home. This can be one of the worst effects of floods, so make sure you are protected against it.

 Fitting an interior or exterior backflow valve is the solution here. A good gate valve will protect you from backing up sewer water, providing a strong barrier which is capable of containing even the strongest floods. 

Understand how water flows around your home

 It might sound strange, but one of the best protections you can have against water damage is knowledge! The next time there is a major rainstorm, take a few minutes to observe how water pools around your property – working out which way water drains will allow you to plan your flood defenses accordingly. 

Get a major retrofit 

If your home floods frequently, and moving is not an option, then there are still some options available to you. These can be costly, but less so than replacing all your damaged equipment!
There are a range of options in this regard. 

You can "dry-proof" your home by applying coatings to the walls to keep out floods. Slightly more costly is "wet-proofing", which adds drains to your property to allow flood water to flow around, under, or through it. Another idea is to add a Tyvek protective seal around your house to avoid water damage. 

 In extreme cases, you can raise your home on stilts, so that the lowest floor is above the flood level. 

 Take last-minute measures
If a big flood is on the way, you should take some precautions. Clear your gutters, drains, and downpipes to allow water to drain away from your property. 

Turn off your electricity supply, and move anything that can easily be moved upstairs. Larger appliances can be raised on concrete blocks to protect them.

 Take these steps now, and the next time the flood waters rise your home will be significantly safer from water damage!