What do you think is the most common natural disaster in the United States? Fire? Hurricane damage? If you guessed flood, you would be correct. Flooding caused an estimated $2.7 billion in damage between 2001 and 2010, according to the National Flood insurance Program. As you likely know, 2014 has been an especially troubling year for floods in America, and without a solid game plan, you could lose much more than just your wall-to-wall carpeting. If you think you’re not at risk, think again. One out of every five floods occurs in areas with low flood risk, so take steps to protect your home today. Here are some tips to get you started.
1) Inquire About Flood Insurance
You wouldn’t drive without car insurance, and you wouldn’t buy a house without homeowner’s insurance. Even our cell phones now have insurance plans. So if you don’t already have flood insurance, speak to your existing homeowner’s insurance provider about the cost of a flood insurance add-on, or check out the FloodSmart website. Even a modest insurance investment can potentially save you millions of dollars in loss.
2) Fix Any Leaks Immediately
Leaky roofs and pipes can cumulatively weaken the structural integrity of your foundation, so if you notice even subtle leaks, it’s absolutely critical that you address and repair any damage immediately. As a preventative measure, also make sure that your roof shingles are secure, and if it’s time to replace your roof, have a rubber underlayment installed with the shingles.
3) Keep Your Gutters and Drains Clean
Storm drains and gutters can pose a serious flood hazard if not cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Make sure to keep the drains clear so that they can effectively carry the water away from your home. Don’t let leaves and debris create a flood hazard.
4) Install Flood Sensors
A flood sensor is an invaluable tool for any home, whether you live in the desert or the tropics. You can purchase one as a standalone device, or as an extension of your existing security system. When water accumulation is detected, the sensor will sound an alarm or send an alert to one or more multiple phones, warning of a potential flood. Home Security Store carries a wide selection of affordable flood sensors for every home, and most items ship in one business day.
If you live in one of the 30 million American homes that uses a septic system, make sure to take proper care of it. Have septic line check valves installed, in order to prevent sewage from backing up into your primary water supply. Also, have your tank professionally pumped every 1 to 5 years (depending on the size of your tank).
What if a Flood Has Already Occurred?
If a flood has already occurred, the next steps are critical. First and foremost, turn off the electricity at the main breaker, and download a copy of Repairing Your Flooded Home, which is available for free from the American Red Cross. This guide contains a wealth of important information about how to safely navigate your home, how to make an effective insurance clean, how to check for gas leaks and how to properly clean your belongings.
Protect Your Home
We can’t always prevent devastation from occurring, but we can take steps to minimize our risk, and to minimize the damage in the event of a disaster. Don’t assume that a flood can’t happen to you. Just be proactive, be sensible, and be prepared.