The Best Ways to Prevent a Flood In Your Home
Unless your home is on top of a mountain with a downward sloping yard, there is always a chance that it could be flooded. According to Tim Reinhold of the IBHS (Institute of Business & Home Safety), you can experience significant damage from just an inch of water above floor level. This means that once floodwaters cross your threshold, there is a strong possibility of damage. Although no homeowner relishes the prospect of a flood, there are some preventative measures that can minimize the damage and remove the need for extensive flood repair.
Know Your Flood Levels:
One of the most effective ways to minimize the risk of flooding is to know your flood levels. The flood level of your home is an official measure of how high any floodwaters could rise in your area. This information can be obtained from the online flood maps provided by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency). Your insurance agent or local building department may also be a good source of information. Unfortunately, if your area is prone to flooding, short of installing stilts on your home, there is always a risk, but you can mitigate this risk. Thankfully there are not that many areas in the great Los Angeles or San Fernando Valley region that are typical flooding locales. This said with the anticipation of El Niño this year and very heavy rainfall this winter, even atypical neighborhoods may be susceptible to flooding to some degree.
Fix any Leaks Immediately:
Cracks in your foundation and leaks in your roof will allow water to immediately enter your home. This cannot only create the perfect environment for mold to flourish, but it can weaken the property structure. When you see a crack or wet spot, ensure that repairs are conducted as quickly as possible. Foundation cracks should be repaired with hydraulic cement or mortar and masonry caulk. These materials expand to completely fill any gaps and will be far less likely to crack again compared to standard cement or mortar.
Install Additional Roof Protection:
If you are considering upgrading or replacing your roof, it is worth installing rubber roof underlay. This is a waterproof barrier designed to be placed under the roof shingles to protect the roof from any water intrusion. You can also further protect your roof by keeping drains and gutters clear of debris. This will allow water to be carried off the roof and away from your home. You should also check street storm drains to ensure that they are clear before any storms are forecast.
Install a Backup Prevention Valve:
This type of valve allows sewer and wastewater to be flushed from the home, but prevents any water flowing back through the pipe. Valves can be purchased for as little as $15 each, but you can expect to pay at least $100 for a professional plumber to install one.
Have a Battery Powered Sump Pump Available:
Buying a battery powered sump pump is a relatively inexpensive purchase, but it can provide excellent flood protection. A sump pump allows you to pump water out of your home, but resist the urge to buy a A/C mains powered model, as flooding and blackouts usually go hand in hand.
In the event of a flood warning, it is always best to err on the side of caution. Where possible, move your more expensive items such as photographs, electronic items, artwork and furniture to the second floor or higher in your home. This will protect them in most flood conditions. You should also catalog your possessions using a digital camera or a Smartphone to create a home inventory. You can store the digital file online in the cloud or off site for safekeeping. This will ensure that, should the worst case scenario occur, you will have insurance protection.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solutions.