It may be a bit of a surprise to you, but as a homeowner, floods are something that you truly need to prepare for. In fact, floods are the #1 natural disaster in the U.S., and 98% of basements in the U.S. will experience some sort of flood damage during their lifespans. As a result, this is less of a freak occurrence and more of a consequence of homeownership.
One thing that you need to realize is that part of handling a flood is calculating how you handle it. Part of this is preparing your home to minimize the chance of a flood happening. Also, you need to know what to do when it does happen. This starts by figuring out how quickly it takes for your home to flood, as well as what stands to get damaged first.
Time Is Of The Essence
Whether it’s the weather, a busted pipe or, a faulty appliance, there are several common sources that a flood will stem from. At the same time, every house is different. As a result, seeking out a generic number for how quickly your house floods won’t really be accurate. Luckily, online tools like Alder Security’s Flood Calculator help avoid incurring extra costs by getting an estimate. Wondering how this works? Enter the square footage of your home and the various appliances you have to get a real-time look at how your house will flood up, how long it will take, and the type of costs you may be incurring in water damage. However, estimation is only half the battle here. You also want to see what you can do to mitigate damage before it happens, as well as recover from a house flood without incurring massive costs.
If you want to take a more active stance, buying various gadgets and products may help you lay out how a flood will take place, as well as provide early warning. Examples include water alerts and freeze sensors that detect temperature fluctuations and water leaks. Portable generators can keep your pipes from freezing and bursting. Sump pumps can clear basements or be a last-ditch effort to deal with water.
What Can You Do?
When it comes to disasters, one of the best things that you can do is prepare. Unfortunately, the one nasty thing about flooding is that there is no (margin) of safety other than elevation,” says Tim Reinhold, senior vice president of research and chief engineer at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, or IBHS. Every area and region has a different flood level—a measure of how high floodwaters can reach. The online flood maps on FEMA’s website are a good place to start, but your local building department and home insurance agents can help you as well. Other things you can do to prepare are raising your outdoor equipment. Consider important maintenance like cleaning your gutters, checking your pipes, and attending to cracks in your foundation and windows. If you plan on doing any extensive changes, be sure to consult with licensed professionals.
At the same time, there is also the inevitability that all your efforts will fall short, and the flood takes place. In this case, the decisions that you make in those first 24 hours can make all the difference, from recovering your valuables to working through with an insurance company. Here are a few tips you should follow during this crucial time.
Don’t Incur Additional Risk: If a flood was enough cause for concern for you to leave your home in the first place, you should be extremely cautious when you return. Be sure to turn the power off, if you did not already do so before leaving. Wear protective clothing like rubber boots and gloves, and be very careful what you come into contact with. You’re not just dealing with floodwater itself, but what it comes into contact with.
Dry Out The House: We mentioned sump pumps before, but whether you use these, buckets or a wet vacuum, you are going to have to deal with everything still being damp. This is doubly so if poor weather paid a role, as heavy rains increase humidity. A worthy investment here is a dehumidifier, as it does not require extra action on your part. However, major house floods will likely render dehumidifiers a supplemental use.
Cleaning Time: Post-flood cleanup is a multi-faceted plan. These include removing drywall, insulation and flooring. Also, look through your possessions and see what is salvageable and what can be thrown away. Whether you do things yourself or bring in professionals, there are a lot of things you need to look out for, and quickly. Mold can start growing within these first 24 hours. If you’re not used to dealing with mold, it is best to bring in professionals to be cautious.
Floods can take hold quickly, and rack up damage as well. However, good preparation and planning can soak (no pun intended) up these costs. Use all the tools you have on hand and you will be ready for anything that comes your way