Flood proofing your home
Strange weather patterns, unexpected rainfall and rising tides are just a few of the factors that have contributed to an increased flood risk over the last several years in Britain. More than ever, homeowners are thinking about ways to protect their property from flooding if the unexpected ever strikes.
Defending your home from a flood doesn’t need to be difficult – there are a number of simple steps you can take to help minimize damage, keep water out and protect your belongings if the worst does happen.
In a serious flood the most important thing is your safety. Keep an eye on the Environment Agency’s flood warnings and be prepared to get to higher ground or evacuate your home if necessary. While it’s practically impossible to completely flood proof any property, there are lots of simple steps you can take to help limit the damage, including:
Move valuables to high ground – If you think there’s a risk floodwater might make its way inside your home, move valuables to higher ground like the second floor or attic where they are less likely to come in contact with water. Don’t forget to consider important documents and family photo albums, because these are often very difficult to replace.
Choose sandbags – Keep a number of sandbags on hand to help build a barrier around entryways and other vulnerable points in your property that could let in water like cable entry points. While they won’t be able to protect you against a major surge of water, they can help holdback water for a short period of time and also protect against mud and other debris.
Raise electronics – By the time an inch of floodwater has made it inside your home it has caused significant damage. An easy way to offset this is by raising electronics and switches. Mount your television on the wall and keep speakers, computers and other electronics in your home on shelves or other places the water isn’t likely to reach. Installing power outlets several inches higher in the wall can also be the difference between an easy cleanup and ruined wiring.
Protect what you can’t move – For larger items like furniture, consider purchasing large sealable bags or plastic covers to help keep water away from items like chairs and couches.
Forget carpet – If your home is in a region that’s prone to flooding, avoid fitted carpets in favor of flooring that is less likely to be damaged severely. For example, choose a tiled floor and use rugs instead of carpet. Rugs can be easily removed and tile floors are much easier to clean.
Get flood insurance – Particularly if you’re in a high risk area, buildings and contents insurance that specifically covers flooding is crucial – if your home or valuables are damaged, flood insurance can offset the cost and help get you back to normal quickly. Before purchasing any policy be sure to read the fine print as many insurers are reluctant to cover flooding because it can be so costly.
If you’re looking for further information about protecting your home or what to do in the event of a flood, you can find a number of helpful resources online that will help with everything from simple fixes to extensive renovations. The National Flood Forum is a great place to start, and has information about what to do if you’re at risk or if you’re about to be flooded. The Environment Agency has also published its own guide to help you protect your property.
If you live near water or in an area that’s been known to flood, finding the right insurance can be more complicated. If you are looking for helpful advice about finding good insurance, the government has put together an online resource with tips, while the Association of British Insurers also has information on its website about flooding and how to asses your flood risk.