Flooding can cause major issues for property owners everywhere, but it can be particularly devastating when the property affected is your home. The New York Times confirms that in 2019, nearly 14 million people were affected by flooding in the midwest and south alone, and by the end of the century, it is projected that over 670 American communities will be battered by consistent flooding that will affect their property, goods and overall quality of life.
Causes of Flooding
The causes of flooding vary greatly and depend on a variety of factors. Overall, the globe has seen an increase in floods, but much of the flooding tends to occur in designated areas. This isn’t to say that certain locations are immune, however. No matter where you live, the impacts of flooding can have remarkable and devastating consequences on those affected.
Some common causes of flooding include:
- Excessive rain
- Melting snow or Ice
- Ruptured dams
- Overflowing rivers
- Storm surge
What About “Flash Floods”?
Flash floods are floods that overtake low-lying areas, usually due to rainfall. These kinds of floods are the most dangerous of all flood types and are particularly damaging to residential homes. As the name indicates, flash floods happen very quickly, usually with little to no warning.
Impacts of Flooding
As mentioned, flooding can have a stark impact on property, goods and the overall quality of life of those affected. At times, there can even be the loss of life.
During unfortunate and often traumatizing situations like these, it can help to know the facts about what can be expected following the aftermath of a flood to better prepare yourself and family for what is to come.
To start, it is important to understand that remediating a flooded structure can be time consuming and expensive. Nevertheless, the remediation of a flooded home is crucial to moving forward in a way that is safe and healthy for all loved ones within the family unit.
When flooding occurs, what lurks within the waters is unknown. This can be a scary thought. Raw sewage contaminates from outside are of major concern when it comes to the impact that the floodwaters could have in your home. Because of this, floodwaters that enter the home will be denoted as a category 3 water loss by remediation teams, which is the most sensitively-handled water situation type that remediation teams face.
Category 3 water losses will require the stripping of carpets and may severely damage floors and even impact structures and walls. All of this, however, will depend greatly on how long the water sits, the source of the water and several other factors. Remediation care teams will go to great lengths to measure for moisture within affected structures in an attempt to target areas that are severely dampened for the betterment of the home and all who occupy the structure.
In addition to structural damage comes the unseen component of water damage that not many tend to consider. When a structure or object has been affected by water, it is imperative that the item or structure is properly dried, treated with antimicrobial agents, or even disposed of, depending on the item and its ability to be salvaged. The tricky part is determining whether or not an item or structural component is fully dry in the first place.
And this matters greatly. Neglecting to fully dry any component of a home can leave the space riddled with microorganisms like fungi and mold, and can compromise the health of many. Though an area or surface may look dry, it is imperative to seek professional advice. Moisture cannot always be seen with the naked eye, and it will take skill, technique, equipment and training to fully rehabilitate structures affected by floods.
Five Ways to Stunt Residential Flood Damage
While flood damage isn’t always preventable, there are ways that you can lessen the amount of damage that can occur the next time a flood ravishes your home.
1. Choose your location wisely– It should come as no surprise that flooding may be more or less prevalent depending on where you live. Though you may not always have a choice in the matter, choosing to live somewhere not frequently affected by flooding is always your best bet. As a resource, you may consider checking out FEMA’s Flood Map Service to check your location for the likelihood of flooding in the area in which you are attempting to live.
2. Elevate yourself– Already living in an area affected by flooding, or planning to? It may be wise to have your house put on stilts, if at all possible. If you are already in a home and are at ground level, you may wish to consider at least elevating your appliances and other valuables. Inexpensively, you may simply wish to put items like water heaters, washers and dryers, generators and air conditioning units on concrete blocks. Electrical circuits, outlets and other electrical items should also be at least a foot above flood level, whenever possible.
3. Protect the foundation– Rain and other external water sources can easily penetrate a home that has many cracks and crevices for it to seep through. To fix this problem, use caulk and mortar to go about your home and begin targeting any cracks you may find in the foundation. If there are many cracks and holes, professional help may be required, and often, preferred.
4. Seal– Apply coatings and sealing to repair any existing cracks or damages in the foundation of your home when needed.
5. Landscape– When landscaping and caring for the exterior of your home, there are things you can do for added protection in the event of a flood. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may wish to consider keeping a space between the mulch you lay and your home’s siding. Because wet mulch tends to rot siding, leaving a space between the two will prevent this from happening. Moreover, be sure to keep a sharp eye on your gutters, splash pads and downspouts. If you maintain them regularly, they can keep rain flowing away from your home.
Flooding Has Already Begun… Now What?
Once flooding begins, or you have been alerted that a flood is on the way, there are actionable steps that you can, and should, take before the actual flooding event transpires.
Only if you have time to safely do so, consider taking on the following:
- Clean out any drains or gutters
- Turn on your sump pump
- Move valuables, including furniture, to elevated areas when possible
- Shut off the electrical breaker
- Open windows to encourage air flow, only if safe to do so
- Document flooding through photo or video when safe to do so for insurance claims
Flooding Is Destructive… Taking Precautionary Measures Can Help
When floods threaten to do major damage to your home and property, you must act to ensure your life, home and valuables are protected. Though flood damage isn’t always preventable, the destruction caused may be lessened by taking just a few actionable steps ahead of time.
As always, contact a professional for additional advice on how best to prepare your home for a flood, and always enlist the help of remediation care professionals to rid a flood-impacted home or structure of hazardous moisture leftover at the expiration of a significant flooding event.