Protect Your Home from Flood Damage


Prep in and Around Your House | Strengthen Your Home • Floods

Why does it matter?

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. It causes the most property damage of all types of natural disasters, comprising 90% of disaster-related damage in the U.S. annually. All 50 states have experienced flooding during the past five years.

Hurricanes and storms typically cause floods in the Eastern United States and the Gulf Coast. In the Western U.S., snowmelt and rainstorms are responsible for most flooding.

What do I need to know?

According to FEMA, one inch of floodwater can cause more than $25,000 in damage. Five inches can cause more than $45,000, and one foot can cost nearly $75,000.

How do I get started?

Take the following steps to mitigate and prevent devastating damage caused by flooding and rising water.

Take the following steps to mitigate and prevent devastating damage caused by flooding and rising water.

  1. Elevate your home if you live in a high-risk flood zone to reduce the risk of damage. While costly, this retrofit could save your home from complete destruction in extreme flooding.
  2. Inside your home: Elevate and protect these appliances to prevent costly damage.
    • Washers & dryers
    • Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) indoor equipment
    • Water heaters
    • Electrical panels and electrical service components, such as switches and receptacles
    • Telephone, computer, and communications equipment
    • Electronics such as televisions, cable boxes, etc.
  3. Outside your home: Elevate and protect these appliances, systems, and equipment to avoid costly damage.
    • Place air conditioning compressors, heat pumps, or package units (single units including a furnace and air conditioner) on a masonry, concrete, or pressure-treated lumber base.
    • Anchor mount elevated exterior appliances such as fuel tanks.
  4. Install flood barriers: You can also install flood barriers around your home to prevent water from entering. This could include sandbags or permanent barriers such as floodgates or walls.
  5. Waterproof your basement by following these steps:
    • Seal any cracks and gaps in the basement walls or floor to prevent water from entering. Use hydraulic cement, epoxy, or other waterproofing products.
    • Install a drainage system: A drainage system can help to redirect water away from your home's foundation. Consider installing a French drain, a sump pump, or other drainage systems.
    • Apply waterproof coatings: Waterproof coatings can be applied to the walls and floor of your basement to create a barrier against moisture. There are various types of coatings available, including cementitious coatings, acrylic coatings, and epoxy coatings.
    • Improve ventilation: Good ventilation prevents moisture buildup in your basement. Installing vents or fans can improve airflow and reduce humidity.
  6. Install backflow valves: Backflow valves can prevent sewage from backing up into your home during heavy rainfall or flooding.
  7. Maintain your gutters and downspouts: Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean and free of debris to prevent water from backing up and causing damage to your home.
  8. Do not overlook your landscape. Observe how water flows around your home. Use culverts and landscaping to ensure it flows away and does not pond or pool around the foundation. This may involve re-grading the soil or installing drainage swales or ditches.
  9. Purchase flood insurance: flood insurance will cover costs to clean and repair your home in the event of a flood. In contrast, standard homeowners insurance policies typically do not cover flood damage.

More Resources

Buyers Guide to Resilient Homes



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