Water Damage Prevention

For people, water is necessary for survival. For a house, however, water can be a destructive force that can lead to wood rot, peeling paint, insect infestation, shorter lifespan of roofing and siding, and higher maintenance costs.

Fix Leaks Immediately

Leaky roofs and foundation cracks allow water to get into your home, which can weaken the structure and provide a perfect habitat for mold. When you see wet spots on the ceiling or cracks in the foundation, fix them as soon as it’s safe to get up on the roof or the material is dry enough to repair.

Check That Roofing Shingles Are Secure

Spring for extra roof protection. When it’s time to replace your roof, spend a few hundred dollars more to install a rubber roof underlayment, a waterproof barrier that goes under the shingles and protects the roof from water intrusion.

Close Foundation Cracks

Close foundation cracks with mortar and masonry caulk or hydraulic cement, which expands and fills gaps completely and costs only a few dollars. Don’t patch solely with mortar or cement, which may crack again. If water is a recurring problem, be sure to investigate other solutions for issues like wet basements.

Clear Gutters And Drains

Keep gutters and drainage systems clear to carry water away from your home. Check storm drains on your street, as leaves and debris can block them, causing water to collect.

Invest In A Battery-powered Sump Pump

Sump pumps let you pump water out of your home and can be an excellent defense against flooding — unless they’re powered by electricity and the power is out. Battery-powered sump pumps are a relatively inexpensive ($150-$400) solution.

Catalog Possessions

Using a digital camcorder or camera, create a home inventory for insurance. Inexpensive digital cameras start at about $100. Although traditional video and photographs are adequate, they can be bulky to carry and may get damaged if left in a flooded home. Digital files can be stored on a small USB drive and kept in your go bag, sent to a friend or relative for safekeeping, or stored on an online backup system like idrive.com or opendrive.com, which offer a small amount of space to store files for free or a larger data storehouse for $50-$60 per year.

Move Expensive Items To A Safer Location

If you have a second floor or an attic, moving furniture, photographs, and artwork to a higher level will protect your possessions in all but the most severe floods. Elevate furnaces and water pumps when they’re installed, if possible, to a height of 12 inches above the highest known flood level for your area, suggests FEMA.

Anchor Your Fuel Tanks

Unanchored tanks can float, rupture, and release fuel. Once the power sources of system units like furnaces and water heaters are disabled and the units cooled, you can also wrap them in waterproof tarps to mitigate water damage.

Prevent Sewer Backup

Install (or have a plumber install) sewer or septic line check valves, which allow waste to flow only one way. Plan to spend $100 or more per valve to have a pro install them, or do it yourself for $10-$15 each to ensure sewage can’t back up into the standing water in your home. Install at a point in the pipe that’s easy to access for repair.

Evaluate Your Property

Know your property: identify changes in slope and grade that influence where water and debris flow and collect. Know the overland escape routes for water/debris, and plan diversions accordingly. Consider low spots and high flow areas when planning for structure and property protection. Also consider escape routes for water and be sure that your efforts to protect your own property do not result in diverting water to a neighbor’s property where it could cause damage there.

Property Flood Proofing: Drainage improvements

Know your property: identify changes in slope and grade that influence where water and debris flow and collect. Know the overland escape routes for water/debris, and plan diversions accordingly. Consider low spots and high flow areas when planning for structure and property protection. Also consider escape routes for water and be sure that your efforts to protect your own property do not result in diverting water to a neighbor’s property where it could cause damage there.
General Rules For Debris Flow Control:

Each situation differs, however, basic rules can be followed in all cases involving debris movement.

• Never underestimate the power of any debris flow.

• Try to direct debris flows away from improvements.

• Clear a path for the debris.

• Always place protection to deflect debris, not to dam it.

• Use your house or building as a deflector if necessary.

• Avoid trying to confine the flows more than is absolutely required.

• Debris can enter a building through windows – consider boarding up windows that might be in the path of debris, such as a side of a structure next to a steep slope.

• Remember to protect your home first. Then consider what time and money are available to protect other less valuable objects, such as swimming pools or landscaping.

• Be prepared to sacrifice portions of your property to achieve good protection.

• Try to work with adjacent affected property owners.

 

 

04/26/2015 vvel4g

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