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How to Prepare Your Home for a Flood

Water where it shouldn’t be is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, floods can happen anywhere at any time. Depending on where you live, you may be more susceptible to floods during certain times of the year. For example, Florida is more prone to flooding during hurricane season (June to November), but Oklahoma is more likely to see flooding during the spring tornado season (March to June). Similarly, the area where your house was built greatly affects how flood-prone you are. If your house was built near a body of water or in a low lying area, you’re more at risk for home flooding.

Before the water starts rising, there are certain steps you can take to protect your home, your family, and your belongings.

Clean gutters and drainageways.standing water in a living room

Making sure water can flow away from your house is one of the simplest steps to prevent flood damage. Remove all leaves, twigs and other debris from your gutters, downspouts, and drainage pipes to make sure water can flow away from your house. There’s less of a chance that water will end up in your basement or around your foundation if you can direct the flow away from your house.

Inspect your sump pump.

Your sump pump, located in your basement or crawl space, sucks up water that pools in your basement and redirects it outside. First, visually inspect your sump pump to see if it’s standing upright and plugged in. You can test your sump pump by dumping water into the basin and making sure the pump discharges it outside. If your pump has a battery backup, make sure it’s charged. If you’re unsure if your pump is working or not, it’s best to call in a professional so that they can perform a full inspection.

If you don’t have a sump pump installed, and flooding is imminent, you should contact a professional to install one.

Install plumbing check valves.

When a flood happens, sewer water can get pushed back into your house. Plumbing check valves only allow liquid to flow in one direction.

Purchase flood insurance.

According to FEMA, “Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars in damage every year.” Flood insurance helps cover your flood damage losses that are not covered by traditional homeowners or renters insurance policies.

Anchor down fuel tanks.

Flood waters can easily pick up a fuel tank and carry it away. This can be dangerous for your home, your neighbors and the environment. To prevent a fuel tank from floating away, you should anchor it to something heavy that can counterbalance the weight of the flood waters. In most cases, fuel tanks are anchored to concrete blocks using anchors and straps to hold the tank down.

Waterproof your basement.

If you live in a flood-prone area, there are a number of options you have to waterproof your basement:

  • Concrete waterproofing coating
  • Silicate-based concrete sealer
  • Acrylic waterproofing paint
  • Plastic panel waterproofing
  • Exterior waterproofing

When an extreme flood is imminent, you will need to do the following:

Move items to a higher level of the house.

Move all valuables, electronics and important documents to a higher level of the house. This includes electrical panels, wiring, appliances, and heating/cooling systems. You’ll also want to store all of your important documents and prescription medications in a waterproof case.

Turn off utilities.

Water and electricity don’t mix. Before you head for higher ground, make sure you turn off your gas, electricity and water. Any of these could cause additional damage to your home if they’re damaged during the flood.

Build a sandbag barrier.

In the most extreme cases, you can build a sandbag wall to divert water away from your home. You can arrange sandbags like bricks, then seal the structure with plastic sheeting. See this FEMA guide for more information on building barriers.

If you need help protecting your home from a flood, contact Raby Plumbing at (918) 200-9906. Our plumbing experts can assist with all of your waterproofing needs, including sump pump and plumbing check valve installation.

Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Raby Plumbing does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.

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