Protect your home against flood damageAs we watch record rain and the subsequent flooding from hurricane Dorian, we can only be thankful that those rains didn't hit our area. We may get some of this rain as the storm moves east later this week. As we wait to see how this storm progresses, we can take some of these FEMA suggestions to help make your home or business property more flood and wind resistant. If you had a close call on rains earlier this year, now is a good time to walk around your property and note problem areas.
Raise Electrical Boxes, Major Appliances and HVAC components at least one foot above the 100 year flood level designated in your area.
- Circuit Breaker Boxes - short circuit in flooded systems pose a significant fire danger.
- Appliances - Washers and dryers can be elevated with pressure treated lumber or moved to a higher floor.
- HVAC - Exterior HVAC equiment should be elevated by a professional contractor.
- Anchor Fuel Tanks - When flood waters move an unanchored tank, the supply line may tear. Additionally, filling and ventilation tubes need to be above flood level so that water cannot get inside the tank. Anchor inside and outside tanks with properly sized ground anchors. For safety's sake, consult local officials and building professionals about the best methods for anchoring fuel tanks.
- Install sewer backflow valves - Flooding can cause sewer lines to back up into houses through drain pipes. Backflow valves are designed to block drain pipes temporarily and prevent flow into the house. Have a licensed plumber or contractor install the valves.
Reinforce vulnerable areas to minimize wind damage
- Strengthen entry doors and windows - install storm shutters over all exposed windows and glass surfaces. If replacing an entry door, use an approved, impact-tested door and install a deadbolt long enough to penetrate the 2x4 framing of the door. Also ensure the strike plate is installed with screws long enough to penetrate the door frame. For extra security include a steel strip between the door and house framing.
- Brace garage doors - a garage door can be reinforced by adding braces across the back of the door and by strengthening the glider wheel tracks. Bottom of door should have a rubber seal to help block water.
- Gable end walls - anchor and brace the bottom of the gable end's triangular- wall to the ceiling joists or ceiling framing. Strengthen the gable end wall studs and brace the tip of the gable end wall by tying it to the rafters or tops of the trusses.
- Keep outdoor gear from becoming wind-borne missles - securely anchor all storage sheds and other out buildings, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors. Bolt outdoor furniture and barbecue grills to decks or patios or attach them to ground anchors with cables or chains. Secure trash cans with cables or take all these items inside when high winds are predicted.
- Trees and landscaping tips - proper care of trees can also prevent storm damage. Plant trees at the correct depth by making sure the roots are at the soil surface. Trees planted too deep could snap at the stem-girdled point during forceful winds. Avoid wounding trees by banging them with a lawn mower or cutting them with a weed trimmer. Wounds lead to decay, a condition that leads to storm damaged trees. Prune trees to correct defects such as multiple leaders and weak branch attachments.
National Flood Insurance ProgramThe National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to propeprty owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce flood plain management regulations.
If your flood insurance policy is about to expire, don't let it! Did you know that flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, affecting every region and state, including yours? Did you know that the damage from just one inch of water can cost over $20,000?
- You can file a claim even if there is no Presidential Disaster Declaration.
- Flood damage is not typically covered by homeowners insurance.
- If you live in a high risk flood zone and have received disaster assistance from FEMA or low interest disaster loans from the US Small Business Administration, you must maintain flood insurance in order to be considered for any future assistance.