Flood Control Tips

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Rice County experiences flooding events each year. Flooding can occur in areas along creeks, rivers and streams, and anywhere from a significant rainfall event which can lead to water in basements. Because flooding is a common challenge that many homeowners face at one time or another, it is important to keep homes in good repair and create good drainage to stop or reduce potential flood damage. Here are a few tips to prepare for and reduce potential flood damage.

Purchase Flood Insurance – Typically, a homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover flooding, a separate flood insurance policy is required. According to floodsmart.gov. 20% of flood claims come from places where the flood risk is low. Check with your insurance agent aboutt flood insurance availability and cost.

Flood Control Tips to keep water from damaging your home:

Gutters and Drains – Keep gutters and drainage systems clear to carry water away from your home.

Storm Drains – Check storm drains on your street; leaves and debris can block them causing water to collect which may cause flooding during a heavy rainfall.

Sump Pumps – Install and maintain a sump pump – an excellent defense against basement flooding. Consider a back-up battery-powered sump pump that will work if the power is out; a relatively inexpensive ($150-$400) solution.

Prevent sewer backup – Install (or have a plumber install) sewer or septic line check valves which allow waste to flow only one way to prevent a sewer back-up in your home.

Fix leaks immediately – Leaky roofs and foundation cracks allow water to get into homes which can weaken the structure and provide a perfect habitat for mold. Wet spots on the ceiling or cracks in the foundation need to be repaired as soon as it is safe to do so, or when the material is dry enough to fix. Check that roofing shingles are secure.

Repair 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. Do not patch solely with mortar or cement which may re-crack.

Landscape Drains – Install French drains if you live on a slope and have a persistently wet basement or soggy lawn. A French drain collects water in your yard and diverts it away from your house.

Preventative measure:

If you believe water will begin to accumulate in your home, shut off power at the main electrical panel, but never stand in water to do so — if the area around the box is already flooded, leave the electrical panel alone.