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Flood Proofing Your Home

Everyone worries to some degree about the effect of flooding on their home, and it is certainly true that floods can ravage a home or business within a matter of minutes, causing extensive damage, damage that simply cannot be repaired overnight. Increasingly, there has come the call for floodproofing of homes, at least on the lower levels that are the most likely to be affected.

Floodproofing is any measure taken, wither structural or nonstructural to prevent damage from flooding to a building. It first requires that homeowners, builders, architects, engineers, and other planners involved in the construction of a home take into consideration the feasibility and repercussions that may go along with building in flood prone areas.

When floodproofing a home, there are several factors to consider, such as the maximum height of the projected flood level, the depth of flood waters, the velocity of the water flow during flood peaks (the lower the velocity, the easier it is to design floodproofing measures), and the duration and frequency of floods. The susceptibility of a given area to flooding makes floodproofing more expensive and difficult.

Floodproofing techniques are categorized in two ways, dry and wet. Dry floodproofing refers to any and all structural changes that are made to portions of the building located below the designed flood elevation in order to keep the enclosed space completely dry. Done incorrectly, the walls may collapse, which can cause more basement flooding damage than if they were allowed to flood in the first place.

Wet floodproofing means minimizing the damage in any event where floodwaters enter your home. There are five ways to wet floodproof your structure:

1)      Remove hard to move items that are subject to water damage such as furniture, appliances, power tools, etc.

2)      Take steps to protect what cannot be moved.

3)      Relocate or adjust utilities such as electrical outlets and gas appliances

4)      Seal off all sewer and water systems in order to prevent health hazards.

5)      Tape over heating and air conditioning ducts along the bottom to permit draining when floods recede.

You should also make sure that the landscaping around your home slopes properly away from the home for a distance of no less than 10 feet, with the slope angle of around an inch per foot. Of course a greater distance is better, but 10 feet is the bare minimum.

You should also make sure that all drains around the home are in good working order, free and clear of obstructions. Now granted, this will only have an effect if the flooding is relatively minor, but every little bit helps.

The term floodproofing may be somewhat misleading, however, there are steps that you can take to at least minimize the threat of flood damage to your home or business.

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