Flooding is a very common weather event that causes millions of dollars in property damage each year. In fact, from 2003 -2012, there were huge insurance claims related to flooding. During that period, claims averaged almost $4 billion per year. Over the past 5 years, all 50 states have had at least one flood or flash flood event. So, not matter where you live, you are at some risk of flood waters.
Heavy rainfall, hurricanes, snow-melt, and winter storms are all common causes of flooding. Obviously, some of these weather phenomena are more common in some areas of the US than others. But, the impact can often be felt far away from the actual source due to weather patterns and run-off. Hurricanes may land on a coastal area but the storms and rainfall system can continue across many states before finally breaking apart.
Dampness and moisture are one of the requirements for mold growth. The toxic black mold, Stachybotrys, thrives in heavily saturated homes. This is one reason to try to prevent floodwater entering your home. Even after the flood has subsided, you may be left with hazardous mold to contend with that may damage your home and health.
There are some tips you can follow to lessen the likelihood of flooding in your home. Some of these are:
- Construct home on elevated area when possible. If natural elevation does not exist, supplement the area or elevate with construction.
- When building or landscaping your home, slope yards down and away from home to avoid standing or flooding water.
- During construction, install piping to help drain water from under foundations to avoid pooling and damage.
- Roofs that are constructed on a tilt/slop, instead of flat, will allow moisture to run off rather than entering into cracks and crevices.
- During construction, install eaves and gutters on the roof to protect your home from rain run-off that may enter walls.
- Do regular preventative maintenance checks on home to find and fix any areas where water could enter. Know the weather for your region and don’t put off maintenance until it’s too late.
- Repair known leaks, cracks, and other damage to roofs, walls, and foundation as soon as possible. Even small amounts of moisture and dampness can encourage damaging mold growth.
- Make sure that appliances and fixtures are vented properly. Pipes should be sealed and water-proof to prevent moisture entering the home.
- In flood prone areas, install floor drains in rooms that may collect water, such as basements.
- If you live in an area near rivers or creeks that frequently flood, construct well-designed barriers to deter water from entering your home.
- Keep stormwater gutters and drains near home free of debris to allow water to flow rather than backing up into streets and yards.
- When selecting construction materials, choose those that are least likely to be damaged by flooding and are least conducive to mold growth.
- If flooding does occur, move important items to higher areas in home. Following the event, separate wet items from dry as soon as possible to deter mold growth. Dry property promptly and thoroughly.
- If your home is severely flooded or damaged, seek professional assistance immediately to ensure the best outcome and avoid making the problem worse. Know your limits.