Posted almost 7 years ago

How to Protect Your Home in a Flood

Photo Credit: by Nattavut

We have recently received some heavy rainfall in the area. This has caused flooding in the Chapel Hill area and other parts of Durham and Chatham County. What can you do to protect your home in a flood? What can you do if water leaks into your home? Here are some practical tips.

Protect Your Home in a Flood

If the home is in a flood prone area, there are some renovation ideas that can protect your home in a flood.

  • Make sure all electrical systems including plugs and wiring are at least 1 foot above typical flood levels.
  • Raise the furnace and water heater off the ground.
  • Anchor equipment to prevent moving. This would include A/C units, furnaces, fuel tanks and appliances.
  • Install a backflow valve to prevent the sewage system from overflowing into your house.
  • Slope all water flow away from the house through grading.

What to Do if Floodwater Leaks into the House

If you find yourself in an emergency situation and the floodwater is coming in, here are some last minute tips to help save your stuff.

  • If you’re in a two story home, move all furniture, rugs, electronics and other personal items to the second floor.
  • If you are in a ground level home, place furniture on cement blocks and roll up and store all rugs.
  • Place large kitchen appliances such as the stove and fridge on concrete blocks and if possible tie the appliances down to prevent tipping.
  • Shut off the main power at the breaker panel.
  • Place all important documents, pictures and personal treasures in plastic bags and then put them in the freezer. The seal will protect your stuff from water damage. Duct tape or tie the doors shut.

What to Do if there is a Water Leak

If you come home from work only to find out that there is a water leak, here are some tips on what to do:

  • Check to see if the leak is coming from the second floor. Check all bathrooms for running water or dripping pipes. If a tenant is renting above you, politely ask them to make sure that nothing is leaking or that there was an overflow.
  • If the leak is caused by a damaged water line, shut off the water to the damaged pipe either via a nearby shutoff valve or the home’s main water supply.
  • If you are unable to stop the water, place a large bucket to catch the water.
  • Soak up as much water as possible. Use fans to dry the carpet or furniture.
  • Contact the landlord or their agent immediately – even if the leak has been fixed. They will assess any damage and work to prevent mold. If needed, they will bring in a professional team to remove the water, clean the carpet and restore your home to its original condition.

Water is a life necessity. Indoor plumbing is something we all take for granted – until it stops working. The rain is a blessing – until it starts invading our home. Though many things are out of our control, we can protect our home in a flood and minimize the damage by planning ahead and quickly cleaning and fixing any damage.