How to Prepare Your Home for Flooding
Find out how to protect your home from flooding and what to do if it happens.
Flooding is the most common type of natural disaster in the United States. While sometimes you can anticipate damage and take preventative measures (such as when a hurricane or heavy rain is approaching), flooding can also occur unexpectedly (such as when a dam breaks or river overflows). No matter how it happens, it’s important to have a plan in place as well as a set of expectations to ensure you and your family remain safe.
How to Prepare for a Flood
- Check in with local authorities or news outlets to learn more about flood evacuation plans, warnings and advice.
- Buy sand bags and place them in toilet bowls and any other laundry/bathroom drain holes to prevent sewage backflow.
- Move hazardous items such as rugs, furniture and electrical items to higher ground.
- Turn off electricity and gas supplies to prevent gas leaks or any other potential damage.
- Gather up the 5 P’s of evacuation: people, prescriptions, papers, personal needs and priceless items, and only return when authorities say it is safe if you’re in an area that has been evacuated.
Cleaning Up After a Flood
Flood damage cleanup activities will vary based on several factors such as your location, type of home you live in and the level of damage.
- If you have flood insurance, contact your insurance company immediately. You’ll want to get everything organized before your appointment with the insurance adjuster to assess the damage to the house. This includes keeping any damaged items for proof of loss and taking photos for inventory purposes.
- Purify your tap water until your local water company, utility or public health department declares the water is safe to use.
- Within 48 hours of the flood, if possible, remove all furniture, carpets and bedding and place them outside to be cleaned and dried to prevent mold and other bacteria from forming. Depending on the level of severity of the flood, some of these pieces may need to be discarded or replaced entirely.
- Hire a professional restoration contractor to open flooded walls and remove flooring. Your home may have internal damage you can’t see, and it’s important to try to prevent mold, odor and structural decay when possible.
How to Protect Your Home from Flood Damage in the Future
- Consider flood insurance (especially if you live in areas where weather-related flooding is common). Government-issued disaster assistance doesn’t always cover the cost of damage from a flood, so it’s important to consider a supplemental insurance policy.
- Bring appliances such as utilities, broilers, window air conditioning units and other HVAC equipment to higher ground if possible, as these items are particularly vulnerable to flood damage.
- Hire a trusted plumber to install a sewage water backstop or sump pump. Some cities offer programs to fund the installation of these types of valves. Check with your local official to see if this is offered in your area.
- Fill any holes or cracks in foundation with caulk or patching to prevent potential leaks.
If you do experience weather-related flooding to your home, Resolve by Lowe’s can help. Resolve will connect you with highly qualified contractors in your area to help restore your home from start to finish and provide a three-year workmanship warranty on all repairs.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.