Flooding is a growing threat for homeowners and increasingly common. According to research conducted by Brooklyn-based nonprofit First Street, millions more properties than FEMA maps indicate are at risk from flooding.
Homebuyers need to understand the risks associated with their property purchase. Here are a few steps they can take to mitigate those risks.
Seal Cracks in Your Foundation
Cracked foundations are a sure sign that something needs attention. Foundation cracks let water in, which can damage materials used in your house as well as cause structural issues and cause leakage into basements or lead to flooding.
Cracked concrete curing processes often result in non-structural cracks that do not immediately threaten your home’s structure, including hairline cracks due to shrinkage or expansion/contraction processes.
Nevertheless, if your foundation cracks have started widening or are spreading to other blocks in your foundation, it’s wise to call in professionals for an inspection. Their experts will then be able to assess their severity before taking steps necessary for correct repair.
Horizontal foundation cracks may be caused by improper yard grading and gutter systems that allow rainwater to pool around the house, oversaturating soil and exerting immense pressure on basement walls. You can correct this issue by making sure driveway curbs channel rainwater away from your home and checking that your gutter system is operating efficiently.
Elevate Appliances and Electronics
Floodwaters hide many potential dangers that are often not immediately obvious, including mold infestation in homes that have come in contact with contaminated water, irreparable vehicle damage due to submersion, hazardous materials or sharp debris invading the water body and endangering those who venture too close, power line interference resulting from standing water, interference with electrical systems that interfere with live power lines being downed, standing water being harmful for electrical systems causing them to short out, interference with electrical systems resulting in live power lines being downed as well. If you find yourself in a flood zone, follow evacuation orders carefully while adhering to road closure or cautionary signs – consume only bottled or boiled water!
Move High-Value Items to Higher Surfaces
Elevating major appliances, electrical panels and central air conditioning units to limit water damage is an easy and effective preventative measure to take against flooding. This practice is especially helpful in homes located within FEMA-described Special Flood Hazard Areas but can help even in non-SFHA regions. Furthermore, consider how water flows across your property during rainstorms to identify vulnerable doors or basement windows at risk of flooding.
Rising sea levels, more frequent rainstorms and an asphalt landscape make homes increasingly susceptible to flooding. By taking these steps, homeowners can reduce the risk of serious and expensive flooding incidents while making their properties more resilient in case natural disasters or plumbing malfunction cause flooding within their home.
Plant Trees with Aggressive Root Systems
Rising sea levels, heavier and more frequent downpours and an asphalt landscape have rendered homes increasingly susceptible to flooding. Even minor damages like waterlogged gardens and basement flooding may cost thousands in repairs.
Planting trees on your property is certainly important, but make sure that you choose species with non-invasive root systems. Trees with aggressive roots have been known to damage sewer lines, home foundations, sidewalks and driveways – some examples being River Birch trees, Southern Magnolia and hybrid poplars which tend to cause problems.
These aggressive tree roots often extend farther underground than expected, meeting pipes, wall foundations and sidewalks on their journey. By the time something goes amiss, their flexible roots have damaged sidewalks, blocked drainage pipes and tilted your foundation at an unnatural angle – before even you notice anything is amiss!
When planting problematic trees, be sure they are planted at least 20 feet from water and sewer lines in order to prevent potential damage. Or invest in a root barrier system which helps train trees’ roots only in specific directions without impacting pipes or foundations.
Make Your Home Flood-Resistant
Action to reduce flooding risks and strengthen resilience should also include taking measures to both stop water from entering the building, while attenuating its effects if something does go wrong. Resistance measures focus on keeping out liquid, while resilience measures seek to lessen their impact.
First step to making your home floodproof is understanding your local flood risks. FEMA flood maps can assist with this, and once identified you can collaborate with an engineer or builder on creating a home plan which reduces chances of being damaged by rising floodwaters.
If you’re selling your home, educating prospective buyers about its flood risk is also critical. Studies have demonstrated that people tend to discount properties located within FEMA flood zones by up to five percentage points more than non-flood zones. Some states now mandate flood risk disclosure in real estate transactions and numerous online portals are helping homeowners and realtors inform potential buyers about any hazards within their properties.