How to protect your property against flood damage
Spring is finally here. With it comes the end of cold snaps, sunnier weather and, the melting of snow and ice. While it’s typical to take the time to enjoy the nicer conditions, it’s important to ensure your property is properly prepared for the change in weather.
Warmer temperatures cause snow and ice to melt rapidly, and that often leads to an excessive buildup of water. This is one of the most common causes of flooding, and basements are particularly prone to feeling the brunt of its effects. The season is also notorious for rain and the occasional rain storm.
The better your property is prepared to deal with flooding, the less likely it will be to experience damage.
1. Check your drainage system
A good drainage system prevents water from causing excessive damage to your home or business, and that includes your basement. To prevent flood damage, you should ensure that your gutters are clean and free of debris. Seasonal conditions can clog your gutters, causing water to flow down the sides of the house. Not only can this cause damage to your basement; it can also affect your foundation and siding.
You should also inspect your interior and exterior drains to make sure there is nothing impeding them. Flood drains require special attention, as they collect water accumulated through flooding. For extra protection, you can also install a water alarm to inform you of excess water accumulation.
2. Check your sump pump
The last thing you want is for your sump pump to break down when water has accumulated around your property, so you should test it at least once a year to make sure it’s in good working order. You might also consider installing a battery-operated backup pump in case of a power failure.
3. Look for leaks
A small leak somewhere in your basement can lead to serious flood damage, especially during the springtime. It’s important to find these leaks quickly and repair them before any water seeps in. If you notice any dark patches on walls, ceilings or under pipes or water dripping from certain areas, it means you have a leak.
The source of the leak can either be old or damaged pipes or your roof. To avoid these issues, you should have your roof inspected to ensure there everything is all right. Loose or damaged shingles and faulty caulking cause your roof to leak, and those leaks can easily work their way into your basement if not quickly repaired. Pipes should be inspected and replaced if excessive leaking is found.
4. Audit your appliances
Inclement weather isn’t the only cause of leaks within your property. Sometimes, faulty appliances are to blame. If you have an older model refrigerator or freezer in or above your basement, be sure to check it to ensure there is no excess water buildup inside caused by melting ice or spilled liquid. The same level of inspection should also be applied to your water heater. If any of these devices continue to leak, it may be time to call for repair or replace them outright.
Water heaters, furnaces, and oil tanks can be anchored to your floor to secure them and prevents extensive damage to your property and the appliances themselves in the event of a disaster. A damaged tanks could cause a fuel leak, and that poses a significant fire hazard.
5. Check Your Insurance
Get in touch with your insurance agent or broker and ask about your flood insurance. Regular home insurance often does not cover flooding damage caused by overflowing bodies of water (overland flooding). However, you may be able to get this coverage separately.
Flood insurance can be available for business owners as an addition to your regular commercial and business interruption policies. Sewer backup insurance may also be available as a separate product. Be sure to speak to your broker or insurance provider about what can be covered and the types of property insurance would be best suited for you.