What to Do If Your Home Floods While You’re Away

There will most likely come a time where you have to leave your home for more than a day at a time. Staying somewhere else overnight can be stressful as a homeowner—what happens if something goes wrong and you’re not there to immediately respond to it? What can start as a small problem could quickly turn into a catastrophe that takes an incredible amount of time and money to fix, and nobody wants to deal with that.

However, leaving your home shouldn’t be a source of stress. While you can’t really predict if something serious can happen, you can prepare for it and have some emergency steps and plans in place that allow you to respond quickly and get back to your life as usual. On this blog, we’ll explain aa few of those steps you can take in order to better protect your home from an unexpected flood while you’re away.

What Causes Floods?

Florida is no stranger to floods, and every flood we have generally come from one of two sources. The first is natural causes. Our weather may be beautiful for much of the year, but hurricanes can bring high surf with even higher winds that cause flooding from rivers and the sea alike. Tropical storms are also a distinct possibility. In general, severe weather in Florida usually means at least a moderate chance of floods.

The second source is non-natural causes, and that includes things like burst pipes, failed plumbing systems, or broken water mains. These issues are not unique to Florida, and in fact they can happen just about anywhere else as well. However, unlike natural flooding, these things cannot be predicted. While a leak detection service may be able to help you spot a weak point or slow leak in your plumbing lines, sudden bursting is often the result of either an accident or a simple material failure that is downright impossible to spot ahead of time. Likewise, these man-made floods tend to be smaller in scope than their natural counterparts, but that doesn’t make them any less damaging.

Stopping Flood Damage

The first step to preparing for any type of flood is to develop a plan for preventing and halting any flood damage. Prevention is your best friend in this battle. For example, if you know a hurricane or serious storm is coming and you’re going to have to evacuate, use sandbags or another method to build a barrier between flooded streets and your property line. If water accumulates, this barrier could help you keep water from reaching your home and damaging your foundation or sneaking in through cracks like your doors and windows. Putting plywood planks over your windows or closing and locking storm shutters can also keep floodwaters out by protecting your windows from damage due to debris impact or simply high wind pressure.

Another thing you can do to protect yourself from plumbing failures is to install a smart shutoff valve. These modern plumbing devices install just inside your water meter and can completely shut off all water to your home with the touch of a button on your smartphone. Many also offer leak detection capabilities, and can alert you to the presence of even a small leak so you can potentially prevent any and all serious damage.

What to Do Before You Go

So what plans should you have in place to protect yourself and your home from flooding? First and foremost, you should make sure that you have your most important records and documents in a safe and secure place. For this we, strongly recommend having copies of nearly everything, including property deeds, vehicle titles, birth certificates, social security cards, financial records, and other proof of ownership, stored in a fireproof lockbox somewhere in your attic or in a high-up place in your home. Don’t keep these things on the ground floor—this area will flood the fastest. It’s exceedingly rare that your attic will flood, so these things will be much safer here. If you’re evacuating due to a storm, take this box with you.

Second, choose a trusted friend or neighbor and let them know you’ll be heading out of town. Even if you don’t actually need a house sitter for pets or plants, leaving them a key and having them stop by every couple of days or so just to check on your place will do wonders for your peace of mind.

What to Do When You Learn of a Flood

If you hear that your home has sustained flood damage, the first thing you should do is immediately call your utility company and have them shut off your water connection. If your home is currently being battered by a storm, there likely isn’t anything your utility company can do at the time. However, if your issue is plumbing-related, this could stop the water from pouring in and continuing to damage your home. The quicker you’re able to stop the water flow, the better.

Second, if you have someone watching your home, have them open a door or window and give the water some way to escape. You’ll want to start drying out the impacted area as soon as possible, and this could make the difference between a quick restoration and the stress of dealing with mold growth.

Finally, you’ll also want to alert your home insurance company of the problem. File a claim right away, but let them know you are away from home so you won’t be able to complete any of the paperwork or tasks they might need from you until you return.

Has your home sustained serious flood damage? Get help from the skilled home restoration team at FP Property Restoration! Dial (888) 408-2335 today to get started.