Florida homeowners are faced with a number of threats, however there may not be a more potent one than flood damage. Floods can happen for a number of different reasons: plumbing failures, water utility problems, and even natural disasters like hurricanes or tropical storms. In an extremely short amount of time, floods can deal a ton of damage to almost any home, and between the years of 2006 and 2015, they resulted in an average of $1.9 billion in insurance claims annually.
When it comes to flooding, prevention is one of the best and most effective strategies you can take. Doing a few additional things in advance to keep your home’s most important systems and features protected could prevent a tremendous amount of additional stress and headache, and even make your restoration process faster, getting you back to normal quickly as well.
Here are five tips you can follow to better prepare your home for the possibility of a flood and mitigate some of the flood damage you might sustain ahead of time.
Protect Your Electrical & HVAC Systems
One of the biggest and most expensive sources of damage are your home’s major systems, notably your electrical and HVAC equipment. Both are prone to water damage, and that’s why both need to be adequately defended against the possibility of water. Building standards and codes dictate that all electrical outlets should be at least 12 inches above the predicted flood line, and that’s usually measured from your floor (except in rare circumstances). If you have any outlets that are below this 12-inch mark, have them moved upward to hopefully avoid damage from low-level flooding.
Your HVAC equipment is also required to adhere to the same 12-inch height minimum. If your indoor unit is less than 12 inches off the ground inside your home, then you will need to have it moved upward. This may not be cheap, but the cost of having this retrofit done could pay for itself in the long run when your system isn’t destroyed by floodwaters.
Anchor Outdoor Equipment
Important outdoor equipment isn’t always possible to lift above the flood line, and this is particularly true for something like your outdoor HVAC compressor. While this unit is built to withstand exposure to water, too much water or water flowing too quickly in a certain direction can pick it up and carry it away if it isn’t properly fastened to the ground. This is why you should anchor these types of equipment to the ground. If you have any important outdoor systems, including your HVAC compressors, have a professional anchor them into the slab they are built on. This will make removing them more difficult, but then again that’s kind of the point when it comes to keeping them in place should a flood hit your home.
Invest in Mold-Resistant Materials
Mold-resistant building materials are growing in popularity, and likewise so are treatments that make previously-vulnerable things mold and moisture-resistant. Mold can begin to form colonies in as little as two to three days after a flood begins, so acting quickly to get your home dry when it does get wet is key. However, being proactive and investing in mold-resistant technology and materials is a great step for staying ahead of the damage and preventing it from happening where you can.
Check & Clear Drainage Around Your Property
Hurricane season in Florida usually runs from mid-summer through the end of fall, and it’s best to do your preparations just before this period. This means taking the time to go around your property and inspect your storm drains and flood drainage. These are usually placed on low-points on your property, and should always have a reasonable slope leading into them to encourage water to flow that direction. They should also be free of debris that may cause them to back up or clog.
You should also take this opportunity to clear out your rain gutters and remove any dirt, leaves, sticks, or other debris in them. This could prevent serious damage to your roof, including water damage that could cause mold and mildew to form from above.
Move Valuables to Upper Floors
Finally, if you know you’re going to have to evacuate due to an incoming storm, then take the opportunity to prepare your home. Move valuable, sentimental, or important things that can be moved to upper floors or to your attic, away from the flood line. This includes things like art, carpets, rugs, small furniture, and books full of memories like photo albums. You should also move any electronics you can as well to keep them dry.
Once you have done this, shut off your electrical connection before you leave in order to prevent circuits from blowing out should the water level rise to the point where it creates a short. Replacing a damaged electrical system can be costly and time-consuming, so shutting it off could save you a ton of headaches.
If your home has sustained serious damage from a flood, reach out to Florida’s most trusted experts at FP Restoration right away. Dial (888) 408-2335 and we’ll come to you to get started with your remediation project.