Flooding can be a real worry for homeowners, and in a world where media reports of extreme weather seem to be rising, many people are looking for ways to protect themselves and their homes.
With plenty of towns near some type of water in the UK, 5.2 million properties in England alone are at risk of flooding. Whilst you might be aware of the danger if you live near the coast, many buildings in more central areas are also at risk. As well as natural water sources, flooding can be caused by surface water from heavy rainfall, sewer flooding or groundwater flooding, where the water in the ground comes above the surface.
Whilst you can’t control the elements, you can control how you prepare for heavy rainfall, and doing a full assessment of your home is a great place to start. Here, we take a look at three simple ways that you can protect your home from flood damage.
Since flood water would enter the home on the ground floor, make sure to keep any important documents and sentimental or valuable items upstairs. You can also place any paper items into plastic wallets to give them some extra protection.
If you want to keep sentimental items out on display on the ground floor, why not consider having a waterproof box to hand, so that you can quickly gather them together should you be aware of a flood risk? Remember, once a flood warning comes in, the government suggests that you should prepare a bag with your vital items such as medicines and insurance documents as a first step for even the lowest level of flood alert.
If you know that your home is at risk of flooding, or you just want to feel reassured, you may want to consider fitting non-return valves on the drains. These valves have a flap on them which means that the water can only flow one way, rather than back towards your property.
You should also look at the placement of your electrical sockets, and place them 1.5m above floor level in order to reduce the risk of the water reaching them if your property does flood. Water in electrical sockets or the circuit board is very dangerous, and in the aftermath of a flood, it can be easy to forget this and focus on getting into your home and examining the damage. However, Electrical Safety First recommends that you don’t use any mains powered appliances until a registered electrician has told you that it is safe to do so.
One of the biggest issues that comes with a flooded home is the damage to your personal property. Items such as sofas are often low to the ground, and water damage can mean that they are ruined beyond repair. One thing you can do to try and prevent this is to keep a supply of bricks or other materials at home that you can put under the feet of the furniture in order to raise it up. This will hopefully minimise the damage if the water level is low.
You may also want to consider your choice of flooring. Carpet will be damaged in a flood, and wood will swell, which will require lots of repair work to get it back to its original state. Instead, lino or concrete flooring can make any clean-up operation easier. If you still want a cosy feel, why not use rugs, which can be more easily moved upstairs when the first flood alert comes in.
Whilst you can’t control if your home will flood, there are several simple ways that you can help protect you and your property. It’s better to be prepared, especially if you’re looking to stay in a property for a long time, as the landscape can change around you over time. If your home is at risk of flooding, making changes such as your flooring choices will mean that you should have less physical damage and financial damage, as well as getting you back in your home more quickly.