5 ways to protect your home from flooding
The UK is renowned for its rainy days, so what can you do to ensure your home is better protected against future floods?
Insurance company HomeProtect reveals 5 top tips:
1. Sign up to the Environment Agency’s ‘flood warning system’
This is the easiest way to find out if there are any active flood warnings in your area. The Environment Agency manages the risk of flooding from the sea, estuaries, reservoirs and main rivers, and offers online flood warning services that are easily accessible and up-to-date. Simply visit their ‘flood warnings summary’ page for flood forecasts, river and sea levels, and live information that gets refreshed every 15 minutes during peak times.
2. Identify the weak points of your home
Thoroughly inspect your home for possible weak spots to prioritise what maintenance tasks to perform first. Identify any leaks or cracks to be fixed, clean out gutters, eavestroughs and downspouts. Check windows and doors. Have a roof inspection if needed to identify weak spots or leaks.
If you’re buying a property, remember to look at the flood risk very carefully. Before buying, get quotes from an insurance company to see whether it will cover you and how much you have to pay. The more at risk your home is of flooding, the higher the insurance premium will be so it is worthwhile getting a few quotes from different insurers to compare your options before committing to anything.
3. Research the best types of resistance products for your home
Flood resistance is the act of preventing water from entering your home in the first place. Traditionally, sandbags and plastic sheeting have been used for this purpose but many experts agree that – when compared with more modern long-term alternatives – they’re relatively ineffective, take up a lot of space and are difficult to dispose of. Sandbags are great for an emergency and should be kept on hand during high risk periods. But as part of preventative planning, water-resistant barriers, self-sealing airbricks and flood-resistant doors and windows are far more effective. There are many different water-resistant products to consider, here are three of the top ideas to think about:
These include wall sealants, waterproof skirting boards, damp-proof membranes for ceramic tiles and more. All of these will help to provide some protection for your home when water levels rise.
Self-sealing airbricks or airbrick covers
Airbricks provide underfloor ventilation but it’s essential to ensure they are able to be sealed during a flood to prevent water from flowing through into your home. If using a cover, ensure that you remove it once the flood risk has passed, this will allow your bricks to dry out. Self-sealing airbricks are fitted with floats that rise as water rises, ensuring that the internal vents of the brick are actively sealed when floodwater gets too high.
Flood resistant doors and windows
These resilient barriers are designed to withstand impact by water and debris while simultaneously creating a water-resistant seal on the exterior of your home when shut.
4. Elevate electrical devices and plug sockets
This includes TVs, speakers, entertainment systems and more. By elevating all electrical equipment to 1.5 metres off the floor, you can help avoid damage if floodwater does find its way into your home. It is also possible to get all electrical sockets raised to the same level, which is costly, but well worth it if you live in a high risk area.
5. Make a flood plan with your family
It’s essential to be prepared for flooding where possible. Establish the emergency actions that need to occur in such a situation, and assign tasks to each individual responsible. The list should include instructions on how and where to set up temporary resistance, which areas of the house need active resistance to be set up, what to do in the event that one of these methods fails and what to do in the event of an evacuation.
In the event that floodwater does start pouring into your home, you should contact your insurance company immediately and let them know your home has flooded. Avoid clearing up until the damage has been assessed and take pictures of the flood-related damage to your home and any contents, as this will help provide evidence in the event of an insurance claim.
You can also contact the National Flood Forum for help, information and assistance in your area.
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