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How to prevent flood damage

27th Mar '18 • By

Read our guide for some tips on preparing for floods ahead of time and reducing the risk of damage when you know a potential flood is approaching.


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If you live in an area that may be susceptible to flooding, the thought of your beloved home or possessions being potentially ruined by flood water is not a pleasant one. When it comes to preventing damage from floods, you may not even know where to begin or what areas of your home need attending to. We are here to help.

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Personal Items


If your home is in an identified flood-risk area, storage for lighter possessions can be built into the space above the ceiling. Heavier items may be able to be also stored in this space if the ceiling has been specifically strengthened for this purpose.

If you’ve already been notified that a flood is on its way, in order to increase the chance of keeping your valuable items safe, it is important to elevate them as high as possible from the ground. Beds can be used as a base for stacking all other furniture with electrical items on top along with any personal items as a starting point when you have been notified of the risk of flood. Any items that may prove to be a hazard if carried by flood water should be secured, such as appliances. 


Toxic or explosive household chemicals that could potentially contaminate flood waters should be placed in containers which are waterproof and moved to the highest points in the house.

Any cardboard or paper that you may have lying around should also be elevated, as when they become wet they may disintegrate and clog drains, which will become even more problematic. 

Although any important documents or papers should be stored in waterproof containers and placed up above the anticipated flood level, there is still the unfortunate possibility that some may become soaked no matter how careful you are whilst preparing for a flood. To prevent further damage and the development of mould on the paper it is important to dry them out as soon as possible by separating them. If you have large bundles of paper, they can be kept in the freezer to make this process more manageable so bundles can be attended to one at a time without such urgency. They can be removed and thawed separately, then individual sheets can be separated and aired out. Paper should not be attempted to be unfolded until it is dry, as it can rip easily. Paper that has already gained water damage may have stains removed with soap-free household ammonia in a well-ventilated area.


Furniture and Appliances


If any of your wooden furniture has drawers, these should be removed as wood swells when it becomes wet, so the furniture can be damaged from the pressure of the drawers inside the furniture. 

After the flood has occurred, any furniture with metal feet should have pieces of foil or wood quickly placed underneath in order to prevent them from staining the carpet. 

Dishwasher and washing machine hoses should be checked for wear and tear and should have stop taps installed, which will instantly turn off the water supply if the hose bursts.


Lighting and Electricity


To better prepare your home for future flood risks, it is a wise idea to hire an electrician to move electrical sockets further up the wall above potential flood level as well as air conditioning units to prevent any future issues.

As a flood approaches, any light fixtures that exist below flood level should have their bulbs removed and placed in plastic bags to be moved into a safe place.

When considering the main power to your house, if you have the chance to do so before a flood reaches your home, remove fuses and place them above flood level, or turn off all circuit breakers on your panel board to reduce the risk of short circuits when the power to your home is reinstated.

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Roofing and Drainage


If you haven’t already done so in the last several years, it is highly recommended that you get your roof inspected as soon as you can. This will ensure that any potential leaking points can be identified and rectified, and any loose tiles can be secured to prevent future major water damage if heavy rains and flooding do occur. If you are going for a total roof restoration, enquire  about impact-resistant products that can withstand extreme weather to see what your roofing specialise may suggest. Having your gutters and downpipes cleaned regularly will also reduce the risk of them becoming clogged, as well as installing gutter guards. Clogged gutters can unfortunately result in sewerage or stormwater entering your house, and cause water to flow down the side of the house leading to damage of your foundations, which is the last thing you want!

Installing a backflow valve into your drain system and having them tested regularly will also prevent sewage from backing up into your home during a flood - talk about a crappy situation!


Walls and Waterproofing


Ensuring your walls are appropriately prepared for potential flooding is one of the key aspects of reducing the risk of damage. Foundation walls should be routinely inspected for cracks which should be sealed to prevent leakage. Dry-proofing is another great method which will assist in repelling flood water.

Waterproofing your home is important consideration for preventing future flood damage, as it can reduce the risk of water rising within the home and further ruining everything that is internal to your precious home.

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“When people think of waterproofing, they usually think of showers and bathrooms, however waterproofing is necessary for all wet areas including laundries, balconies and retaining walls. Some people attempt DIY waterproofing, or overlook the process altogether - this is a huge "no-no" as when waterproofing is not done properly or at all, it can cause massive problems down the track. In order to avoid such problems, waterproofing should always be done by someone licensed - people source waterproofing products at their hardware store and do it themselves, but the costs for fixing a leak further down the line can be astronomical. DIY also voids your house insurance – there are significant fines – and it can result in disaster if it hasn’t been installed properly. At the end of the day, your properties are your greatest investments, and should be taken care of accordingly.” - The waterproofing experts at Dryman

Following these useful hints will ensure you’re as prepared as possible for any future flooding that may occur in your area, increasing the chances of keeping your belongings and home safe from destructive flood waters and some peace of mind.

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