How can I prepare my house for a flood?

Direct Energy, September 21, 2023

4 minute read

How can I prepare my house for a flood?

Direct Energy, September 21, 2023

4 minute read

If you live in a flood-prone region, it's crucial to formulate a plan now to protect your family and pets in case bad weather strikes. After your emergency plan is established, you can then learn how to protect yourselves in the event of a house flood. These 6 tips help you prepare your home for a flood in order to limit structural and financial damage in the future.

Neighborhood under flooding conditions
Neighborhood under flooding conditions
Neighborhood under flooding conditions

Elevate electrical components

Electrical sockets, switches and wiring should be elevated at least 12 inches above predicted house flood levels. This reduces the amount of damage a house flood can cause and prevents your home from becoming a safety hazard during the recovery period.

If you have a fuel tank in your basement, be sure to anchor it. An unanchored fuel tank can cause serious damage, like tearing the supply line and spilling oil.

Waterproof your basement

Waterproofing your basement typically requires a large sum of money, but this investment pays off if you live in an area that floods frequently. Indeed, waterproofing your basement can prevent mold growth, stop infestations before they start and enhance your home’s structural integrity. Along with waterproofing, set up a sump pump in the basement and a battery-operated backup in case the power goes out during the flood.

Pay attention to flood alerts

You can elevate electrical components and waterproof your basement long before a flood strikes, but some preparation has to be done in the days or hours leading up to a flash flood. Be sure to pay attention to the weather and take flood alerts seriously. 

A Flood Watch will be issued when the conditions are right for flooding. This is a good time to protect furniture and important documents. Remember to take action the moment the watch is issued, as you'll want to start evacuating before a Flood Warning occurs. A Flood Warning means that a flood is happening now or going to take place soon.

Move furniture and other valuables to a safe place

Once a Flood Watch occurs, move furniture, valuables and important documents to a safe place. Copies of critical documents like birth certificates or insurance policies should be stored in a waterproof safety box.

Keep in mind that this step should only be taken if you have time to safely evacuate your family. If a flood is likely to occur soon, forget your furniture and head to higher ground.

Pack an emergency kit

Store an emergency kit – one you can use after evacuating or when trapped in the house – in your home at all times. This kit should include at least 3 days' worth of water and food (including 1 gallon/4 liters per person per day), along with essentials like:

  • Flashlights
  • Medications
  • Copies of personal documents
  • Cellphone with chargers

Visit the American Red Cross to see the full list of supplies to include in your flood safety kit.

Purchase flood insurance

Regular homeowner's insurance does not cover house flood damage costs. If your home is in a flood-prone area, it's a good idea to also purchase flood insurance, available to homeowners through the National Flood Insurance Program.

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