As part of its ongoing consumer education campaign, the Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions is reminding homeowners to protect themselves during the spring flood season. Noting that floods often happen fast in Texas, as Dallas recently experienced, TCAIS offered ways to protect one’s home and property before a flood strikes.
TCAIS said FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, provides tips to protect your home and animated demonstrations online at www.flash.org, and advised homeowners to consider the following FLASH tips:
If you are building or retrofitting your home consider these recommendations:
Elevate your home
Consider wet flood proofing. An example of wet flood proofing is installing flood vents that create permanent openings in the foundations walls so water can flow through the structure.
Dry flood proofing prevents floodwaters from entering the building. Install new brick veneer over asphalt coating and apply polyethylene film over existing walls.
Construct non-supporting, break-a-way walls designed to collapse under the force of water without causing damage to the house or its foundation.
Here are some additional recommendations to protect your home from floods. Some are simple and inexpensive; others require a professional contractor.
Locate the main electric panel and elevate all electric outlets, switches, light sockets, baseboard heaters and wiring at least 12″ above the projected flood elevation. In areas that could get wet, connect all receptacles to a GFI circuit to avoid the risk of shock or electrocution. Have electrical wiring done by a licensed electrician.
Elevate the furnace, water heater, washer and dryer, outside air conditioning compressor, heat pump or package unit at least 12″ on a base of masonry, concrete or pressure treated lumber.
Anchor fuel tanks securely to the floor. Make sure vents and fill line openings are above projected flood levels.
Install a floating floor drain plug at the current drain location. If the floor drain backs up, the float will rise and plug the drain. Also have a licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve to prevent floodwater causing sewage to back up and enter your home. As a last resort, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs or basins.
Consider flood insurance
Regular homeowners insurance policies do not include flood insurance. You can purchase flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program from participating insurers and/or their representative agents. Additional flood coverage is also available from some private insurers.
Assess your flood risk
The National Flood Insurance Program has an online tool that you can use to assess your home’s flood risk. Simply enter your property information and you’ll see the relative flood risk to your property and links to flood insurance resources.
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