5 Flood Preventative Measures to Keep Your Head (And Home) Above Water

Spring showers might be a blessing for the flowers in your yard, but with heavy rain comes the danger of floods and the headache of expensive repairs. While floods may be one of the most common hazards in the United States, many are unprepared and unaware of their potential to cause lasting damages. Mold and mildew grow in wet basements, and can pose health risks for everyone in the family. Sitting water of only an inch or two can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of repair work. Take preventative measures this year and keep your family safe, healthy, and dry even as spring storms rain down overhead.

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Where Do You Live?

The likelihood of you being in the path of flood waters is greatly determined by the location of your home. Floods occur in all 50 states, but if you reside in a “high-risk” area close to rivers or reservoirs it’s wise to take precautions. Consider raising the electrical sockets, switches, and wiring in your home to at least a foot above the potential flood water level in your area. Include your furnace, circuit breaker and water heater in this maintenance project and anchor them above your flood level as well. “Dry-proof” your basement with a waterproofing compound or sealant to prevent water from leaking through wayward cracks in the foundation. Lastly, purchase a sump-pump with backup power to quickly remove any water that does accumulate.


Spring clean your gutters and downspouts! Each winter, branches, leaves and debris accumulate in staggering amounts, clogging them and blocking the flow of water. If left unchecked, rain water may spill over and pool near the foundation of your home. The accumulated water can eventually leak through your walls and cause flooding in your basement. Make sure your downspouts and gutters divert water at least six feet away from the foundation of your home. Keep an eye on neighborhood sewers and drains as well, checking that they are functioning properly and clear of leaves and branches.

Look Closely

Walk around the exterior perimeter of your home and look closely for cracks. Or, have your foundation and crawlspace inspected by a professional waterproofing technician. If a crack is visible from above ground, it’s likely to continue through to the base of your home. Over time your foundation will settle, and encourage small cracks to turn into even bigger problems.

Mailbox in Flood Waters
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Sound the Alarm

Certain home security systems now offer flood warnings as part of their services. Flood sensors can be placed in different rooms of the house, sounding an audible alarm when they come into contact with just 1/16” of an inch of water. Many of these systems are also capable of alerting homeowners via cell phone of impending flood dangers in the area that their home is located.

Protect Yourself

Know the dangers associated with flood water, and protect your property and family accordingly. Floodwater presents a threat to both your health and safety. It’s safe to assume that floodwater is contaminated–never enter floodwater, or allow children to play in it. Floodwater in urban areas can be contaminated with bacteria or backed-up sewage, while in rural areas it’s often filled with agricultural chemicals and animal waste. During a flood-related power outage, shut off all electricity in your home and use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns. After a flood, make sure to have your home inspected for any unnoticed water damages.

Bio: Beth Kelly is a freelance writer based out of Chicago, IL. She blogs for SecurityChoice.com and is an expert on all things pertaining to home automation and security. In her free time she likes fly-fishing and teaching her pet corgi how to take selfies.