March 13, 2023
7 Flood Prevention Barriers for Your Home
Flooding can cause costly property damage to a home. Water can flood nearly anywhere in a home—damaging walls, floors, wires, and anything else it touches. A flooded basement, for example, can mean the destruction of major appliances like furnaces, washers, and driers.
However, there are ways to avoid or mitigate this kind of catastrophic damage. And even if you can’t totally eliminate the threat of water damage, you can minimize its impact on your bank account. Here are the top flood prevention barriers you need for your home:
1. Install a flood sensor in every vulnerable area.
Most leaks make very little noise and often occur in areas not frequently visited—like basements, attics, or utility rooms. Floods can also happen when you’re not even home to witness them. So, how do you stay on top of it without driving yourself crazy? The answer is flood sensors.
Flood sensors—like those offered by Frontpoint— can give you an early warning when water begins to accumulate. Simply place one of these small devices in each flood-prone area of your home. When it detects even a small amount of liquid, it will notify you via alarm and cell phone notification via the Frontpoint app. Receiving an alert that early in the flooding process can prevent thousands of dollars in damage.
2. Place security cameras strategically.
If you have Frontpoint Indoor Cameras or Premium Indoor Cameras, you can also check on flooding areas visually—even if you aren’t home. If a Flood Sensor raises an alert and sends you a notification, just use the Frontpoint app on your mobile device to pull up the real-time video feed.
Outdoor Cameras will reveal whether any flooding from a heavy rainstorm or another external threat. Just pull up your camera feed and check for standing water in your yard or other telltale signs of flooding.
3. Take a look at your landscaping.
The set-up of your yard affects your chances of flood damage. Here are a few things to consider:
- Watch for large puddles around your home after heavy rain. If water tends to pool near your home, you may have a strong potential for flooding.
- Houses at the bottom of a downhill slope also tend to collect floodwaters. A professional landscaper may be able to grade the land and create artificial slopes to guide water away. You’ll need a slope of at least 6 inches, covering a 10-foot span.
- Try to plant most trees and large shrubs at least 20 feet from the house and any known utility pipes. Otherwise, their roots can invade your water lines or sewer pipes and cause blockages and backups.
- If you have a lawn sprinkler or irrigation system, ensure water isn’t puddling near your foundations.
4. Maintain your roof and gutters.
A well-constructed and maintained roof is one of the most critical flood prevention barriers. Here’s what you need to do to help your roof do its job:
- Visually inspect your roof once or twice a year. Check for missing or damaged shingles, especially after significant weather events. This will probably require getting up on a ladder so you can see everything. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that or don’t think you’re qualified to assess the roof, hire a professional.
- Be sure to maintain gutters and downspouts properly. This essential hardware channels water away from your house and into appropriate drainage systems. If gutters or spouts are blocked with leaves or other debris, they back up quickly, and all that rainwater will pool up near your house. From there, it can damage your foundation and slowly enter your basement or crawlspace.
5. Don’t neglect your crawlspace.
Yes, a crawlspace can protect the rest of your home from flooding, but water can sit down there for a long time if you don’t take care of it. This can contribute to mold growth on your flooring and support beams that can compromise the structural integrity of your house.
Here are some tips if you have flooding in your crawlspace:
- You can sometimes sluice pooled water out of a crawlspace with a broom or similar implement. This will only work if the pooled water is very minimal. Otherwise, you’ll most likely need to buy or rent a pump.
- If you use a pump, ensure the hose drains far away from the house, preferably on a slope that draws water away from your foundation.
- Remove all water-logged items, including insulation, from the crawlspace. They can continue to hold water and contribute to mold.
- Clean wet surfaces and inspect for wiring damage. If water has submerged any wiring in your home, do NOT touch it. Call an electrician immediately.
- If your crawlspace is prone to flooding, consider installing a sump pump or flood vents to move water out as soon as it comes in. You’ll likely need a professional for this.
6. Get to know your plumbing.
You don’t need a weather event to end up with a flooded house. Your home’s plumbing carries hundreds of gallons of water through your walls, floors, and ceilings daily. A broken water line can quickly flood your home, and more minor leaks can be insidious, slower-moving threats.
Here are some tips for avoiding a flood or mitigating any damage:
- Know where your main water shutoff valve is. This is the valve that stops water from flowing into your house. You must know where this is and how to use it in a hurry.
- Periodically inspect your water pipes. While you may not be able to access all of your plumbing easily, you can get to, or at least see, a lot of it. For example, you can inspect most sink piping by opening cabinet doors. Swiping a visible pipe with your hand is a good way to check for moisture.
- Check your tubs, showers, and toilets. Specifically, monitor the grout or caulking around these water sources. Old or cracked grout can let moisture seep steadily into your walls or floors. This type of damage can build up invisibly for months or even years—and so can the repair bill.
7. Inspect and maintain your appliances
Periodically look over appliances that are attached to your plumbing system. This includes the clothes washer, dishwasher, water heater, and water line to your refrigerator. All of these can spring leaks or develop other problems that spill gallons of water into your home.
- Inspect all water-connected appliances regularly for leaks. Keep in mind that leaks may be slow or hidden. Water may pool up behind a washer or refrigerator, for example. As it sits there unnoticed, it will gradually seep into the flooring and cause damage.
- Replace hoses for washing machines and other appliances about every five years. Make sure to buy quality replacements. You don’t want to waste money on something that can suddenly rupture, spraying water into the room.
- Check an air conditioner’s condensation drainage. Make sure the moisture is being drained or channeled appropriately. A/C condensation seems like a small amount of moisture, but it can accrue and cause severe damage over time.
Water damage can drastically reduce the value of a house. Dealing with leaks, flooding, burst pipes, and other water threats can be very costly and time-consuming. Setting up a few flood prevention barriers—such as installing a flood sensor—can help you avoid massive repair bills and headaches in the future.