Learn how to flood proof your home.
Learning how to flood proof your home is becoming more critical as floods become more frequent and extreme with climate change. Flood proofing your home can also protect against costly damages. There are many actions that can be taken to keep individuals and communities safe. This article focuses on some of what can be done at the individual level.
Understand flood risks
The first and most important step in protecting a home is knowing what the property’s flood risk is. Even if a home is not at risk for flooding directly, flooding on nearby streets can impact the community and local residents’ ability to get to important infrastructure, like schools and hospitals. Individuals can search their address on Flood Factor to find their property’s flood risk free of charge.
Since typical homeowners insurance does not cover damage from flooding, and the average cost of flood damage is $40,000, it makes buying flood insurance a smart bet for many homeowners—even those who live outside of FEMA’s designated flood zones. Flood insurance premiums can be reduced when the community takes action to decrease its overall risk and when individuals take steps to make their homes safer. The average premium costs $700 per year.
Raise utilities and infrastructure
Homeowners experiencing repeated flooding can raise HVAC systems, plumbing, and electric meters currently on their basement or ground level to above flood levels. This can prevent future damage to expensive systems and could reduce flood insurance premiums as well. It can cost $6,000 or more to elevate HVAC systems, plumbing, and electric meters. Please note, an important first step is to contact the local zoning and building departments prior to making any improvements.
Elevate your home
Houses can be raised above flood levels by using six-foot tall wooden stilts or concrete blocks. Even if a house doesn’t flood, the driveway and the roads around it still may. It is easier for a new home to be built higher, but existing homes can also be raised. Often, rebuilding happens when FEMA grants money after a disaster like Hurricane Harvey. These grants can often cover the majority of the cost for rebuilding. The median price of elevating a home is $130,000. Please note, an important first step is to contact the local zoning and building departments prior to making any improvements.
For houses that are in areas of extreme flooding, one option is to relocate to higher ground. To relocate, a house is lifted off its foundation, hauled to a new site, and lowered onto a new foundation.