What to Do if Your House Floods

If your house is in a flood zone, it may be prone to water damage every now and then. There are ways to minimize damage when flooding strikes your area. American Home Shield® is here to help you flood-proof your house with tips on reducing the impact of flooding. 

Flood damage

1. Preparation is key.

If you live in a home that is at risk for flooding, here are some steps you can take to be ready: 

  • Purchase home flood insurance. Extra coverage is a must if your house is in a flood zone. Some mortgage lenders even require flood insurance policies if you live in a high-risk flood zone. Learn more about the difference between homeowners insurance and a home warranty.

  • Know how to turn off your water and electricity. If your house is flooded due to a burst pipe, knowing exactly where your shut-off valve is located can save you precious minutes. You should also shut off your electricity (though you should never touch a breaker panel if you’re wet or there is water near it).

  • Have water-removing tools. A wet/dry vacuum, buckets, fans, and a dehumidifier can be beneficial in various situations, but these items are essential during a flooded house cleanup. It’s also good to have flood barriers for homes in a flood zone.

  • Protect your lower levels. Take steps to waterproof your basement, and have a plan in place if your basement floods.

If you’re considering buying a house in a flood zone, the FEMA flood map can help you determine how high the risk is.

2. Put safety first when cleaning a flooded house. 

Your instinct may be to charge in and start removing water, but remember that electricity and water don’t mix. When cleaning up after a flood:

  •  Do not use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water. Use a wet/dry vacuum.

  •  Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors.

  •  Do not go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still on.

  •  Do not lift tacked-down carpet without professional help.

3. Perform damage control. 

If water permeates your home, keep calm and follow these steps for what to do if your house floods. 

  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist with drying.

  • Use dehumidifiers to help remove moisture.

  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.

  • Lift draperies off the carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod to dry. Hang up other wet fabrics, too. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.

  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.

  • Wipe furniture dry.

  • Take out area rugs, and hang them up to dry outside.

  • Move photos, paintings, and art items to a safe, dry location.

  • Do not remove damp books from shelves. Leave tight to prevent pages from rippling.

  • Control interior temperatures with heat or air conditioning. Keep the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees.

4. Keep maintenance and repairs up to date. 

Not all floods occur in flood zones; a flooded house can happen if there is faulty plumbing in your home or poor drainage on the property. It’s crucial to maintain your home’s plumbing system and perform necessary repairs to prevent a leak that can damage your home.

An American Home Shield® home warranty can help cover issues like water leaks or interior stoppages that happen because of wear and tear. Though home warranty coverage may not protect against flooding, our plumbing warranty can give you peace of mind that your system stays in tip-top shape throughout the year. 

With a home warranty, homeowners insurance, and these tips on what to do if your house floods, you’ll be prepared for just about anything that comes your home’s way. 

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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