Extreme weather (and we seem to be getting more of it) can cause flooding. You will probably be aware of the fact that you live in an area that has a risk of flooding, so it is a good idea to be prepared should the worse happen. 5.5 million homes in the UK (that is one in six homes) are situated in ‘at risk’ areas. In the last 12 months, thousands of homes across the UK have been flooded.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) suggests protecting your home against flooding and it states that the cost of doing this is between £2,000-£6,000.
The Environmental Agency has a flood warning service which more than one million householders have signed up to and the charity National Flood Forum that tries to help people living in areas that have the risk of flooding has published its ‘Blue Pages’ which is an independent information booklet with information about flood protection products such as water resistant barriers.
Whilst it is impossible to totally flood proof your home, there are a numbers of measures that can be taken to help protect your home and minimise the damage. It is a good idea to seek the advice of a property surveyor before you take action!
If you seal the floors on the ground floor with special ‘tanking’ this will help prevent the water coming up through the floor. Rugs rather than fitted carpets are more practical as they can be easily moved if there is a danger of flooding.
You can get special doors custom made and installed but if you do not have time for this, some purpose built doors will help prevent a great deal of water getting in.
Get Air Bricks Covered
Whilst air bricks are essential for good ventilation in a home, they are an easy way for water to get in so it is well worth investing in brick covers to prevent this happening.
Drains and Pipes
It is true that it is almost impossible to prevent water getting in this way, but fitting one way valves can help, otherwise the pressure of the water will mean that it will come up through toilets and washing machines.
Treat Your Skirting Boards
Skirting boards can get ruined by flood water so it is a sensible precaution to paint them with varnish or water proof gloss paint to make them as waterproof as possible. A more drastic step is to replace them all with water resistant plastic skirting panels.
Are Your Electrics Protected?
Are all your sockets and fuse boxes positioned at least 1.5 metres above floor level? If possible electric appliances such as washing machines, driers and dishwashers should stand on a stone plinth above ground level.
Check Your Valuables Are Safe
- Make sure that all your valuable ornaments are positioned at least 1.5 metres above floor level.
- Is your television well off the floor at a similar height or wall-mounted?
- Are your precious books on the higher shelves of your book case – again a ‘rule of thumb’ is 1.5 metres off the floor.
- Download and read the Environment Agency’s ‘Prepare, Act, Survive’ flood guide or visit http://flood-warning-information.service.go.uk/what-to-do-in-a-flood and make sure all family members know what to do in an emergency.
If Flooding Is Imminent
- Pile sandbags and plastic sheeting against your doors although these will get saturated and not prevent all water from seeping through.
- Switch off your electric supply.
- Move all precious items and floor rugs to a higher floor.
- If the weather permits, open all windows so that air can circulate.
- Take photographs of the flood water and how high it rises for insurance claims.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as your home starts to flood.