Tips to Limit the Risk of Flood Damage to Your Home this Winter


By Bob Atoo
December 19, 2014

Anyone who’s experienced flooding in their home can testify to its devastating consequences.  Millions of people in the UK live in homes at risk of flooding from the sea and rivers but also from ground and surface water, sewage systems and reservoirs.

Flash floods can be particularly dangerous.  In these circumstances, the first priority is to ensure that all members of the household are evacuated safely.  However, at some point, you’ll need to face the damage caused to your home by the flood waters.

There are pre-emptive measures and precautions that you can take to help keep out some of the water and preserve as much of your property and possessions as possible.

Prepare Your House

Beware of the parts of your house that are most vulnerable to letting in water such as cable holes running from the exterior to the interior of your house, pipes and drains, airbricks and doorways.

If you live in an area that is at high risk of flooding, you might want to consider making permanent changes to your home to protect it as much as possible.

  • Raise the threshold of your external doors.
  • You can fit your drains and pipes with valves that prevent flood waters from backflowing into your property.
  • If your home is vulnerable to flooding from ground water, you could consider “tanking” or sealing your floorboards.
  • Place your kitchen appliances on raised feet or plinths to protect them from damage.
  • Raise all electrical wiring to at least one and a half metres above the floor

Prepare Your Valuables and Sensitive Items

If the area you live in has been issued with a flood warning, and if you have time, you can place all of your valuable items, sensitive documents, photographs and insurance information on high shelves.  Back up your computer files to an external hard drive that can be stored out of harm’s way.  Make sure to turn off your mains electricy, gas and water.  If your house has more than one floor, move as much of your property upstairs as possible.

If this is not possible, you can buy sealable waterproof bags, some of them are even big enough to encase large items of furniture such as sofas.  These will minimise any water damage to items that you can’t move upstairs or lift off the floor.

Prepare Yourself

Sometimes it’s difficult to know in advance how severe a flood might be.  Pack an emergency kit including anything you might need such as:

  • Torch
  • Food and drinking water
  • First aid kit
  • Any medication you might need
  • Warm clothing and blankets
  • A fully charged mobile phone
  • Your home insurance information

For more information on flooding in your area and to find out if you home is at risk you can consult the Environment Agency, for England and Wales or, if you live in Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

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