Have you recently moved to a home in an area that is prone to spring flooding? Are you already preparing for the almost inevitable flood cleanup that will be needed? Here are some tips on how to minimize your potential damage:
Stock up on sandbags: The best time to buy empty sandbags is before you actually need them. When your whole area is flooding, people will be flocking to the store to get sandbags and you may be unable to obtain any. While you may be able to improvise with old pillowcases that you no longer need, it's best to use bags that were specifically made for the purpose. If the flooding is light, you'll be able to put sandbags around places like your basement doors and windows, minimizing the amount of water that gets inside. Instead of your flood cleanup process needing to drain your entire basement, your sump pump may only need to work work a little more than usual.
Find out if appliances are covered: Even if you have flood insurance, it may or may not cover your household appliances. Some appliances, like water heaters, may need to be completely replaced if they are flooded. Other appliances, like your refrigerator, may be fine with an inspection and minor repairs. If your insurance policy does not cover replacing your appliances, you should consider taking steps to protect them if it looks like they are in danger. For example, a refrigerator should either be taken upstairs or carefully put up onto cement blocks. While raising your refrigerator won't save it from severe flooding, it may completely prevent water damage if the flood waters are only ankle deep.
Vacuum seal important papers: If you need to evacuate in a hurry, chances are good that you may forget some of your important papers. Even if you have everything stored neatly away to grab at a moment's notice, you may simply forget them in your haste and in the confusion of the evacuation. While it's a good idea to have a safe deposit box with duplicate documents, not everyone can afford the associated fees. And when you're allowed to return to your home, you don't want part of the flood cleanup process to be a potentially costly attempt to repair or replace documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and insurance papers. Important documents that are rarely needed should be put into food saving vacuum bags. If you think you may need the paper several times between now and the potential flood, two or three layers of gallon-sized zipper food storage bags will do the trick. While zipper storage bags aren't as water-tight as a vacuum sealed bag, the additional layers will help minimize the risk of water damaging your important paperwork.