Does your house sit on a floodplain? Do you know what a floodplain is? A floodplain, according to Miriam-Webster is level land that may be submerged by floodwaters. A floodplain actually consisted of two parts, the floodway and the flood fringe. A floodway is also called the water way, where the water normally flows (either consistently or seasonally). The flood fringe is the flat or mostly flat area that extends from the banks of the floodway to the bluff lines or valley walls (the part where the ground begins to rise from the valley) of the river valley (the low area where water has carved a valley over hundreds of years).
Development of Floodplains
Years ago (like hundreds of years ago), floodplains became popular places for the development of homes. The number one reason being that they have easy access to water. Another reason these areas were such hot commodities is that the flatter ground made farming and raising livestock easier. The houses were also easier to build with the ground being generally flat. But this led to some issues. Rainy seasons, severe thunderstorms, or natural disasters can cause these flood plains to flood and homes can suffer severe and costly water damage.
Floodplains & Flood Insurance
Any property can flood. Even those on mountains can suffer flood damage. But, the fact is houses in floodplains tend to be at a much higher risk for flooding and the flooding to happen more frequently. For this reason you may be required to have a flood insurance policy on your home. Be sure to ask your insurance agent to specify what your homeowners policy covers because there is a difference between flood water entering your home and ground water entering your home. Just because you do not live in a flood zone or your insurance company doesn’t offer it, look into it. Ask your agent for recommendations. It is a common misconception that flood insurance is way too expensive, according to FEMA it averages around $700 for the whole year (but can vary due to the size of your home).
Protecting Your Home
If your home is built on a floodplain there are steps you can take to protect parts of your home and reduce the severity of the water damage to your home.
- Build your home on risers to make sure it is elevated enough to reduce the possibility of water damage if/when a flood happens.
- Have your electrical panel, water heater, furnace and air conditioning unit raised by a professional to keep water damage from affecting them.
- Have excellent drainage around your home. Have drainage ways, berms, levees and such built to help divert water and help to stop flood waters from entering the home.
- Have a sump pump installed.
- Use a waterproof sealing compound on basement walls to help prevent leaking.
- Look into personal flood defense systems such as floodgates or even trusty old sandbags.
Should your home suffer water damage due to flooding, call SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County. We are an IICRC certified firm in water damage restoration who is #HereToHelp 24/7/365.