Preventing Large Loss Damage

Water damage from a flood, a storm or burst pipes can be devastating to the interior of your home. There are ways to prevent large loss damage. When constructing a home or finishing a basement following a few simple common sense steps can easily save a considerable amount of money from water damage that may occur sometime in the future.

1. When finishing interior rooms of a house install dry wall horizontally. If there is a flood you may only need to tear out the bottom dry wall sheet for repairs.

2. Leave a ½ inch gap between the upper and lower baseboards. This will allow for drying and prevent the water from socking into the upper wallboard. Caulk the gap and cover it with a chair molding that can be easily removed to make repairs.

3. Leave a gap at the bottom of the lower wall board that can be covered with floor molding. Attach the floor molding so that it can be easily removed. The gap will allow water to drain from the inner wall cavities and for faster drying.

4. Use flooring that is water resistant, such as tile and concrete. If you want carpeting try area rugs that can be rolled up and moved easily. Installed carpet and pads will most likely need to be removed and disposed of after a water or flood event.

5. Elevate utility systems such as the main circuit breaker; fuse boxes and meters, above the potential flood level.

6. Move outlets and switches to higher levels in rooms when permitted by local or state codes.

7. Put in Ground Fault Circuit breakers to prevent short circuiting electrical fires and injury to people and animals.

8. Elevate heating equipment and air conditioners to a level higher than the potential flood level, a higher floor, or to the attic.

9. Washers, dryers, and water-heaters can be moved to higher floors but be sure to provide spillage pans and overflow drains to prevent water damage from leaks when these items are moved.

10. Install check valves or back-flow valves in sewer lines to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains.

11. Check the drainage hoses on washing machines and dishwashers. If the hoses need replaced use reinforced hose and install and use shutoffs.

12. Monitoring devices that sense water on floor surfaces and sound an alarm or automatically shut off the water are available.

13. If items must be stored in the lower level use plastic storage containers with tightly fitting lids and store them high off the floor where they will be less likely to end up under water.

14. Keep valuable items out of basements and off the first floor if it is subject to flooding. Use an offsite storage facility if necessary t protects valuable items.

15. Make sure the lot is properly contoured to drain water away from the house. A French drain can also be used to drain water away from the house.

You may not be-able to prevent all damage from water that gets into your house but you can and should take steps to prevent large loss damage.