Recent news stories have shown, once again, just how vulnerable our properties can be when torrential rain and tidal surges hit. While it’s impossible to make any property 100% flood-proof, there are things you can do to help prevent floodwater getting in, and to limit the damage it can do.
Keeping your property dry
Like many people, you may think stacking sandbags around a property is the best (and perhaps, only) thing to do when it comes to stopping floodwater from entering your home. However, while this can help prevent contaminated mud and silt from entering a property (especially when used with plastic sheeting), it’s only likely to be effective for a relatively short time. Also, sand bags aren’t able to stop water from seeping through, so they’re not as effective as purpose-designed flood products.
There are a range of purpose-built flood defence products available, such as:
- Entrance guards – designed to stop water seeping through gaps in external doors (such as front and patio doors). They can be quickly fitted when flooding is imminent.
- Air brick covers – to stop water from entering ventilation bricks.
- Non-return pipe valves – can be fitted to drain-pipes and other pipes to stop water from backing-up during a flood.
An independent directory of useful flood protection products (‘the Blue pages’) is available from the National Flood Forum charity.
Limiting the damage floodwater can do
It’s estimated that, on average, most people are unable to live in their homes for nine months after a serious flooding has occurred. Fortunately, the Environment Agency has come up with some handy home tips which can help limit the damage a flood can cause, helping residents to return to their homes that much quicker. These tips include:
- raising all mains sockets, fuse boxes, electrical wiring, TVs and other electrical devices at least 1.5m (5ft) above floor level
- substituting chipboard for water-resistant materials like stainless steel, plastic or solid wood in kitchens and bathrooms
- swapping fitted carpets for tiled floors (then adding a rug)
- stowing valuable or irreplaceable items on high-mounted shelves.