Over the last few years, we have seen even more extreme weather wreaking havoc on neighborhoods across the United States. Hurricanes destroying areas along the coasts and severe storms leading to massive flooding in other areas of the country are becoming more common. Unfortunately, catastrophic weather is only one of the reasons that your home may suffer flooding.
If you live in an area with a history of flooding, you already know how easy it is for water to make its way into your home. However, there are plenty of other ways your home can flood—understanding all the flood risks your home faces is just a part of homeownership. Being aware of the different types of flood risks can help you understand how to take steps to protect your home.
1. Storm Surges
When most people think of flooding, they picture heavy storms tearing through their community. According to a study published by FEMA, flooding is the most common natural disaster that US citizens face. The same study indicates that flooding occurs in 98% of counties in the United States! Of the floods in those counties, many homeowners who reported having only one inch of water resulted in $25,000 worth of damages.
The possibility of storm-related flooding is something that you simply can't ignore. As the earth continues to undergo climate change, the possibility for these cases of extreme weather will only continue to grow. Some measures, such as waterproof drywall, can help minimize the risk of flood damage, even if you live in one of the 98% of US counties that experience flooding brought about by storm surges.
However, it's worth remembering that your home can sustain water damage even if there aren't floods in your area. For instance, if a windstorm or a tornado impacts your home, there's a good possibility that your roof will be damaged. When your roof is torn off or damaged, there's simply nothing to protect your home from rain. This is just another way that severe weather can lead to flood damage within your home.
2. Sump Pump Failure
According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, more than 60% of American homes have some amount of moisture in their basements or crawlspace. The presence of moisture is why many homeowners across the US opt to install a sump pump in their homes. These pumps rely on a system of motors and hoses to collect water from these low-lying spaces and push it away from the home. As long as your sump pump is working correctly, you don't have to worry about water building up under your home or in your basement. However, if your sump pump fails, the risk for water damage cannot be ignored.
If you don't have a sump pump in your home, it's a good to have one installed. Unless you live in a dry area that experiences minimal rainfall or snowfall, these machines can do a great job of keeping water and moisture from building up. If you do have a sump pump, keep an eye out for signs that it's struggling.
There's probably something wrong with your sump pump if it never shuts off or turns on and off more frequently than it used to. When a motor begins to fail, it's not uncommon for the pump to struggle. If you notice that the pump runs constantly, doesn't run at all, or short cycles (the term used to describe a sump pump turning on and off rapidly), you should get it checked.
When a sump pump fails, water starts building up. You may notice damage to the floors on the first floor of your home. You may also notice damage to your drywall or supporting beams, especially if the failing sump pump is in your basement.
3. Drainage Overflows
The drains in your home are a key part of your home's plumbing system. If the only thing that ever passed through the drains in your home was water, there wouldn't be many reasons for drains to clog and eventually overflow. Unfortunately, drains can be blocked, leading to major clogs, damaged pipes, and overflows. For instance, grease, food, and other insoluble items go through your kitchen drains. Your shower and bathtubs are no different, as hair, soap, and other substances go through those drains. Over time, those substances build up and stress the waterlines in your home.
While we will discuss plumbing emergencies such as busted waterlines in a moment, a clogged drain can pose a major flooding issue in your home. When substances that don't dissolve in water build up near the surface of your drain, water can't pass through. When water can't drain, the only place it can go is back into your home.
4. Broken Waterlines
Clogged drains aren't the only plumbing issue that can lead to flooding. Busted waterlines can seriously damage your home's structural integrity and create an unsafe environment for you and your family.
Some or all of your home's plumbing is probably inside the walls. While you may get water out of the faucets that you can see, the waterlines you can't see are why the water comes out of those faucets. When something goes wrong with one of those waterlines, your home is in danger.
A broken waterline inside the walls of your home, in your attic, or under the slab puts your home's structural integrity in danger. These hidden emergencies can also produce mold and mildew, which are dangerous in any situation, but even more so if you have someone in your home who has asthma, allergies, or another respiratory issue.
Obviously, there is never a good time to have water pouring into the walls of your home. However, you can minimize this damage by taking some flood-prevention steps such as installing EnduraFlood drywall. Obviously, you will still need to have the water cleaned up, but you can limit the damage.
5. Busted Washing Machine Pipe
The average home does anywhere between six and eight loads of laundry per week. Even if you've never thought about it, that's a lot of stress on your washing machine and the waterlines that carry water to and from the machine.
Have you ever lost a sock or another garment in the washer? No, it didn't grow legs and run away--it grew fins and swam off! There's a good chance it's stuck somewhere in the line that carries water away from the washer. Just as your kitchen and bathroom waterlines can become clogged with grease and hair, your washing machine outlet pipe can get clogged by clothes.
If this happens, there's a risk the washing machine pipe will be blocked and eventually burst, leading to a flood in your laundry room.
With all the potential sources of flooding, there's just way to floodproof your home completely. However, there are things you can do that will help ensure that your home is in a better position to survive water damage. Consider installing waterproof drywall, such as EnduraFlood. You can also make sure that you have regular plumbing maintenance performed on your home, that your sump pump is working properly, and maintain flood insurance coverage to protect you from water damage costs.