What Do I Do When My House Floods?
Few people prepare for it, but knowing what to do when a house floods means you’re able to stop the water, mitigate against water damage and, most importantly, stay safe.
But why would you prepare for something that’s never happened before? Especially if you don’t live next to a floodplain? The reality is that a flood can happen to anyone, whether that’s thanks to:
- A burst pipe
- A natural disaster
- Structural damage to a nearby water source
Whatever the cause, the below guide will help you prepare for the worst – from prevention techniques to switching off the gas and electric and leaving your home.
Is my house in a flood zone?
First things first, you need to determine if there’s an immediate risk. For most people, the immediate risk is living in a flood zone.
If you’re unsure whether this applies to you, the government has a handy checking service. You can also use this to access information about the flooding history of your property. In order to do so, you’ll need to provide the Environment Agency with:
- Your telephone number
- The property’s address or a map of the area if the postcode isn’t known
- The date range you’re interested in (if you aren’t interested in the entire history)
Provided the report takes less than 18 hours to complete, you won’t need to pay a thing. If it does exceed that time, the Environment Agency will either refuse the request or ask you to pay £25 for the investigation.
How can I prevent floods in my home?
Monitoring for leaks is the best way you can prevent flood water from damaging your home. Floodplain or not, it’s the small leaks that can create big problems if left unchecked. You don’t need to do this manually though.
Water sensors can be placed around the house to detect excess moisture. Put them in areas where leaks are common, such as:
- Near sinks
- Behind boilers
- In basements
Once they detect moisture where there shouldn’t be, they’ll sound an alarm. They’ll also monitor for a change in acoustics, as all leaks will create soundwaves which detectors can pick up. Some detectors are so advanced they can shut off the water supply if they hear these imperceptible sounds.
Likewise, sump pumps can be placed in a constructed pit in the centre of your basement, carved below the main surface of the floor. When the water gets too high, the sump pump automatically pumps excess water out of the basement using a discharge line – like a neighbourhood drain, for example.
What should I do during a house flood?
If you wake up and there’s standing water in your home, it’s important you turn off all running water, gas and electricity if it is safe to do so. If the flood is natural, try to avoid stepping in the water – it could be contaminated and leave you or your loved ones seriously ill if you fall in it.
The same is true if the water is running through your home. If it knocks you over you could injure yourself, preventing you from escaping the home or calling for help. Tread carefully and open any windows or external doors as you make your way through the house.
Once outside, call your insurance company. They’ll be best placed to recommend an emergency plumber and cleaning crew who will be able to attend the home within 24 hours. They’ll remove the water from your home and ensure it’s safe for you to re-enter.
What do I do after a house flood?
After contacting your insurer, you’ll be able to begin repairing your home. Start by ventilating it, opening all the windows both upstairs and downstairs so that fresh air can come in. Keep a record of all of the damaged goods in the property too – not only will this help with your insurance claim, but it’ll also help determine the total cost of the flood.
Next, you need to prevent mould from growing. If power has been restored to the property, purchase a dehumidifier and start drying out your rooms.
You can speed this process up with the help of a professional flood restoration company. Take Rainbow, for example – we can dry out and disinfect all affected areas, and help you restore furniture that has suffered water damage.
We operate a two-hour emergency flood repair local call-out service, where we’ll address the source of the flood and work tirelessly to restore your flooded home to its original condition. We’ll also offer structural assessments of your property, ensuring that it’s still safe to live in and giving you complete peace of mind.
How Rainbow can help
We work with leading insurance companies on their policyholders’ property claims, restoring properties following a flood, escape of water or fire across the UK. If you’re in immediate need of support, please contact us or call our 24-hour national helpline on 01623 422488 today.