Do you live in a flood zone? Do you even know if your area is flood-prone? The term “flood zone” can mean a variety of different things. ‘Flood zone’ is a term used by city officials to indicate minimal risk to extremely high-risk areas. You’ll need to do some further research to determine just how at-risk your home may be.
Whether it’s caused by rain, a levee failure, snowmelt, or something more sinister, floods happen. However, it’s never too early to prepare your home. Let’s explore these 4 basic steps to protect your family and your home from a flood.
Before we get into ways to protect your home, it can be helpful to find out how at-risk you are. There are a couple of different ways you can determine if your home is situated in a flood zone. You can reach out to a local floodplain official for guidance. Or, if you want a more hands-on approach, you can use an online tool. There are several options to choose from. Two of the best are the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Map and the Flood Factor™ Flood Map.
You can search your area by address, place, or coordinates using the FEMA Flood Map. The site will populate an interactive map with a visual representation of what the flood zones in your area look like. With the data provided by FEMA, you can determine if your home falls anywhere between a low-risk to a high-risk area.
Low-risk flood zones are marked as Zone C or Zone X (unshaded) on the map. These areas are typically at minimal to zero risk of flooding. But homeowners should still take precautions just in case. While you won’t be required to secure flood insurance if your home is in this zone, you may still qualify for Preferred Risk Policies through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Moderate-risk flood zones are seen as Zone B or Zone X (shaded) on the map. You might also hear these zones called the “500-year flood” zone. There is roughly a 1 in 500 chance that a flood will occur in these zones in any given year. While flood insurance is not federally mandated for homes in these areas, some lenders may prefer homeowners get it. FEMA recommends securing a plan and preparing for a flood just in case you’re in a moderate-risk zone.
High-risk floods zones have the most variability between these three categories. They are labeled as Zone A, Zone AO, Zone AH, Zones A1-A30, Zone AE, Zone A99, Zone AR, Zone AR/AE, Zone AR/AO, Zone AR/A1-A30, Zone AR/A, Zone V, Zone VE, and Zones V1-V30. This zone is also called the “100-year flood” zone. There is a 1 in 100 chance of flood in a given year. That figure moves up to about a 26% chance of flooding over 30 years. You will be required to buy flood insurance if your home is in this zone.
The Flood Factor™ Flood Map uses a different method to determine your risk level. Its scoring system ranges from 1 to 10. It judges the level of risk based on the likelihood and severity of flooding over the course of a 30-year period. This is further divided into 5-year intervals. The farther along you are within that 5-year period, the more your level of risk accumulates. With that being said, your score could fluctuate over time.
The scoring is measured as followed:
Whether your home is at minimal risk or you’re in the most severe flood zone possible, there are ways you can protect your home from floods. Here are 4 ways to do so.
To prepare for floods well before they occur, consider how water flows around your home. Does it seep into the basement after heavy rain? Does it drain into the backyard? Watch this pattern closely and then take action if necessary. If your yard is tilted towards your house, you may want to consider hiring a professional to grade your lawn.
Ideally, you want all electrical equipment to be at least one foot above flood level to reduce the risk of any electrical damage. Water heaters, washing machines, air conditioners, and other large appliances that use electricity should also be raised above flood level—especially if they live in your basement! If flooding is imminent, also consider unplugging anything from an outlet that’s non-essential
Today, most home security systems come equipped with a flood sensor. As an add-on, this device can detect small leaks before they can cause major damage. Amazing right? Installing a flood sensor—if you don’t have one in your security system—can potentially save you thousands of dollars in costly repairs (if your flood is due to a sprung leak or something similar).
When water enters your home, you can prevent a lot of damage if you have a tool in place to usher it out. A sump pump is installed in the basement of a home to help remove water. When a flood occurs, it works to pump the water out of the home into either the yard or a storm drain. Be sure to get a sump pump with a battery backup just in case your power goes out.
If you’re experiencing a rainstorm or some other natural disaster, you may have to take last-minute measures. In this scenario, it’s best to move any furniture, electronics, and other special belongings to an upper floor to avoid water damage. Ideally, you’ll also want to shut off electricity at the breaker panel, too.
Did your preventative measures not stop your home from flooding? Did you forget to take precautions and end up in a sticky situation? Whether you’ve fallen victim to a natural disaster or experienced a pipe leak, don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place. Our team of disaster relief specialists knows how to handle flood restoration in Denver and beyond.
As Northern Colorado's leading experts on water pipe replacement, flood restoration, and general home restoration, we’ll get your home fixed up in no time at all. Need assistance ASAP? Give us a call now at (970) 888-0970 or contact us online for a free estimate.
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