In Atlanta, with high rainfall as well as prevalent lakes and creeks near homes, flood damage is a real threat. Additionally, leaking pipes and appliance malfunctions can cause localized water damage.
Preventing water damage inside your home
Regular maintenance and inspection of your home's plumbing by an Atlanta plumbing professional can prevent localized water damage. While small appliances, water heaters and pipes may still suffer deterioration or damage leading to water leaks, deterioration is much less likely when a regular inspection routine is in place.
Blocked drainage systems and gutters can also route water into your home and cause localized flood damage. Regular cleaning, maintenance and the installation of water routing gutter spouts and gutter guards can prevent flooding in these areas.
Preventing flooding from external sources
If your home is in a floodplain or you have a creek, pond or lake on or adjacent to your property, you should take special precautions particularly in the rainy season.
Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, and there is more than a one in four chance that your home will experience water damage over the life of a 30-year loan, according to FloodSmart.gov.
You can determine your relative flood risk at the FloodSmart.gov site by entering your address into the Assess Your Risk widget on the site. The tool will give you an estimated annual premium for flood insurance that covers the contents or the building or both the building and the contents. The average flood insurance policy costs less than $600 per year. However, if your home is in a low-risk area, it may cost as little as $129 annually for a Preferred Risk Policy. These policies are also available for businesses.
Beyond flood insurance, you can mitigate potential water damage by taking a few precautions:
- Place or move all major appliances, electric switchboxes, outlets and heating equipment above potential flood levels.
- If you have more than one floor to your home, move these appliances and devices on the second floor if possible. If not, raise them up off the floor using a pedestal or by locating any wall-mounted units higher up on the wall
- Use floating drain plugs and install sewer system backflow valves. These precautions can help prevent overflow of water from your drains.
- If you have carpet or wooden floorboards in your basement or lower level, consider replacing these with concrete or tile.
The most recent major water damage in Atlanta happened in Spring 2009. More than 20,000 homes and businesses suffered major damage and more than 23 counties received Federal Disaster Declarations.
Nearly $120 million in damages were paid out for 2,000 paid losses, with an average paid amount of more than $58,000, according to FloodSmart.gov.
If there is an active flood warning, you'll want to take additional precautions:
- Move important documents, sentimental items and valuables upstairs or off the floor. Pack anything water-sensitive (such as photos) in sealable plastic bags.
- Move soft furniture and rugs upstairs. Pull the bottoms of curtains up off of the floor.
- Buy sandbags to block doorways.
- Write down important numbers, such as your insurance provider and policy number.
- Pack an emergency kit, or flood kit, with personal identification and any medication your family members may require as well as a change of clothing in case of evacuation.
- Continue to keep informed via weather forecasts to make sure you're up-to-date on weather threats; a weather radio is ideal.
Restoring your home after water damage
If your home has already suffered flood or other water damage, you'll want to contact an Atlanta professional water damage restoration service.
The professional will document materials affected by the water damage and determine the value of the lost materials. He will inspect the area with water sensing equipment, which will determine any inside sources for water damage and the extent of the damage.
Restoration by the professionals would involve drying, sanitizing and deodorizing all affected portions of the home. The professionals are likely to leave drying equipment and dehumidifiers at the home to complete the job. After a few days with that equipment running, the professional service reevaluates the drying process.
Taking precautions such as relocating appliances and installing more water-resistant materials can save you a lot of frustration and money in case of a flood. If you keep a regular maintenance and inspection schedule on your home's plumbing and appliances through a licensed Atlanta plumbing professional, you can also prevent flooding from internal sources. This type of prevention helps you avoid the frustration not only from water damage but from the deterioration and malfunctioning of your appliances and plumbing.