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Fire Damage Cleanup and Rebuilding in New Haven

2/23/2023 (Permalink)

soot damage on a ceiling above kitchen cabinets Fire damage can leave smoke residues and odors that can be hard to get out without professional help. Call SERVPRO in New Haven for restoration.

SERVPRO Helps New Haven Residents After Encountering Fire Damage

The results can be disastrous whenever flames engulf a New Haven home or business. You will have the physical property that is charred and unsalvageable, all while leaving notable emotional scars. Because of the stress and worry of handling fire damaged homes, you always want a trusted liaison to help you get your property back to pre-fire condition. SERVPRO understands how imperative it is that you return to normalcy, which is why we are available 24/7 with skilled technicians, proven fire restoration methods, and industry knowledge!

Any widespread blaze leaves massive destruction and fire damage in New Haven. You will often have porous surfaces like insulation, ceilings, and walls that take on smoke particles and residue. There can also be powdery soot that settles on surfaces, leaving stains, pitting, and corrosion. While this soot will discolor and devastate unburnt wood, textiles, and carpeting, SERVPRO has the techniques to help restore versus replace whenever possible to save you money and hassle.

Understanding the Continued Damage Brought on by Soot and Smoke

We have smoke remediation professionals on our crew at SERVPRO who understand different types of smoke and soot residue. This allows us to select the perfect combination of cleaning and deodorization to bring your property back to pre-fire condition.

  • Soot and smoke are common fire byproducts that can corrode building materials and structural elements.
  • Prompt action helps prevent lingering odors and permanent smoke damage.

When dealing with charred debris and fire restoration projects, our SERVPRO team takes all the necessary precautions. We dress in personal protective equipment (PPE), including coveralls, boots, goggles, gloves, and respirators. Our team also puts containment measures in place and wears foot coverings to limit the tracking of soot and soiling throughout the building and into unaffected zones as we work.

Water Restoration is Often Part of the Process of Housefire Cleanup

Water removal services and fire restoration go hand-in-hand with many of our calls. As first responders are on the scene extinguishing the flames, water and sometimes chemicals will be left behind. Once SERVPRO is onsite and evaluating the fire damage, we put action into place for water restoration so that no moisture gets left behind. Failing to do so brings the potential for secondary damage to building materials and the onset of potentially harmful black mold growth. Our moisture detection tools like sensors and thermal imaging technology allow us to locate all areas where moisture might be hidden so we can address it.

How Long Will it Take to Restore My Property After a Fire?

The time for fire restoration depends on various factors beyond the area where flames reached throughout the building. We have to consider whether or not soot and smoke particles traveled through your HVAC system and whether or not structural damage occurred. We assess and address numerous layers of damage with:

  • While fire restoration occurs, board-up and tarping services help protect your interior from external factors.
  • Contents pack out and move out services help us relocate items for cleaning at our warehouse or safe-keeping during restoration.
  • Charred debris gets picked up and safely disposed of according to local guidelines.
  • Controlled demolition with trusted area contractors helps us repair and replace drywall, flooring, carpets, fixtures, and other areas of your home to make it “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of New Haven is your go-to team when faced with the perils of fire damage. Call our customer care team day or night at (203) 234-1100 to mobilize our Green Fleet.

Navigating Water Damage – Call Pros to Your New Haven Property

2/23/2023 (Permalink)

equipment on a concrete floor with water damage Our IICRC certified technicians are ready 24/7 with state-of-the-art equipment to restore your water damaged home in New Haven.

SERVPRO’s Water Damage Team is Available 24/7 in New Haven!

Water infiltration can be a tricky situation for any business or homeowner. Something that further complicates water emergencies is that they can happen in many ways, and no two properties are alike. When it comes to sewage backup, burst pipes, or a leaking roof from storms, you need someone onsite and ready to get to work fast. The longer you wait to begin water extraction and drying, the more you open yourself up to a world of costly secondary damage. SERVPRO is available around the clock, even on weekends and holidays, to help with water removal services, drying, and complete restoration!

Whether Mother Nature is the cause of your water damage in New Haven or you have interior flooding from an appliance or plumbing, SERVPRO can be there within hours to begin water cleanup and drying. Our water mitigation efforts are second to none, ensuring you limit the destruction to your property to get back to everyday routines.

Dealing With Burst Pipes in Your Basement

Broken piping can happen at any time anywhere in your home or business. Much of your plumbing is hidden from plain sight, so you might overlook an issue until the damage presents itself. Should you notice staining, musty odors, or damp building materials, these are all indicators that you have a water damage issue developing. Some of the other telltale signs there is a piping leak that must get addressed include:

  • Standing water below sinks in your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, etc.
  • An unexplained spike in your water bill
  • Strange noises coming from the pipes like bubbling or whistling
  • Water that is discolored or has a funny smell
  • Changes in your water pressure

SERVPRO features IICRC-certified water restoration technicians (WRT) who can investigate to find the source of your water problem. We ensure the issue gets fixed as we begin water remediation to ensure no further damage occurs. Wherever there are unsalvageable building materials, we use controlled demolition to remove them, carefully dispose of them, and then replace them with brand new materials. 

Drying and Dehumidification are Critical in Any Water Restoration Project

Our goal here at SERVPRO is to make it “Like it never even happened.” When called to water-related emergencies, a big piece of the puzzle to reaching our goals includes our drying and dehumidification efforts. We follow our tested and proven methods to help us bring your interior back to preloss condition with the help of industrial-grade equipment and knowledge of drying theory. We also have access to thousands of pieces of equipment which allows us to scale each project as needed!

  • Powerful extractors, both portable and truck-mounted, allow our crew to remove standing water and pull moisture from carpeting, flooring, etc.
  • Air movers, industrial fans, drying mats, and other equipment allow us to enhance evaporation to reduce overall drying time. 
  • Dehumidification equipment help to cut back on relative humidity (RH) to help boost evaporation rates throughout the work zone.

There are two common types of dehumidifiers you may see our crew using for emergency water restoration projects. One option is the desiccant dehumidifier that works using desiccants, which are chemicals that aid in pulling out and absorbing moisture from the air. 

Regardless of the cause of water damage within your property, you need skilled technicians to restore everything to pre-water event condition. Look to SERVPRO of New Haven for water repair and restoration – contact our team 24/7 by dialing (203) 234-1100. We’re Faster to Any Size Disaster!

Mold Damage is Best Handled by Trained Technicians in New Haven

2/23/2023 (Permalink)

employees with equipment standing in a parking lot SERVPRO can help with mold damage in your New Haven home. Call today for help from the mold remediation experts.

Call SERVPRO for Mold Damage Remediation in New Haven for Results!

Mold removal is a term you will often hear and see from various restoration and cleaning companies. However, all New Haven homeowners and businesses need to know that removal of mold is a fallacy. Microscopic mold spores, including countless varieties, are everywhere – in the air we breathe, our clothing, and outdoors. Rather than falling victim to companies or DIY products claiming to eliminate all mold, SERVPRO shows you how careful cleaning and proven methods help you sanitize and keep your interior safe for you and anyone in your home or business.

Mold damage in New Haven could lurk within your building without knowing it. If you experienced recent water damage or issues with humidity, there could be a chance that hidden colonization is developing. SERVPRO is there if you suspect black mold growth, whether you see suspicious spots or notice musty odors.

Some of the many reasons it is important to address mold as soon as possible include:

  • Structural damage – Even a minor mold issue can lead to structural problems as mold feeds on different organic materials. It will eat away at everything from fabrics and paper to glue and wood. Leaving mold for too long means damage to your flooring, ceilings, and walls.
  • Furniture degradation – Along with structural material damage, mold wreaks havoc on furnishings and personal belongings. Depending on the materials and makeup of each item, it can be challenging to repair or restore the longer that you wait.
  • Home devaluation – Mold is a big red flag whether you are looking to rent your property or sell in the near future. Rather than subjecting yourself to an enormous bill when having to call in professionals after failed DIY mold removal efforts, SERVPRO is there for skilled mold remediation and cleanup.

There are Ways that You Can Keep Your Property from Having Mold Issues

While there is always the potential for mold development, any New Haven business or homeowner can remain proactive to keep these pesky spores from colonizing. At SERVPRO, we are there to handle your mold cleanup needs but also want you to keep these helpful tips in mind:

  • Remove any water spills and moisture issues as soon as they happen
  • Keep all flooring dry to help minimize possible mold growth
  • Try to keep relative humidity (RH) levels within your living spaces under 60%
  • Periodically check your interior for mold, including areas under cabinets with plumbing, around bathtubs and showers, etc
  • Work on decluttering your interior by storing or removing unnecessary belongings

Do You Need Help with Commercial Mold Remediation?

When you have a commercial property in New Haven, you have a unique set of challenges when faced with mold infiltration. Black mold is a possible liability, and you have to think of your customers, staff, and visitors to your business. SERVPRO’s scalability allows us to handle even the most significant mold cleanup projects. This means we can get the job done whether you have a small office with ten employees or you detect mold growth at your production facility with 200+ employees. We arrive ready to work with industrial-grade cleaning equipment and products to ensure all surfaces get left Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!

SERVPRO of New Haven is ready when you need us for mold damage and detailed cleaning. Call us at (203) 234-1100.

Reliable Storm Water Cleanup Services for Residents of Haven

2/22/2023 (Permalink)

Sump Pump Don't let water take control of your Haven property. Call SERVPRO today!

SERVPRO Minimizes the Effects of Storm Water Damage in Haven

IICRC-recognized companies should offer stormwater cleanup services since many safety procedures and specialized equipment are required during the process. Furthermore, these technicians undergo training to acquire unique skills to handle the arising challenges as they get your life and property back to normal. To make the restoration process much easier, contact them as soon as possible.

SERVPRO defines the severity of stormwater damage in your Haven property depending on the type of water present and the level of contamination. You might struggle with "gray water" if the damage is caused by rainwater that primarily entered your home due to the roof being swept away by the wind during the storm. But, if the water entered the property after sweeping through the surface and picking up debris, sewage overflow, and other pollutants, chances are you are dealing with "black water."

You can follow some steps to minimize the possible impacts of flood water damage. They include:

  • Regular inspection: Our SERVPRO technicians can regularly inspect your home for susceptibilities like poorly draining landscaping, cracked foundation, and suitability of low-lying areas.
  • Sealing cracks: If cracks exist on basement windows and the foundation area, we can seal them to prevent water seeping into buildings during a flood.
  • Sump pump installation: We can replace a faulty sump pump or install a new one in your basement. The pump helps in removing water whenever flooding happens.
  • Ensure downspouts and gutter are clear: We remove debris from the gutters and ensure the downspouts direct water properly to lower the chances of it seeping into your basement.
  • Have an emergency plan: We can help you develop an emergency plan to assist in case of a severe storm or flood. It helps you identify emergency contact numbers, evacuation routes, and other important procedures.

Some water damage events can be overwhelming, no matter how prepared you are. You need the help of restoration technicians who have faced and solved such challenges before.

SERVPRO of New Haven works around the clock to provide reliable water mitigation services. Call (203) 234-1100 to work with a highly trained team of technicians that are Faster to Any Size Disaster whenever you face water, mold, or fire damage incidents.

New Haven Commercial Water Damage – What to Expect

1/24/2023 (Permalink)

wood floor with water damage SERVPRO is prepared with restoration equipment and experienced technicians.

Call SERVPRO in New Haven for Fast Water Damage Help

Hiring the right restoration team makes a significant difference when you have water damage at your New Haven commercial property. While there may be several services in the area, you want to know if they can handle large-scale water incidents and adjust accordingly to meet your needs. SERVPRO provides commercial restoration services, including total adaptability, to help you get results and avoid costly secondary damage or the onset of mildew or mold growth. We will always make it “Like it never even happened.”

A New Haven commercial water damage company like SERVPRO has the experience and knowledge to fully mitigate all risks and restore your property to preloss condition. We are happy to give you details on our services and what you can expect when you call us to your business for water removal and drying.

  • Initial Contact – The first step is calling our customer care team, where we will gather information about your commercial water damage and deploy a crew. 
  • Inspection/Assessment – We arrive within hours to begin assessing the source of water damage so we can determine the best fix and the following plan.
  • Water Removal Services – Our team pulls up all standing water with powerful pumps, extractors, and associated tools/attachments.
  • Drying – All affected areas get thoroughly dried using a mixture of industrial-grade dehumidifiers and air movers/fans.
  • Cleaning/Odor Control – All surfaces, including contents or inventory deemed salvageable, get cleaned. We use odor control methods and products to eliminate any musty odors.
  • Restoration/Reconstruction – Controlled demolition gets used to help remove and replace all unsalvageable materials. Everything gets finished off to return all impacted spaces to pre-water loss condition. - General Contractor License #: 0635648

SERVPRO of New Haven is available to address your commercial water damage needs. Whether you run a production facility, restaurant, healthcare facility, or warehouse, we have the scalability you need to get the job done right the first time. Call us at (203) 234-1100, and we can send a crew out for emergency service.

Water Damage in Your New Haven Home Doesn't Need to be Permanent

12/27/2022 (Permalink)

Water Damaged Tile Let SERVPRO of New Haven fix it, Don’t stress it.

Mitigation & Restoration after Water Damage 

Often, minor water damage doesn't seem 'that bad,' leaving many homeowners thinking that painting over the discoloration is sufficient. SERVPRO wants homeowners in New Haven to know that if any damage is more than superficial, any paint covering anything will most likely end up providing only temporary relief.

To protect your home in New Haven from water damage, we recommend assessing the area after any event involving the saturation of walls, floors, or other structural components. Because water gets into places you cannot see unaided, many customers are surprised when we show water or dampened areas underneath cabinetry.

Carpeting and its padding can retain tremendous amounts of moisture and slowly release it, damaging flooring and other nearby building materials. We can assist in undoing the damage by:

  • Extracting hidden water from different cavities,
  • Pre-treating surfaces against microbial infestation,
  • Cleaning and rebuilding your property, and
  • Providing standard deodorization techniques.

Getting the water out of enclosed or hidden spaces means we can dry everything faster. Less water means less damage and fewer locations. We have specialized equipment that helps us locate trapped water. We use the least destructive methods to open such areas when releasing trapped water.

Mold is one of the worst types of secondary water damage. Pre-treating susceptible surfaces with powerful antimicrobial agents keep such microbes from flourishing and causing problems. They do not require much to colonize an area inside your residence.

We clean everything up as we continue working, including as we begin rebuilding any structures that the water destroyed. Extensive damage from water can happen slowly over time, possibly due to a slow leak. Our General Contractor License number is 0635648.

Moisture can leave your home with a musty, off-smell. Some homeowners suspect water has caused damage in hidden areas of their homes because of this tell-tale scent. We use different ways to counteract these odors.

Contact SERVPRO of New Haven at (203) 234-1100 for highly trained and certified water damage specialists. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster.

New Haven Fire Restoration Relies on Understanding Smoke Damage

11/22/2022 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Call your local professionals at SERVPRO of New Haven to ensure your home is dry and sanitary.

The Behavior of Smoke Impacts Fire Restoration

Our experience as FSRT-Certified technicians helps us understand the complex behaviors of fire loss effects like smoke. Knowing what to expect helps us build the best offense to restore post-disaster byproducts and make it "Like it never even happened."

Fire Loss Effects Spreading 

Fire restoration for New Haven homes can be a widespread need, with loss effects moving quickly in available openings and pathways like the HVAC system. Since most homes have these connections open all the time to heat and cool the property, soot can be forced into many areas of the house. 

The Turbulence of Smoke 

A fire can create violent turbulence in your home's airflow, with convection currents created by the hot air replacing cooler air near the ceilings of rooms where fires occur. This smoke is under pressure, pushing debris and solids against vertical surfaces and ceiling assemblies that must get cleaned as part of the restoration process.

The Types of Smoke Damage

There are multiple types of smoke that SERVPRO professionals encounter when cleaning homes. Some of these include:

  • Wet Smoke – Smoldering fires burn slowly and create a greater volume of thick and formidable smoke. Wet smoke deposits result, forming more challenging residues for restoration professionals to clean.
  • Dry Smoke – Higher heat fires can cause thin, chalky residues on surfaces. These are among the easiest to manage and clean.
  • Protein Residues – When fires occur in the kitchen, they are commonly caused by poorly managed cooking or bad practices around the stove. Protein residues can form a cakey and sticky deposit on cabinets and countertops.
  • Oil Puffback – Connecticut homes use a variety of heating furnaces, including oil. When a small micro-explosion occurs in the ignition chamber from buildup, ionized soot can be rocketed through the ductwork and to the connected rooms.

When New Haven homes need fire restoration, there could be multiple causes. Understanding how smoke changes in different situations can help our SERVPRO of New Haven team provide the fastest and most reliable recovery service. Call us at (203) 234-1100.

Safeguarding Against New Haven Residential Mold

11/3/2022 (Permalink)

gutted kitchen with mold damage on the walls Contact our SERVPRO professionals at the first sign of mold damage in your home.

Understanding Mold Damage Prevention Strategies

Preventing mold can be an essential focus for homeowners, especially when you consider that your insurance does not often cover the destruction of your home. Protecting your home starts with understanding how to avoid microbial and fungal growth.

Mold Can Impact Many Areas of a House

Mold is a nuisance in and outside of your home and, as a living organism, continues to spread under favorable conditions in your house. Damp environments provide the needed requirements for facilitating mold growth.

The CDC suggests mold is everywhere, and in the outdoors, it rarely concerns property owners. These organisms are often found in the soil or moist, shaded spaces. However, mold damage can also infiltrate New Haven homes in areas like the basement, bathrooms, kitchens, and inside of wall systems where plumbing leaks or other water damage might encourage growth.

While many molds that can form and spread in your home are not toxic to the property owners, those with allergies could experience difficulties after exposure. The primary threat of mold growth is the impact on building materials, interior structural systems, and the contents of the property.

Does Your Insurance Cover Mold? 

Not surprisingly, your home insurance provider does not cover everything that happens in your home. An insurance provider protecting your home will consider these maintenance issues like rot or insect infestations. The exception for many homeowners is mold caused by conditions your policy typically covers, like burst pipes and leaks.

Some properties might be protected through flood insurance for secondary damages attributed to this natural disaster, such as mold or mildew development.

It is unlikely that your property gets protected against mold damage, and if it does, there is generally a small payout limit–typically up to $5000. Despite SERVPRO being a leader in the region's mold remediation and cleanup services, we want to encourage homeowners to pursue active preventative measures to keep their properties safe from destructive microbial colonization.

What Can You Do to Avoid Mold in Your Home?

Steps are possible to avoid the need for remediation by our SERVPRO team or mold damage reconstruction by our trusted partners with Connecticut Reconstruction Services (CRS.) Here are some dos and don'ts for safeguarding your property:

  • Do: Install exhaust fans for bathrooms and kitchens to reduce moisture and steam.
  • Do: Utilize equipment like dehumidifiers or air conditioners to maintain humidity levels of 30-60%
  • Do: Use mold inhibitors with the primer when painting walls and ceilings in your house.
  • Do: Inspect your roof regularly for damage that could result in water seepage or penetration to the attic.
  • Do: Inspect hoses and fittings for leaks that could cause widespread moisture damage to appliances in your home.
  • Do: replace hoses and connectors as wear becomes apparent, and you should check all water-fed appliances like certain refrigerators, water heaters, sinks, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines.
  • Do: Clean bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms with sporicidal products like bleach.
  • Don't: Allow water to accumulate and sit underneath houseplants.
  • Don't: Install carpeting in known damp areas of your home.
  • Don't: Allow gutters to collect leaves and debris, which could lead to water damage – clean them at regular intervals.

Steps to Address Mold After Flooding or Water Damage

Signs can indicate mold growth in your house, such as a musty smell or discoloration of wall systems, possibly hosting an active colony. Signs can appear in as little as 48 hours after water damages, and a fast call to SERVPRO ensures that your New Haven home receives prompt mitigation and remediation, such as:

  • Extraction – Removing standing water reduces the wetness needed to facilitate mold growth, and the longer this pooling persists, the more microorganisms SERVPRO professionals must overcome.
  • Removing Saturated Fabrics – Carpets, padding, clothing, upholstery, and other fabrics throughout a flooded or water-damaged home must be discarded and replaced if they cannot be dried before mold develops.
  • Removing Early Mold – Chlorine-based cleaning products and sporicidal solutions disinfect non-porous surfaces, remove early mold development on surfaces, and act as an inhibitor for further microbial growth.
  • Disposing Mold-Damaged Rubbish – Organic matter like rags, debris, and paper can amplify spore activity if not removed from the affected areas.
  • Resolve the Moisture – Preventing further mold damage relies on SERVPRO and trusted partners to repair and restore water penetration points. 

If you are dealing with mold damage in your home, trust our fast remediation response. You can reach our SERVPRO of New Haven experts 24/7 at (203) 234-1100. 

Education and Hurricane Preparedness for Property Owners

11/1/2022 (Permalink)

street covered in flood water When flood damage from a hurricane impacts your property, call SERVPRO. We have what is needed to have your property back to preloss condition.

Disasters and severe weather happen at any time, often without much notice or warning. Natural disasters like hurricanes bring intense flooding and damaging winds, making your property vulnerable. Learning about hurricane preparedness and safeguarding your home and family from possible storms is the best way to stay ahead of the game.

Do you Have an Annual Hurricane Checklist? 

There are several steps that all homeowners can take that will help prepare for storms and hurricane flooding. No matter where you live, be it high or low-risk, putting preventative measures in place will give added peace of mind and possibly save thousands in storm or water damage repair costs. 

Helpful Tip: Not sure where your property lies regarding hurricane flood risk? FEMA provides a flood map tool that outlines flood risk for your region. 

How Can I Ready my Home and Family for Hurricanes?

Getting a head start and preparing for storms, flooding, and possible damage will give you the solid foundation you need to weather the storm and quickly get back on your feet. Some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Formulate an emergency plan and begin practicing it. Putting together a plan for your family helps ensure you all know what to do in the event of hurricanes and flooding. Know an evacuation route and go over what to do should anyone become separated.
  • Build your emergency kit. Inside a preparedness kit, you will want water, food, medicine, and other supplies for a few days. Other popular items for such emergency kit planning include first aid items, flashlights, a handheld radio, and batteries.
  • Put together several ways to receive storm and evacuation alerts. Take time to download apps on your smartphone to receive alerts. You can also have a battery-operated portable radio to get important information if the power goes out.

Consider Investing in Flood Insurance

When you reside in a flood-prone area, you must remember that not all renter's or homeowner's policies will cover damages from floods. Water damage and contamination from floodwaters are expensive to rectify. Unfortunately, federal disaster aid rarely covers all homeowners' damages. 

Helpful Tip: If you do not know where to begin when looking for the property amount of flood damage coverage, FEMA has a flood damage tool to determine what flood damage could cost to restore your property. FloodSmart also has a website listing participating insurance providers.

Ready your Home to Resist Flooding

While some flood situations with hurricanes are unavoidable, you can work to prepare your property to minimize damage. Steps like cleaning your gutters and drains help ensure the water has a way to flow away from your property. 

Outside your home:

  • Elevate any utilities and service equipment to prevent flood damage and electrocution. You can do this by elevating switches, sockets, and electrical outlets to a foot above flood elevation estimation for your zone.
  • Install a rain barrel to collect water coming from your roof. 
  • Anchor any outdoor fuel tanks so they do not float and lead to injury or damage.

Inside your home:

  • Look into the installation of a sump pump or foundation vents.
  • Apply coatings or sealants to your home's basement walls and foundation.
  • Install drain plugs in the basement or look into sewer backwater valves for piping coming into your home. 

Cleanup and Restoration After Hurricane Flooding

Even in a low-risk area, hurricanes involving floodwater can generate extensive property damage. Flood-proofing your foundation can save an immense amount of money, but you may encounter flood waters, a leaking roof from storms, broken windows, and other damage. For all your water removal services and cleanup needs, SERVPRO is here to help. 

For constructions and extreme demolition projects, we look to our trusted partners at Connecticut Reconstruction Services (CRS) to handle everything from drywall replacement and new flooring to other fine details. We make your home "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of New Haven wants area residents to stay safe and prepared in the event of a hurricane. Should you require floodwater removal and drying, call us 24/7 at (203) 234-1100.

Four Steps to Protect Against Home Flooding No Matter Where You Live

9/28/2022 (Permalink)

coast line with stormy skies and rough sea Nor'easter and hurricane season will soon be upon us in the Northeastern US

Floods can happen anywhere. Communities that are at low to moderate risk of a flood receive one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Everyone should be prepared for a flood, no matter where you live. A flood of just one inch of water can cost a homeowner $25,000 in losses, according to FEMA. Flood insurance will cover most of the cost of damage caused by a flood. Additionally, flood-proofing your home can reduce the potential for damage to its foundation and your personal belongings. 

4 steps to protect your family and home against flooding

Whether you live in a high-risk or low-risk area, getting insurance coverage and bolstering your home's structure to prevent flood damage can save you thousands of dollars in damage repair costs. 

Here are four steps you can take to protect yourself and stay safe in the event of a flood. 

Step 1: Measure your level of risk 

Different regions have varying exposure levels to flooding. Densely populated areas, and communities near rivers, dams, and mountains are at particularly high risk. Knowing the risk level can help you assess the necessary steps you can take to keep you and your home safe. 

You can use FEMA's flood map tool to determine your region's risk of flooding. Some regions are marked with color codes indicating the likelihood of flooding there.

Blue zones and red with blue striped zones are areas at the highest risk of flooding. High-risk areas face more than a 1% probability of severe flooding (often referred to as a 100-year flood) in any given year, according to FEMA. People who live there are likely to see at least one significant flood in their lifetimes. Blue zones might experience floods of 1.5 feet to 3 feet. However, certain areas are subject to wavelengths of 3 feet or more.

Orange zone areas are at low to moderate risk of flooding. These areas face a 0.2% chance of significant flooding with depths less than 1-foot or with drainage areas less than 1 square mile. While orange zones are deemed low risk, experts still encourage you to take preventative measures to keep you and your home safe.

Zone Blue Risk

  • High-risk or special flood hazard area
  • 1% chance of significant flood
  • Depth of more than 1.5 feet 

How to prepare

  • Under the National Flood Insurance Act, homeowners in high-risk flood areas are required to purchase flood insurance. 
  • Homeowners in blue zones should also flood-proof their homes and have evacuation plans in place.
  • Homeowners in blue zones must obtain an elevation flood certificate to help determine their home's flood risk. 

Zone Orange Risk

  • Low to moderate risk
  • 0.2% chance of significant flooding
  • Depth of less than 1 foot or with drainage areas less than 1 square mile

How to prepare

  • Homeowners in low to moderate risk are encouraged to purchase flood insurance. 
  • They should also ensure all gutters and drains are cleared to prevent running water from damaging the home. 

Zone Yellow Risk

  • Area of undetermined flood hazard 
  • No research conducted in this area to determine flood risk
  • Potential high-risk area

How to prepare

  • Homeowners in undetermined flood risk areas should purchase flood insurance.

Zone Blue with red stripes Risk

  • Special flood hazard
  • High-risk area
  • Regulatory floodway 

How to prepare

  • Under the National Flood Insurance Act, homeowners in high-risk flood areas are required to purchase flood insurance.
  • Homeowners in blue zones should also flood-proof their homes and have a flood evacuation plan in place.

Source: Risk data from FEMA

Step 2: Insure your property

Flood insurance will cover the cost of damage directly caused by a flood, minus your deductible. Most homeowners and renters policies don't include flood insurance. You might need to buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by FEMA. 

The damage floods cause to your home can be expensive. Without flood insurance, a 4-foot flood in a 2,500 square foot, 2-story house, can exceed $100,000 in water damage. It's also important to note that FEMA disaster assistance usually only gives $5,000 in grants for each household. On the other hand, the average flood insurance payout is $40,000. Federal disaster aid is scarcely enough to recuperate the cost of water damages. That's why it is critical to ensure your home is covered before a disaster.

Quick tip: You can use FEMA's Flood damage tool to find out how much flood damage could cost for your house.

Under the National Flood Insurance Act, homeowners in high-risk flood areas are required to purchase flood insurance. For homeowners outside of high-risk flood areas, experts encourage that you protect your home with flood insurance. FEMA says that 40% of flood-related insurance claims are by communities outside of high-risk flood zones. If you live in an area of undetermined flood risk, you can get a document called an elevation certificate that details how susceptible your home may be to flooding.

The best time to buy flood insurance is well before a flood is most likely to occur, as it takes 30 days for a policy to go into effect. This is especially important during hurricane season. To sign up for a policy, call your insurance provider or an independent agent to purchase flood coverage. You can use FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program provider locator to find a provider in your area.

Flood insurance is available to homeowners in 24,000 NFIP participating communities. You can see if yours is one of them here. You can also check out FloodSmart to see if your area participates in discounted flood insurance rates.

Quick tip: You can find a participating insurance provider by visiting the FloodSmart website or calling the NFIP at 877-336-2627.

Step 3: Prepare your home to resist flooding 

"In preparation for a flood, homeowners should prepare their home to minimize the damage it will cause, even those in low-risk areas. Ensure that water can flow away from your home by properly cleaning gutters and drains. Homeowners are also encouraged to take pictures of their homes and valuables before flooding occurs. 

Here are some of FEMA's recommendations to protect your home from flooding: 

Outside the home

  • Maintain proper water runoffs and drainage. Gutters, downspouts, and splash pads keep rainwater on your roof from flowing into your home. Be sure to keep runoff systems and drainages clean and properly operating.
  • Install a rain barrel. A rain barrel collects rainwater from your roof. You can use the water in the barrel to water plants or wash your car. 
  • Elevate utilities and service equipment. Elevating utilities and service equipment will prevent home damage and electrocution during a flood. Raise electrical outlets, switches, and sockets at least 1 foot above the estimated flood elevation in your area. You should also raise outdoor equipment like air-conditioning units, and pool equipment above flood level. 
  • Anchor outdoor fuel tanks. Fuel tanks, if carried by floodwaters can leave people, property, and the environment susceptible to injury and damage. Attach your outdoor fuel tank to a heavy item like a concrete slab so the tank stays in place.

Inside the home

  • Protect valuable items. Keep important documents and valuables in a watertight security deposit box above the anticipated flood elevation level. Take pictures of important household items and personal valuables, as well. 
  • Install foundation vents or a sump pump. A sump pump transports water from your basement away from your home. Be sure to purchase a battery-operated backup sump pump in case of a power outage. 
  • Apply sealants or coatings to your home's foundation and basement walls. Seal any cracks and gaps where water could seep into your home's foundation. Also, coat the walls in your basement with a waterproofing compound to keep water from seeping through. 
  • Prevent sewer backups. Install drain plugs in your basement floor drain or install sewer backwater valves for all pipes entering your home. These devices prevent contaminated water from entering your home through toilets, sinks, and other drains. 

Quick tip: Visit FEMA's website for more information on how to keep your home safe during a flood.

Step 4: Stay safe during and after flooding

Preparation before a flood is key to minimizing damage to your home and preventing harm to you and your family. Here are some things to keep in mind during and after a flood: 

During a flood 

If you can, evacuate as soon as possible. Tune into your local radio or NOAA weather radio for emergency alerts. If a flash flood warning is issued in your area, move to higher ground immediately. If the water begins to rise above your feet or if moving rapidly, stop and turn around.

In high-risk areas have an evacuation plan in place. If you are leaving your home, turn off the electricity at the breaker panel to avoid water damage. Those in low-risk areas should also anticipate power outages and have several days of food and water supplies stocked up. 

While evacuating, if your car gets trapped, stay inside. Go to the roof of your car if needed. If you require medical attention, stay where you are, call 9-1-1 and listen for further instruction. 

After a flood 

Turn on the NOAA weather radio or your local radio station for updates and instructions. Don't attempt to drive in a flooded area. Even six inches of rushing water can result in loss of control of your car.

Beware of electrocution. If you are wet or are standing in water, don't touch electrical outlets and plugs. Also, avoid traveling in water. Floodwaters may be contaminated with sewage, oil, and other dangerous debris. Sanitize anything that might be contaminated and wear appropriate hazard attire (e.g. work gloves, protective clothing, boots and face masks) while you clean. 

Floods — even in low-risk areas —cause significant damage to homes. Not taking the necessary precautions could be costly and dangerous. Insuring your home with flood insurance and flood-proofing your foundation can save you thousands of dollars. Don't wait until there's a flood to take action, the best time to protect your home is now.