Flooding is scary. It can happen anytime, anywhere, and causes damage without discretion. In fact, flooding events have the second highest mortality rate of all weather events in the United States1. During times of extreme weather (like a hurricane), water will always try to find its way into your home or basement.
Don't worry; this guide will give you the tools you need to prepare for, handle, and clean up flood damage—so if a storm approaches unexpectedly, you'll know exactly what you need to do.
Never underestimate flood warnings from weather services. Being overprepared beforehand can make the difference for your safety, thousands of dollars in flood damages and the loss of irreplaceable valuables.
The most important thing to remember is that you can't control mother nature, but you can react to it. Having a plan in place (and a water pump available) before a flood occurs is the best way to react quickly to emergencies and protect your home from water damage so long as it remains safe to do so.
Most cities and towns have established flood plans or evacuation/emergency procedures, especially in areas that are at higher risk for flooding. Check your local or federal government websites first to learn what plans are already available to you.
Flood Insurance is the simplest way to protect your home and your family while giving you some peace of mind. If flooding occurs, you'll be protected from the dizzying costs of flood damage, and makes the decision to evacuate easier.
Prepare an emergency kit that contains food, water, prescriptions, flashlights, and other emergency supplies. After your flood plan is in place, make sure your family knows what to do during a flood, like where to find emergency supplies, how to stay safe, and where to go in case of evacuation. Remember to include plans to keep your pets safe as well.
Know when to evacuate. Listen to the emergency warnings from weather sources and local news stations. If authorities tell you to evacuate, evacuate. No possessions are worth your life. If you have time before you leave home, follow the steps below.
Whether you decide to stay in your home or need to evacuate, there are a few things you can do to minimize the risk of flood damage to critical items in your home.
Your sump pump is your home's first line of defense against flooding caused by a rising water table from heavy rainfall. Unfortunately, no sump pump will protect your home from flash floods or massive flooding from hurricanes. Regardless, make sure to test your sump pump and all of its components, and invest in a battery backup system to make sure your setup can handle surges of draining water during emergencies and power failures.
It can't be stressed enough how important it is to have a working sump pump system that is properly sized for emergency situations. If your primary sump pump isn't working quickly enough (or it burns out and fails), the backup pump will kick on and help prevent flooding.
Sometimes flash flooding occurs without warning, and it's important to be able to react accordingly. If you are caught in a flood:
You've done all you can with the time you had, but sometimes there's still damage to clean up after a flood. Once it's been declared safe to return home, you should do the following:
Cleaning up after a flood isn't fun, but having the right water pump can accomplish a day's work in just a few hours. Below are our recommendations for the best types of water pumps for removing flood water.
(170 - 1,000 GPM) If there's debris in the flood water, and you're worried a dewatering pump may get plugged up, consider a gas trash pump. Trash pumps are designed a bit differently to be able to handle small solids.
If the flood water has affected your garden, or if it's spreading to your property from elsewhere, it's possible there may be bits and pieces of vegetation or other small debris floating in the water.
(33 - 92 GPM) If you've got a lot of water to move but are worried the water is contaminated with chemicals or oil, a gas-powered diaphragm pump may be the way to go. These pumps are capable of moving large amounts of water quickly and also pump chemicals and oils without corrosion to internal parts.
These pumps are very powerful, so be sure to use a durable hose and strainer or filter on your inlet/suction hose to ensure your pump doesn't get clogged with debris. If the flood water has affected your garden, or if it's spreading to your property from elsewhere, it's possible there may be bits and pieces of vegetation or other small debris floating in the water.
(53 - 150 GPM) If you need to remove standing water in harder to reach spaces in basements, garages, and crawl spaces, another option is to use a submersible trash pump. One benefit of these pumps is the fact they are completely submersible, not just the hose like on other units.
Trash pumps are ideal for basements, boats, or other small areas that may be hard to reach in some instances.