In the middle of November, areas around Doncaster in South Yorkshire suffered a whole month's worth of rain in 24 hours. On the 15th of the month, the Sun newspaper reported that the Environment Agency had issued more than 200 flood warnings for various parts of the country stretching from southern England to Wales, Yorkshire and East Anglia.
At the time of writing, more floods are expected.
So, what can you do as a property owner to protect your home?
Firstly, you need to understand just how likely it is that your property may be affected. So, in addition to those warnings of immediate danger in the news, you may also find out whether your home or let property is at longer-term risk of flooding by consulting the government website and entering the postcode.
Ensure you have appropriate flood insurance
Check that you have flood insurance.
As we explain in our Guide to Flood Insurance, you might encounter greater difficulties in arranging cover of your property if it is in a high-risk area or has previously had problems with flooding.
At UKinsuranceNET we work with specialist providers of flood insurance and may be able to secure you cover even if you have been declined elsewhere.
In addition to flood insurance, your own defences against the loss and damage caused by flooding may help to guard against the worst of the problems in the first place. So, what can you do?
Know your home
- thoroughly inspect your home for any obvious vulnerabilities, identifying any weak spots or leaks;
- this starts at the roof and includes all rainwater goods, such as gutters and downpipes, windows and doors;
- ensure that there is adequate run-off and make any leaks waterproof;
- the traditional response to rising water levels is to use sandbags – but as the website On the Market suggested on the 6th of September 2019, these are not wholly effective, take up a lot of storage space and may be difficult to dispose of once the waters subside;
- consider instead a relatively inexpensive investment in self-sealing airbricks, flood-resistant doors and windows, and other water-resistant barriers such as wall sealants, damp-proof membranes under your floor tiles, and waterproof skirting boards;
- if you have fitted airbrick covers to prevent the ingress of water in flood conditions, remember to remove them once the danger has passed. Alternatively, consider fitting self-sealing airbricks which have an in-built flotation device that rises with the incoming water and automatically seals off the point of entry;
- by fitting inexpensive non-return valves on drainage pipes, suggests the Home Owners’ Alliance (HOA), you may stop sewage from flowing back up from toilets and sinks;
Elevate your power sockets
- although it requires advance planning and is likely to involve some expense, consider raising all the electrical sockets on the ground floor by 1.5 metres or so – and hopefully above the level of any flooding;
- regardless of whether you have been able to raise the power supply sockets, raise any electrical appliances – including televisions and sound systems – above the expected flood level by placing them on plinths if necessary;
- another more expensive measure and one that will require advance planning for work to be done in the spring or summer is to re-landscape your garden so that rain and flood water is diverted away from your house.
Although you are never going to flood-proof your home or let property completely, there are several measures that may help to mitigate the worst of your losses when water levels rise.