We explore the most effective flood defences and how you should prepare your home for emergencies.
It’s estimated that the bill for 2015’s severe winter flooding in the UK reached hundreds of millions of pounds, with thousands of properties affected and many victims across the country facing financial ruin.
Such extensive flooding—and the destruction it causes—is a scenario that experts think is likely to repeat itself more frequently from now on due to the effects of climate change. This means that all of us need to start taking practical measures to prepare for this new reality, particularly if we live in an area that’s significantly more prone to flooding.
Thorough preparation is key when it comes to the most effective flood defences. Remember that flooding doesn’t just mean water coming through the gaps in doors and windows—water can also seep up through the ground when soil becomes saturated, through airbricks and through drains in baths, sinks and toilets.
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If you live in a flood-prone area consider adapting your home’s interior: measures such as raising electricity points, wiring and fuse boxes to at least 1.5 metres above floor level, using tiling instead of installing carpets, wall-mounting TVs and keeping valuable items on high shelves could limit the damage that flooding inflicts on your property. Using materials that withstand water well—such as stainless steel in your kitchen—is also a sensible option.
There are numerous products available that could limit the effects of flooding. Most major DIY retailers will sell sealant, barriers, toilet seals, and flood-resistant air bricks. Consider having a supply of sandbags to hand: these can be placed by doors or ventilation pipes to prevent water from entering the property. Light alternatives to sandbags are also available online. Specialist flood guards can stop water seeping through gaps in doors and windows. Visit the National Flood Forum’s Blue Page Directory for a list of approved products.
Finally, consider investing in a flood water pump in case your property is flooded. Available from a number of reputable brands, these tools can quickly remove or limit flood water buildup, potentially reducing the cost of damage and allowing you to move back into your home as quickly as possible.
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