Flooding can happen unexpectedly and cause long-lasting damage quickly. Luckily, there are a multitude of measures you can take to mitigate your home. They vary in complexity and cost. The good news is that many of your options are relatively low cost and efficient, especially when you compare the cost of the mitigation measure to the cost of recovery and repair.
Suggestions to get your started
- Get flood insurance. Flood insurance isn’t usually the first thing homeowners think about when they consider mitigation. Even so, it’s an important financial tool that you can use to protect your home.
- Regularly clean out your gutters. Gutters, downspouts, and drains often get clogged with debris. When this happens, water can pool along your foundations and exacerbate flooding conditions. Gutter maintenance is relatively low-cost and can save you a lot of money in the long-run.
- Elevate your home. Elevating your home is one of the most effective flood mitigation actions you can take. Sea Isle has a Designed Flood Elevation (DFE) which includes the added protection of freeboard. Make sure you know how high your structure needs to be to be compliant. Depending on your situation, elevation can be a costly undertaking. However, it will likely have a large impact on both your flood risk and your associated flood insurance costs. Check with a contractor to see how much it would cost to raise your house.
- Seal low-level brick or concrete walls. Sealing low-level brick or concrete can help to keep water out of your home during less intense flood events. Like cleaning your gutters, it’s relatively affordable.
- Install flood vents. Flood vents are openings installed on the lowest levels of your home. They allow water to pass through spaces like garages or basements so that, in flood events, water pressure does not build up and threaten the structural integrity of your walls. Flood vents are sometimes required for new construction, depending on whether or not your property has an enclosure that is below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Even if you aren’t required to, you should consider installing them.
- For commercial buildings, waterproof walks or place watertight closures over doorways. This can help to minimize ongoing flood damage. This method is not recommended for houses with basements or if water will get over two feet deep.
- Prevent sewer backup. Many houses, though not in the floodplain, have sewers that back up in the basement during heavy rains. A plug or standpipe can stop this if the water doesn't get more than one or two feet deep. They can be purchased at a hardware store. For deeper sewer backup flooding, talk to a plumber about overhead sewers or a backup valve. If your flooding problem is caused or aggravated by a sewer backup you may want to investigate a sewer backup rider to your homeowner's insurance policy.
More information is available at the Construction Office or the Sea Isle City branch of the Cape May County Public Library.
Important Note: Any alteration to your building or land requires a permit from the Construction Office, even the regrading or filling of lots. Contact us to learn more.