FEMA Offers Tips To Reduce Losses From Basement Flooding

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Release date: 
October 28, 2008
Release Number: 
1800-020

CHICAGO, Ill. -- For many northeastern Illinois families that were affected by floods last month, the worst damage was caused by water in the basement. That makes this a good time to talk about all the things homeowners can do to minimize the damage the next time floodwaters threaten their basements.

"The good news is there really are a number of relatively small and inexpensive measures that will make a big difference in preventing future losses," said FEMA Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Ken Tingman.

Here are some tips from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mitigation specialists:

  • Elevate all wiring, outlets, switches, light sockets, junction boxes and breakers high on the wall;
  • Build flood walls around basement windows and access points;
  • Raise home appliances above the flood plain or move them to a higher level in the house;
  • Elevate or relocate the furnace and ductwork onto a platform or raise the base on legs above the flood plain;
  • Move ductwork up to the ceiling level and replace with a downdraft system;
  • Anchor the fuel tank to structural supports and keep it topped off to reduce the chance of the tank floating;
  • Coat exterior walls of the basement with water resistant material;
  • Install a subfloor sump pump with an exit drain to a drywell; and
  • Add gravel that slopes down outside the basement walls to help drain tiles or the sump pump remove excess water more easily.

Be sure to check with your local permitting authority for more information and to obtain necessary permits and note that some of this work can only be performed by a licensed contractor.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:29