Reminder! Check Utilities and Basement for Flood Damage

Release Date Release Number
DR-4728-IL NR-12
Release Date:
September 19, 2023

CHICAGO – With the late summer heat across Chicagoland, the last thing you may be thinking about is the winter months ahead. But as temperatures drop, your furnace will become the most important appliance in your home. FEMA suggests making sure your heating systems, water heaters and other appliances that might have been damaged by the June 29 – July 2 disaster are in good working condition before the cold weather arrives. If not, you may be able to receive help from FEMA to get them working again.

And while FEMA assistance is limited to items that make your home safe, secure and habitable, households with damage to essential living spaces of a basement—including garden apartments—may also be eligible for FEMA assistance to help cover those losses.

First, you must register with FEMA. During the application process, make sure to report any disaster-related damage to your furnace, water heater, other electrical appliances and occupied, lower-level rooms. 

After registering, a FEMA inspector will need to assess your home’s damage. FEMA inspectors are trained to recognize damage caused by a disaster, but they do not decide if you will receive assistance. FEMA specialists then review each applicant’s situation on an individual basis to determine all damage and losses that may be eligible.

Check Those Utilities, Stay in Touch with FEMA

If the inspection shows the floodwaters reached your home heating systems, you should have them checked for operating safety by experienced repair personnel. FEMA grants may be available to help repair damaged furnaces or water heaters and replace those destroyed by floodwaters.

If you received a FEMA grant for repair of your furnace or water heater and later discover those items need replacing, you can use the FEMA appeal process for additional grant funds. Applicants have 60days to appeal and must submit a letter with a verified contractor’s estimate for replacement of the furnace or water heater. To learn more about FEMA’s appeal process, visit

Disaster survivors who have not yet applied for FEMA assistance should apply online at, use the FEMA App on your phone, visit a Disaster Recovery Center or call 800-621-3362. If you use video relay service, captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA your number for that service. 

For even more information about the disaster recovery operation in Illinois, visit The deadline to register with FEMA is October 16, 2023.      

Last updated