There are several reasons why a business property may be vacant for a period of time. Reasons may be range from temporary closings, transitioning between tenants, or scheduled renovations. During these vacancies buildings risk flooding, which can go unnoticed until people return to the building. The longer vacant property flooding is left untreated, the more severe the damage, causing you to keep your business closed until that damage is resolved.
At Midwest Comfort Homes, our top priority is restoring your property back to normal, but we also want to inform you how to keep damage from happening in the first place! If your business building will be vacant for an extended period, keep the following tips in mind to prevent flooding damage from occurring.
Tip #1: Determine Your Flood Zone and BFE
Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Center Center online to find out whether or not your business is in a dangerous Flood Zone. By entering your business address, you will be taken to a satellite map, indicating your Flood Zone severity. By understanding your Flood Zone, you can prepare your building for the appropriate flooding risk.
BFE stands for “base flood elevation.” You can determine your building’s BFE by visiting FEMA’s Flood Map Center and typing in your business address. You want to make sure that your building’s lowest level is at least three feet above BFE for that area. If it is below the BFE, you may want to consider raising your building’s structure to protect against major floods.
Tip #2: Invest in Flood Insurance
If your business property is in a mid-to-high Flood Zone, it’s best to purchase flood insurance to cover the cost of potential damages. You can purchase flood insurance through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program or through a private insurance company.
Tip #3: Use Dry Floodproofing Methods
We recommend using dry floodproofing methods to give your building the best possible defense to prevent damage from potential floods. Here are some examples of dry floodproofing techniques:
- Fortify windows and doors with watertight seals.
- Use flood-resistant materials (ones that resist direct contact with water for 72 hours) when renovating or constructing your business building.
- Buy water barriers, tarps, and sandbags to use in case of a flood. These barriers can help stop the water flow and divert water away from the building.
- Install floor doors to use in case of emergency.
- If you’re located in a high-risk Flood Zone, you may also want to install flood walls around your property.
Tip #4: Use Landscaping to Your Advantage
If you surround your property with plants such as flower beds, bushes, and trees, you actually have a lower chance of experiencing flood damage. Plants can prevent soil erosion, and floodwaters will drain through plants and away from your building.
In addition to having plants, you want the land to slope away from your building so that water would flow naturally away from your building rather than towards it.
Tip #5: Elevate your HVAC and Electrical Systems
Flooding can easily damage your HVAC system if it is not elevated. Consider raising your system to a higher floor.
Other electrical systems are easily damaged by water as well. We recommend raising switches, sockets, breakers, and wiring at least a foot above your area’s BFE. This keeps your electrical systems safe from damage and prevents electrical hazards, which can be fatal to you or anyone in your building. As an added safety measure, be sure to know the location of disconnect valves of your electrical, gas, and water systems.
Tip #6: Seal Any Cracks and Apply Waterproof Coating
Over time, any building will experience natural wear-and-tear. Be sure to consistently seal cracks in walls, ceilings, and frames with high-quality polyurethane caulk. Then, add a waterproof coating to lower exterior walls and basement walls to prevent flooding leakage.
Tip #7: Make Sure Downspouts Point Away from Building
If your downspouts are directing water toward your building, then you risk water pooling at the foundation. Ensure that downspouts are directing water away from the people in case of rain or flooding.
Tip #8: Install Backup Power and a Pump Valve
During flooding, it’s common to lose power, which could negatively impact some of your business operations. If you have a backup generator or battery, you can still keep the systems of your business running, including AC systems, which can help dry the space and keep mold from growing.
Better yet, install a sump pump to your backup generator or battery. If your building experiences a power outage, the sump pump will automatically start pumping water when the main pump fails.
Tip #9: Store Valuables in a High, Safe Place
When vacating your business building for a period of time, it’s best to store expensive, valuable materials on one of the higher levels in the building. If a flood were to occur, chances are that the water wouldn’t reach the top form and damage those belongings.
Tip #10: Hire an Inspector to Routinely Check on Your Building
Left untreated, flooding damages severely damage the integrity of your business building. Hire an inspector to routinely check your building when away and you’ll know of any damages soon after they occur. If flooding problems arose, you could immediately contact professionals to restore your building back to normal.
Trust Midwest Comfort Homes for Your Flooding Restoration Needs
These ten tips will help prevent flooding damage to your vacant business property, but you still may see some damage when major flooding occurs in your area.
It’s devastating to return to your property and be faced with damages like these, but Midwest Comfort Homes is here to help you every step of the way. We will thoroughly inspect your property, negotiate with insurance companies and disaster mitigation companies to ensure you receive the care you need.
This isn’t business — it’s personal. You need your business property to be up and running at its full potential. If a flooding disaster still occurs, MCH has you covered.