While Colorado is known for its mild temperatures and abundant sunshine, sometimes its weather can surprise housing professionals. For that reason, property managers need to be prepared for anything, including heavy rainfall and flooding.
Know Your Flood Level
Before a storm hits, it is important to know the flood level of your home, an official measure of how high floodwaters could rise where you live. You can find online flood maps on FEMA’s (Federal Emergency Agency) website or at your local building department or insurance agent. Then raise both electrical systems, including switches, sockets and wiring, and climate systems, including furnace and water heater, so that they sit at least a foot above your property’s flood level.
Grade Landscape Away From the Building
Land grading involves reshaping the ground surface of buildings to help control surface runoff, soil erosion and pooling water. Grading can help stabilize slopes and decrease runoff velocity at sites with uneven or steep topography. Work with a construction site operator to create a grading plan that details the steepness of slopes and how the slopes will be stabilized, maintained and protected from runoff.
Clear Gutters Regularly to Avoid Clogs
During a heavy rain, a clogged roof gutter can cause water to gush down the sides of a building, ruining landscaping and saturating the foundation. Cleaning gutters regularly can help avoid costly water damage and foundation repairs. Clear gutters at least once a year and always after big storms, and position the drainage extensions away from the structure.
Prevent Crawl Space Flooding
Crawl spaces usually consist of soil or sand, and when water collects in that dark space, it can result in mold and fungi growth. During a heavy rain, prevent water from coming through the vents by encapsulating the crawl space, which involves covering the ground with a vapor barrier and sealing vents. In the meantime, check any crawl spaces after a heavy rain for excess water as it can cause damage if it has not drained.
Service the Sump Pump on a Regular Basis
A sump pump is used to remove water in the sump basin, which is usually in the basement of homes. When excess water from rain or natural ground water causes a basement to flood, a sump pump sends water to a municipal storm drain or dry well. Make sure to have any sump pumps serviced regularly to ensure proper working order.
Plan the Landscape to Prevent Frequent Flooding
Plan landscaping with heavy rainfall in mind. Garden beds positioned directly next to a structure will hold moisture and rot siding. Plants that are too close to a building can cause a rise in ground water and result in possible water damage. Keep beds a minimum of five feet away from any structures.
Turn Off Utilities if Flooding Does Occur
If flooding does occur and electrical equipment is exposed to flood water, there is a danger of electrocution. Do not forget to turn off power immediately to avoid injury and further damage. If you cannot reach the breaker box without standing in water, call the electric utility to shut off power at the meter. Turn off water to the affected area as well.
While many of these actions can be taken by ambitious property managers willing to take on their own construction projects, professionals can ensure best practices in grading, clearing gutters, landscaping and more. Palace Restoration has more than 50 years of experience helping Colorado businesses and property managers. With distinct Commercial, Restoration and Emergency Services divisions, Palace can assist clients in all areas of commercial and residential construction and on projects of every scope.