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Protecting your home

Do you live in a known flood risk area? Take action to reduce the risk of floodwater entering your home.

Is your home in or near a flood risk area?

Visit the Environment Agency web site through the link below, type your postcode or place name into the box, press the 'SEARCH' button and you will see a map centred on your postcode, with 'standard' flood risk areas in blue and 'extreme' flood risk areas in green. 'Zoom in' on the map for greater detail. Environment Agency flood maps

Keeping out floodwater

Doors, windows and airbricks - There is a wide variety of approved flood resilience and protection products available to prevent flood water entering your home. A comprehensive list of products that have been tested and kite-marked by the British Standards Institution can be found in the National Flood Forum's Blue Pages Directory. The National Flood Forum is an independent charity providing advice about all aspects of flooding and property-level flood protection.

Drains and pipes - Non-return valves can be fitted to drainage pipes serving ground floor toilets, sinks and showers which will prevent wastewater from flowing back into the house. Gaps around pipes passing through external walls should be sealed.

Gardens - Gardens and driveways can be landscaped to divert water away from property.

Dealing with groundwater

If rising groundwater could flood your home a pump is the best way to deal with it. Other methods, such as sandbags, are ineffective because water comes up through the ground within your house rather than flowing into it.

To reduce the risk of structural damage to your home you should only pump out water when flood levels outside are lower than inside. Contact a structural engineer before pumping very deep water from basements. Be aware that pumping from one place to another may cause flooding elsewhere.

You must not pump water into the public foul sewer. When deciding where to pump water, you should contact:

  • your local Environment Agency office if you are thinking about pumping water into main rivers or boreholes
  • your local authority if you are thinking about pumping water into ditches, watercourses or piped watercourses
  • the water company if you are thinking about pumping water into public surface water sewers or foul sewers
  • the Highways Authority if you are thinking about pumping water into a highway drain

Reducing flood damage

Carrying out home repairs or improvements? Please bear in mind the following:

  • High shelves can be used to store important and valuable items.
  • Fix audio-visual equipment (TV, hi-fi etc.) to the wall at least 1.5 metres above floor level
  • Raise electrical sockets, fuse boxes, controls and wiring to at least 1.5 metres above floor level.
  • Use water-resistant materials in kitchens and bathrooms and, where possible, raise fridges and other appliances on plinths.
  • Fit water-resistant doors, window frames and skirting boards.
  • Replace suspended floors with solid floors and use rugs rather than fitted carpets. Buy extra-large, sealable bags to protect items that are difficult to move.
Updated: 30 Jan 2015
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