Building flood resiliency
You can use many different strategies to lower your risk of flooding. Aside from major alterations to your home, there are some quick and simple solutions to reduce potential damage.
It's important to understand your current and long-term risk to flooding. We are planning for Boston's risk to future flooding through an initiative called Climate Ready Boston. But, there measures you can take now to protect your home or building from flooding.
There are only three measures that can have an effect on your insurance premiums:
- home elevation
- filling in a basement or crawl space (and wet floodproofing, as needed), and
- raising mechanical equipment out of the basement.
There are several other actions you can take to help protect your home from flood damage. Check out the options listed below to see if they might help your protect your home.
When you elevate your home, you lift the structure above the height of the projected floodplain. This is done by lifting your home onto temporary supports and placing it on a new or extended foundation. Elevating your home above the projected flood elevation (Base Flood Elevation), can keep your home and belongings safe from damage. If you choose to elevate, you must raise your home at least two feet above the base flood elevation. This extra two feet of elevation is known as “freeboard”.RAISE YOUR MECHANICALS
One of the most effective ways to make your home more resilient is by raising your mechanical equipment. Flood waters can damage mechanical equipment, making it more expensive to repair or replace. By relocating it from the basement or crawl space to the first floor or higher, you can significantly reduce the risk of it being damaged during a flood. You will save money in the event of a flood, and you may also save money on your insurance policy.FILL IN YOUR BASEMENT
You can fill your basement or crawl space with sand, gravel, or another material. This will raise your home’s lowest floor elevation without having to lift the house. By filling in your basement, you also ensure that your belongings are located above ground level. This makes them less likely to be damaged during a flood. You may also need to install flood vents to protect your home’s foundation and walls from being damaged.
Installing flood vents involves adding openings to the side of your building. This allows flood waters to flow through your home, reducing the risk of structural damage. Flood vents are only a viable option in homes where mechanical equipment has been raised.INSTALL BACKWATER PREVENTERS
Backwater preventers are relatively inexpensive and often easy to install. In the event that flood waters cause the sewer to overflow, a backwater preventer will prevent wastewater from flowing into your home.UTILIZE FLOOD RESISTANT MATERIALS
If you are planning a renovation or constructing a new building, consider using flood resistant materials. Choose non-paper-faced gypsum board and terrazzo tile flooring. You can also install floodproof cabinets or replace wooden items with metal ones. By using flood resistant materials, you can reduce flood damage and speed post-flood clean up.
The City is making coastal resilience a part of all City planning to reduce our risk to flooding. Our Climate Ready Boston initiative is developing solutions to prepare for climate change.
Climate resiliency is built by collective action. That's why we’re piloting the Climate Ready Boston Leaders program. The program gives volunteers in the City the tools to host their own conversations about climate change.
To learn more about the pilot program and other ways to get involved in the City’s Climate Action Plan, visit Greenovate Boston.