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Water, Water Everywhere on the Waterfront


Waterfront living is among the most desirable of locations in our area (Florida). The views and vistas are fantastic, not to mention the ability to walk out one's door to drop a line to fish or untie a line to enjoy boating. However, all this joy is not without some special concerns.

The most common fear heard from waterfront homebuyers is their concern that the river may rise and roll into their home. While it is not an impossible scenario, it is truly rare. More often than not, the water that posses the greatest risk to the waterfront home is not from the river, but rather from the water flowing overland toward the river.

Always remember that the river is the place that all water flows to. How a particular home is oriented to or obstructs the flow of water moving toward the river determines how dry the house remains. And for many homes in is not just how dry it is in the home, but also under the home.

The majority of water that affects the home is the surface water flowing toward the river. The volume of water can be in the thousands of gallons per hour during a heavy shower. If the grade of the lot is not proper, this can mean thousands of gallons of water in or under the home.

So, when looking at waterfront property, enjoy the view over the water, but be sure to look inland to be sure that your experience with water front living won't be with water in the living room!

But what should you do after you've experienced a flooded home? There is hope! Your home and its contents may look damaged beyond repair, but many items can be restored. There is a high probability that by acting quickly, your flooded home can be cleaned up, dried out, rebuilt, and reoccupied sooner than you think.

After your home has been flooded, play it safe. Always seek professional help. And while in the midst of cleaning and repairing, consider your preparation for the future. The American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests the following steps if your home has been flooded:

  • Take Care of Yourself First - Protect yourself and your family from stress, fatigue, and health hazards that follow a flood.
  • Give Your Home First Aid - Once it is safe to go back in, protect your home and contents from further damage.
  • Get Organized - Some things are not worth repairing and some things may be too complicated or expensive for you to do by yourself. A recovery plan can take these things into account and help you make the most of your time and money.
  • Dry Out Your Home - Floodwaters damage materials, leave mud, silt and unknown contaminants, and promote the growth of mildew. You need to dry your home to reduce these hazards and the damage they cause.
  • Restore the Utilities - The rest of your work will be much easier if you have heat, electricity, clean water, and sewage disposal.
  • Clean Up - The walls, floors, closets, shelves, contents and any other flooded parts of your home should be thoroughly washed and disinfected.
  • Check on Financial Assistance - Voluntary agencies, businesses, insurance, and government disaster programs can help you through recovery.
  • Rebuild and Flood-proof - Take your time to rebuild correctly and make improvements that will protect your building from damage by the next flood.
  • Prepare for the Next Flood - Protect yourself from the next flood with flood insurance, a flood response plan, and community flood protection programs. This step also includes sources to go to for additional assistance.

For more information on repairing your home after a flood, please visit www.redcross.org.

Many people highly prize waterfront living, and find it a deeply fulfilling experience. Knowing what to look for when choosing waterfront property will make your life on the water easier and more rewarding. Choose and plan wisely - it's about knowing!

Wally Conway is President of Florida HomePro Inspections, and has been featured regularly on HGTV's "House Detective". Wally has recently written a book entitled "Secrets of the Happy Home Inspector", available at GoHomePro.com or Amazon.com. As a speaker, writer, instructor, and host of The Happy Home Inspector radio show every Saturday at 3 PM on WOKV 690, Wally blends the right amount of up-to-date information with just the right amount of humor, insight, motivation, and real-world application. Visit WallyConway.com for more information!


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