LSU AgCenter Specialist Advises Floodproofing As You Clean Up

Claudette Reichel  |  6/9/2005 8:11:46 PM

News Release Distributed 06/12/01

In Louisiana, floods happen. If your home was in the reaches of the recent flood, chances are you may get flooded again.

But LSU AgCenter housing specialist Dr. Claudette Reichel says another flood does not have to devastate your home and life if you floodproof as you clean up.

"Floodproofing your home is like dressing for a rainy day," Reichel says, adding, "There are a wide variety of ways to protect your home from the tremendous damage, ordeal and health hazards of flooding."

The LSU AgCenter has free fact sheets, loan-out videos and a Web site to help homeowners explore and evaluate practical ways to protect their homes and health. Visit the website at www.louisianafloods.org or your parish LSU AgCenter extension office for information on:

-"Wet" floodproofing your home. These are home improvements you can make during cleanup that will reduce future flood damage. These include relocating electrical outlets higher in the wall, remodeling with flood-resistant materials and protecting equipment.

-"Dry" floodproofing. This involves ways to seal your home to keep water out.

-Temporary flood barriers. These include water-inflatable tubing, sandbags or wrapping the house in plastic along with panel closures and pumps.

-Elevation. This means raising the house above flood levels, even if it's on a slab.

In addition, Reichel encourages you to make your floodproofing pay off even when it does not flood by including energy-saving improvements. These include:

-Replace (and elevate) flooded appliances and air conditioners with models labeled EnergyStar. This label is a way to identify products that are a good investment because they are certified to save energy and money while meeting performance and quality standards.

-Fix what's often the biggest source of air infiltration in homes by caulking to seal the gap between the bottom plate and the slab when the exterior walls are open and dried.

-Replace damaged doors with high R-value insulated steel or fiberglass doors with magnetic or other high quality weatherstripping. Look for doors where any wood in the bottom is treated wood.

-Replace damaged windows with insulated windows (two glazings with a dead air space) with a low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC of 0.40 is recommended, especially for west- and east-facing glass). The SHGC is more important than the U-value or R-value in Louisiana's climate. For flood resistance, consider vinyl or thermally broken metal frame windows; they will be less susceptible to water damage than wood frames.

-If roof leaks got your attic insulation wet, replace all wet insulation and add more while you're at it. Have enough for an insulating value of R-38.

-Before you add that attic insulation and bury your ductwork, have the ductwork checked for leakage. It's common to lose 30 percent to 40 percent of your cooling and heating through duct losses. This takes special equipment and a trained professional to measure the leakage. Duct joints and connections should be sealed with mastic, not duct tape.

If you make enough energy improvements, you may be eligible for a Home Energy Rebate Option (HERO). That is a program of the Department of Natural Resources that offers homeowners a rebate of up to $2,000 to help with the costs of making their homes more energy-efficient. It involves getting a home energy rating before you make the improvements. For more information about HERO, call 1-800-836-9589.

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Contact: Claudette Reichel at (225) 578-6701 or creichel@agcenter.lsu.edu

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