Nine tips for protecting your property from water damage

Did you know that flooding causes more damage than any other severe weather-related event in the United States each year? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), floods cause over five billion dollars in damages each year. Welcome to National Flood Safety Awareness Week, as we enter yet another season of melting snow and rain.
If you're looking for ways to protect your personal property this spring, start by heading downstairs. Basements are especially prone to water damage. If it happens to your home or commercial building, you could face large repair costs or a decline in indoor air quality associated with mold and mildew.
Keep in mind that dwelling policies do not cover floods. Here are nine steps you can take to protect your dwelling from the devastating effects of water damage:
1. Make sure the floor drains are clear and plumbing systems operate efficiently.
2. Identify and repair all leaks and cracks in windows, doors, roof, foundation, exterior walls, and plumbing and HVAC     systems.
3. Label shut-off valves so your water supply can be easily closed in the event of a plumbing leak.
4. Apply a water-proof sealant to the inside of your foundation walls (and to the outside walls as soon as the snow melts).
5. Test your sump pump, and install a battery-operated backup in case a storm causes a power outage.
6. Store all personal items in your basement in plastic storage bins to prevent them from being destroyed by water.
7. Use large carpet remnants or rugs rather than wall-to-wall or permanently-fitted carpets in the basement.
8. Protect furniture, appliances, and exercise equipment with sealed plastic bags.
9. Elevate electric components including all wires at least one inch above the floor. Most damage occurs when water is one inch deep or more.