Burst Pipe in the Kitchen

Disaster Recovery

Guide to Flood Recovery & Prevention

Updated August 18th 2023

River and coastal flooding affects millions of UK properties every year.

As a result, flood damage repair is required annually in some areas of the UK due to terrible flooding. Many households and businesses throughout the country are affected by flood damage, leading to hundreds, possibly thousands of pounds of costly repairs to homes, offices, and warehouses.

In this guide, we will take you through:

  • Common causes of homeowner and business premise flooding
  • How to assess your flood risk
  • 3 ways flood damage flood could affect your property
  • Flood prevention: What steps can you take to make your property flood-resistant?
  • Flood recovery: Hiring and buying flood recovery equipment

HSS Hire is here to help you when floods occur, appliances break down or pipes burst. When disaster strikes, our professional and quality equipment is available to help you remove excess water and recover from the damage.

We offer prompt delivery and extended hire times so that you can use the equipment you need when you need it most.


Common causes of homeowner and business premise flooding

It is a common misconception that flooding can only occur in low-lying areas and seaside or riverside residential areas. In the UK, 1 in 6 homes are at risk of flooding

The threat of flooding affects properties all over the UK in different ways. It is expected that more areas of the UK may be at risk of flooding in the future, as climate change alters weather patterns. Homeowners and business owners should understand what flooding is, what is caused by it, and what they can do to mitigate its damage.

Broken pipes

Broken pipes can be caused by heavy objects falling on them, or by rough handling during construction or remodelling projects. If you suspect that your pipe has broken, check for water running down the wall near the pipe or under a sink or tub. You may also see water leaking from beneath the floor. It’s important to regularly check your pipes and be aware of where they are outside of the property.

Blocked drains

A clogged drain can also cause flooding in your home. If you suspect that your drain is clogged, you might notice water backing up into sinks and tubs after they are used, especially if they are located near toilets or showers. You may also notice standing water in toilets, bathtubs and sinks after they have been used. Implementing drain guards in kitchen sinks and using a metal mesh drain screen where applicable can help to avoid blockages. We offer a number of options to help clear drains for both domestic and commercial use. You can hire a drain rod to help clear a blockage, or we have a range of plumbing tools to buy that can help with unblocking or maintaining drains. For some guidance, take a look at our blog on “How to unblock a drain”.

Clogged gutters

A blocked gutter can lead to leaks under the roof and then into the walls of your house. When gutters become blocked with leaves or other debris, rainwater will pool in them instead of flowing away from the house through downspouts and drains at the base of each wall. Gutters should be cleaned regularly to ensure that water is always diverted away from your property. An access tower or climbing a tall ladder can help with gutter inspection.

Broken appliances

If you have a washing machine, fridge or dishwasher that's not working properly, it can cause water to overflow and flood your kitchen. Faulty appliances can be caused by improper installation or faulty hoses. It's important that you check these appliances regularly to ensure they're working properly and that they aren't leaking. If left unattended or broken, flooding can occur. 

Foundation damage 

Foundation damage is one of the most common reasons for flooding in a property. This can happen when there is too much water around your home or when there are cracks in your foundation walls that allow water to leak through. If this should happen to your home, foundation repair is critical to avoid bad flooding. It is recommended that anyone living in a high risk area looks into foundation damage before bad weather, this helps to prepare for unprecedented circumstances.

How to assess your flood risk

Flood damage costs the UK around £1.3 billion a year, with low income households and business premises facing the majority of the consequences both physically and financially.

While flooding is mostly unpredictable, there are steps you can take to figure out your level of risk in order to best prepare for these often destructive circumstances.

Flooding can occur anywhere, but some areas are more at risk than others. If you are a homeowner or business owner you can quickly understand your property’s risk by entering the postcode into the government Flood Warnings page. You can also sign up to flood warning alerts.

Flood planning maps show where flooding is likely to occur, so you can assess your risk and take appropriate measures to protect yourself and your property. They assess the level of risk based on a number of factors, including:

  • The likelihood of flooding in your area based on previous flooding
  • The type and volume of water that could be present if flooding occurs (e.g. how much rain will fall in a short period)
  • The location and type of buildings in your area (e.g. whether they are built on soft or hard ground)
  • Your location relative to rivers and other waterways (e.g. whether there is a nearby riverbank)

Despite knowing your property is at risk of flooding, the interactive maps or records held by your local council may not answer the underlying questions. You could ask a flooding specialist questions like: From which direction will water come? What is the likelihood of flooding in the area? How can I protect my home? 

3 ways flood damage could affect your home or business

Flooding can have a devastating impact on your home or business. It can cause water damage and mould, cause structural damage and even lead to loss of belongings. As you can imagine, these issues are not only costly but also incredibly frustrating and timely to fix.

Flood damage can affect your home or business in a number of ways, depending on the type of flood and how high the waters reached.

Flooded houses and business properties

1. Damage to electrics

Flood intrusion to electrics is one of the most dangerous outcomes of a flood. The lethal combination of water and electricity means that this issue should be dealt with promptly. Plug sockets and wires exposed to water will need replacing by a qualified electrician.

The first thing to do when you start cleaning up after a flood is to ensure your electricity is off at all outlets in your home. This means unplugging everything from power sources before you begin working on any part of your house that may have been affected by flooding (even if it seems dry). This will prevent any electrical shock hazards or fires. You can find further advice on electrical safety after a flood here.

2. Damage to foundation and structure

The water in floodwater will begin compromising a building’s materials immediately if it remains in the house for a prolonged period. Water will stay in a building for a long time after a flood has receded, unless moisture control equipment and heavy duty fans are immediately used to dry the house.

Floods can also cause structural damage by pushing on the building foundation and basement. If you clean up any flood water in your house promptly, even if the flood wasn't high enough to enter your home, the ground outside could remain saturated for days. A building's foundation or basement walls could crack or collapse under the pressure of this water.

3. Damage to furniture

Floodwaters can contaminate and permanently damage soft furnishings and upholstery. Additionally, the risk of mould and mildew along with the build up of bacteria means that damaged furniture should be replaced. It may be possible to recover some furniture with deep professional cleaning, however, some items may cost more to salvage than to replace. Any furniture made of materials such as chipboard will quickly absorb water, whereas plastic and solid wood items may stay intact once thoroughly cleaned and dried.

Flood prevention: What steps can you take to make your property flood-resistant?

There are many ways to make your property flood-resistant, but one of the most important things to remember is that you should never wait until a flood happens to start thinking about these things.

If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, it's best to take steps as soon as possible so you can protect yourself and your family from being caught off guard.

Flood resistance

Try to prevent water from seeping into a property. Some ideas include:

  • Installing removable barriers to windows and doors when flood risk is high
  • Sealing any windows and checking for cracks in the brickwork (these should be filled in)
  • Install one-way valves to drainage pipes and toilets to minimise the risk of sewage backing up into the property

Flood resilience

This involves protecting the interior of a property in the event that water does enter. Some ways this can be achieved include:

  • Wall mounting TVs and placing sockets high up the walls
  • Fixing shelves high up to protect ornaments and possessions
  • Replacing existing wooden window frames with UPVC frames
  • Placing down stone or ceramic tiles to avoid damage to flooring
Puddle Pump

Flood recovery: what equipment you might need

If you should find yourself in a state of emergency following heavy rainfall or other causes of flooding, you’ll need to take immediate action to minimise damage and ensure safety. You’ll also need immediate access to pumping and drying facilities to clear the affected area.

Before taking any action, you should always contact emergency services if there is an imminent threat and danger to lives.

Step 1. Reduce risk to electrical items 

When your home has been flooded, it's important to act fast if you want to minimise damage and dry out your house quickly. There are a few things that you can do right away that will help reduce the amount of time it takes for your house to dry out and to reduce risk of fires from electronics. 

If it is safe to do so, make sure that all electronics in your home are completely unplugged before they are potentially submerged into water. This includes TVs, computers and any large appliances. If any of these items are plugged in when they're submerged in water, they could become damaged or short-circuit due to exposure to moisture. 

Step 2. Remove standing water with a water pump

If you're dealing with a flood, you could hire a water pump or alternatively buy a submersible water pump. We have various types of water pumps available at HSS to suit various situations, from dealing with low levels of water to high levels of debris-filled water.

Sump pumps are very good at dealing with groundwater flooding and deep levels of water. Submersible pumps are designed to be submerged in water and are built with a high flow rate (the pace at which it shifts water away). Should you live in a high risk area, sump pumps can be permanently installed to provide extra peace of mind.

Alternatively, a puddle pump works well to remove low levels of water (up to 1mm). This is the best solution for pumping out clear water from basements and shallow areas of water outside of the affected property. 

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Step 3. Ventilate and dry the area

The next step to recovering from a flood is to dry the affected area with additional drying equipment. Hiring an air mover (carpet dryer) and dehumidifier will significantly reduce drying time and help to dry floor-level dampness. An air mover is capable of drying out carpets, wallpaper and hard floors - this process is particularly speedy and effective when a dehumidifier is used in conjunction with the air fan.

Hire a complete drying pack from HSS for effective flood recovery

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For effective drying times you can hire a complete drying pack from HSS that will reduce the amount of time taken to dry out an affected area.

Each pack contains a pump dehumidifier and an air mover, providing you with the perfect combination to maximise performance and efficiency. Our pump dehumidifiers are designed to extract water from your basement or other low-lying areas where water lies after a flood. They work fast and efficiently, pumping water through the supplied hose away from the building. 

Our air movers have a powerful three-speed setting that works quickly to remove dampness from carpets, walls and staircases.

When you face uncertain situations such as flooding, look to HSS for everything you need to get life back on track.

Author - Marcin Haraszczuk

About the Author

Marcin Haraszczuk

Marcin is a member of our E-Commerce Team. He mixes creative flair with analytical thinking, has a knack for DIY and is always seeking ways to broaden and share his knowledge.

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