Elevating Furnace Avoids Damage

Coal City, WV - In March 2010, residents of Coal City began to worry about the amount of rain they were receiving. Nearly 6 inches had already fallen that month and another 2.5 inches that day was more than the ground could take. Runoff had become a problem for many residents, and basements were going to flood. Although homeowners William Ellison and Belinda Graham were concerned about their basement flooding, they were relieved that their furnace was protected. Heavy rains and runoff caused seven inches of water to accumulate in their basement, but their furnace was high and dry.

Having lived in their house for more than 10 years, the couple had sustained water damage to the old furnace in 2000 and had minor water damage in previous years. Each time runoff water entered their basement and damaged their furnace they would need to have it serviced.

In November 2009, after consulting with their heating contractor, they discussed relocating a new high efficiency furnace to other locations in the house. It was determined that the best installation method was to elevate the unit on blocks in the basement.

Ms. Graham told her husband, “If it’s in the basement, it needs to be elevated.” It was decided to elevate the furnace 32 inches off of the floor and install new duct work to increase its efficiency. Mr. Ellison stated, “Common sense goes a long way.”

Due to the furnace being considered a new installation, there was additional cost to elevate involving the ductwork and concrete blocks. This additional work, however, only amounted to a small amount of the overall cost. Mr. Ellison feels that he will recover that cost quickly due to reduced risk and eliminating any repair cost to the elevated unit due to basement flooding.

The couple believes the elevated furnace was a great idea, and they have encouraged their friends and relatives to take similar action to reduce future damages before disaster strikes.

Disaster loans may be available to protect property against future losses of the same type. These funds can help with the cost of making improvements that prevent, protect, or minimize the same type of damage from occurring in the future.

Activity/Project Location

Geographical Area: Single County in a State

FEMA Region: FEMA Region III


County: Raleigh County


Activity/Project Start Date


Activity/Project End Date


Key Activity/Project Information

Sector: Private

Hazard Type: Flooding

Activity/Project Type: Elevation, Utilities

Funding Source: Homeowner

Funding Recipient: Property Owner - Residential

Application/Project Number:

Structure Type: Wood Frame

Activity/Project Economic Analysis

Activity/Project Cost Amount: $0

Activity/Project Disaster Information

Since mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?  Yes

Repetitive Loss Property?  Unknown


Reference URLs

Main Points

Coal City
Raleigh County

Elevated furnace

Quick Facts



Primary Activity/Project:
Elevation, Utilities

Primary Funding:

Activity/Project Date


Hazard Types


Summary Documents