At Crawl Space Door Systems, our Certified Floodplain manager is often asked, "Does FEMA approve flood vents?"
No, federal policy does not allow FEMA to approve, accept, endorse, certify or recommend any products. While a product may be in compliance with FEMA design guidance, any language from manufacturers stating their flood vent is "FEMA approved", "FEMA Accepted" or "FEMA certified" is incorrect.
Another common misunderstanding is the difference between engineered, non-engineered, and ICC-ES certified flood vents. Engineered flood vents come with a certificate certified by a professional engineer that certifies the flood vent is designed in accordance with the requirements of the NFIP "Flood Insurance Manual" (2011) to provide automatic equalization of hydrostatic flood forces by allowing for the automatic entry and exit of flood waters. The certification also follows the design requirements and specifications established in . Non-engineered openings do not require a certification.
You may have also seen certain flood vents to be certified. That simply means the flood vent has been tested by the International Code Council Evaluation Service to prove the flood vent opens and closes when flood waters rise and fall. This ICC-ES test is only for flood vents that open and close.
Three Options to be FEMA Compliant when Installing Flood Vents
In, it states clearly on pages 18-19 that:
"The NFIP regulations identify alternatives to provide sufficient size and number of openings to allow for the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters. This section describes how this level of performance can be satisfied by use of:
- Non-engineered openings (or covers and devices) that meet the prescriptive requirement to provide 1 square inch of net open area for each square foot of enclosed area.
- Engineered openings (or covers and devices) that are specifically designed and certified by a registered design professional as meeting the required performance and design requirements outlined below (and, if applicable, the community’s building code).
- Engineered openings (or covers and devices) for which an Evaluation Report has been issued by the Internation- al Code Council (ICC) Evaluation Service, Inc. (ICC-ES), a subsidiary of the International Code Council, Inc. ( "
Be wary of companies that claim their product is the only flood vent on the market that is legal or approved by FEMA. A is FEMA compliant as long as it fits into at least ONE of the categories above. At Crawl Space Door Systems, we carry quality products that fit all 3 categories, at competitive prices. Please feel free to learn more about Engineered Flood Vents, Non-Engineered Flood Vents, and ICC-ES Certified Flood Vents.
We also have a Certified Floodplain Manager on staff, Chris, to answer your questions. Email [email protected]
Below is a video of Chris explaining three of the most important "rules" to consider to be FEMA Compliant when installing flood vents.