For North Carolina homeowners who have seen the flooding of recent years, standing water could seem like no big deal. After all, the pool of standing water in your yard won’t have the same dramatic consequences as overtaking bridges or carrying away cars.
However, standing water in your yard could be the start of a devastating cycle of water damage that could affect multiple parts of your home and property. Pooling rainwater can mean more bugs, an increase in flood risk, and eventually, structural problems with your house.
To explore the effects of standing water, let’s trace the cycle of water effects starting with what happens on the surface of the ground through to how it can affect nearby homes.
1. Attracts Mosquitoes and Pests
Standing water will attract mosquitos, flying insects, roaches, carpenter ants, ticks, rodents, and termites. Many pests like wet conditions, and standing water can make populations soar. For example, after Hurricane Florence flooded many parts of North Carolina, there was an explosion in the mosquito population, including a giant mosquito variety that’s as big as a quarter.
2. Kills Lawns, Plants, and Trees
Standing water and saturated soil will kill many types of vegetation. This can reduce your home’s curb appeal, and it can also increase the risk that weak trees will fall during a storm. Soggy soil is one of the biggest reasons for trees toppling because roots no longer have the soil strength to keep them upright.
3. Causes Septic System Backups
Septic systems rely on a leach field to disperse wastewater. When the surrounding soil is wet, the overwhelmed system won’t work properly. You may start to see wastewater bubble up in your yard, or sewage could back up into your house creating a very big mess.
4. Contaminates Well Water
A failing septic system could contaminate your well water, and the standing water itself can be problematic. The pools of water in your yard have the same quality risks as nearby lakes or streams, and water could contain pollutants, fertilizers, E.coli, wildlife contaminants, or chemicals. These contaminants could seep into the groundwater contaminating your well.
5. Increases Underground Hydrostatic Pressure
Wet soil naturally exerts pressure on a home foundation, and an increase in soil moisture will increase this hydrostatic pressure. This can lead to structural problems, including foundation cracks. The water in the saturated soil will always find the path of least resistance, and as a result, it could start to seep through your foundation cracks and joints.
6. Causes Your Home to Be More Likely to Flood
If you have pools of standing water in your yard, your home will be less resilient to weather events, and new rainfall will have nowhere to go. Even within the same neighborhood, homes with standing water could be more likely to flood than neighboring homes that don’t have the same problem. This can be problematic for homeowners who live in flood-prone cities like Raleigh, where seven percent of homes are at risk of flooding.
8. Leads to Foundation Damage
Many types of foundation damage stem from underlying water issues. Water can disrupt soil stability, cause the foundation to heave upward in the winter, cause differential settlement, and crack concrete. If you see signs of foundation damage such as uneven floors, wall cracks, nail pops, or a tilting chimney, the water problems in your yard could be damaging your foundation.
9. Causes Mold Growth and Air Quality Problems
As water problems in your yard cause humidity and seeping moisture in your home, you could start to have indoor air quality problems. Water in the basement or crawl space or humidity levels higher than 60 percent can lead to mold and mildew. This can be especially common in humid cities like Winston Salem, but all North Carolina homes could be at risk.
10. Damages Structure and Home Systems
Flooding in your yard can eventually lead to flooding inside your home. When this happens, wooden support beams will start absorbing water, potentially weakening your home’s structural integrity. Water can also damage appliances like your furnace or hot water heater. It doesn’t take much water to cause significant damage, and FEMA estimates that one inch of floodwater can cause $25,000 damage to a home.
What Can You Do About Standing Water?
Whatever stage you are in the cycle of water damage, effective water management is essential to stopping the problem from getting worse. Common solutions to standing water include:
- Yard grading gives your yard a gentle slope that can even out the low spots where standing water can pool.
- Drainage systems help you control the flow of water, and different kinds can be used indoors and outdoors to deal with problem areas.
- Gutters and downspouts help you direct new rainfall away from your home foundation to minimize hydrostatic pressure buildup.
- Basement waterproofing can help give you a protective shield that blocks out moisture to keep your home dry and comfortable.
- Sump pumps can automatically pump water out of your home as soon as it’s detected, and a backup battery will keep the pump going even if the power goes out.
Do you know the best method for dealing with water issues in your home? Get a free inspection from Tar Heel Basement Systems to get expert advice on what solutions are the best fit for your issues.