For Virginia homeowners who see standing water in their yard, the problem areas you see on the surface of the soil can have wide-reaching effects. Standing water can be dangerous for your home, causing a range of structural issues and increasing your flood risk. It can also be dangerous for your health and safety by attracting pests or causing mold growth.
To understand the wide-reaching effects of how standing water can affect your home and landscape, let’s start with what happens on the surface of the soil and work our way down to how standing water can impact a home’s structural soundness.
1. Mosquitoes and Pests
Standing water in the yard is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and flying insects. This is, of course, a nuisance when you want to be enjoying your yard, but it could also increase your risk for diseases like West Nile Virus. Standing water can also attract pests like roaches, carpenter ants, and ticks, creating sanitation issues for your home and increasing the risk of Lyme disease. Standing water also creates damp conditions that attract termites, which can cause extensive home damage.
2. Landscape Problems and Falling Tree Risks
Below the surface of the soil, standing water is creating wet soil conditions that could damage plants and the lawn. Not only can dead plants make your yard unattractive, but saturated soil will damage tree roots. In the worst-case scenario, standing water could lead to a nearby tree crashing through your roof because its roots aren’t strong enough.
3. Problems with the Septic System
For homes that have septic systems, wet soil can result in septic failure. Saturated soils and wet conditions can cause leach fields to be unable to disperse wastewater. This can mean that pathogens from sewage enter the groundwater, spreading disease and contaminants. Also, wastewater could back up into the house, causing an awful mess.
4. Well Water Risks
Saturated soil loses its ability to filter out pathogens and pollutants. If you have standing water and saturated soil near a well, your drinking water could have the same risks as the surface water in lakes and streams. This includes pollutants, chemicals, fertilizers, E.coli, coliform, and wildlife contaminants.
5. Increase in Underground Hydrostatic Pressure
Standing water will also be constantly adding moisture to the soil around your home, increasing the force the water is exerting on your home’s foundation. This buildup of water, called hydrostatic pressure, can cause a range of structural problems including flooding and foundation damage. Plus, this hydrostatic pressure can be hard to disperse because common construction practices can trap this moisture in the soil next to the house.
6. Your Home Becomes More Prone to Flooding
Standing water in your yard means that your home is less resilient against flood risks because stormwater and runoff have nowhere to go. This can be troublesome in areas where storm water management is already a problem. For example, in cities like Virginia Beach, 38 percent of properties are already at risk of flood damage.
7. Foundation Damage
Water problems are among the leading causes of foundation damage. Water can shift the soil underneath the home, causing differential settlement where the house starts bowing, tilting, or cracking. Soil saturation can also eventually cause concrete cracks.
8. Water Problems in Your Basement or Crawl Space
Eventually, outdoor water saturation will make its way indoors as water seeps through cracks to find the path of least resistance. Your indoor water problems may start as humidity before leading to moisture seepage and flooding. Over time, this can cause extensive home damage as well as health issues. For example, standing water can cause a risk of electric shock if the water comes in contact with outlets or wiring.
9. Mold, Mildew, and Bacteria Growth
Having water issues in your home will commonly lead to air quality problems like mold and mildew. This can be dangerous for the occupants as well as making your home less comfortable and enjoyable. Issues like mold can be especially common in high humidity areas like Richmond and Appomattox, but all Virginia homes with water issues could be at risk.
10. Damage to Structure and Home Systems
Water in the home could start to cause damage to the structure. For example, wooden support beams can become weak from water in your basement or crawl space, and appliances like furnaces, HVAC, and hot water heaters can be damaged by flooding and moisture problems. Flooding and water damage can be expensive. Even just one inch of water can cause $25,000 in damage to a home, and cities like Roanoke can see $5.2 million in flood damages to property each year.
What Can You Do About Standing Water?
Water management around your home is an important way you can protect your real estate investment and avoid both health consequences and structural damage. JES Foundation Repair provides customized solutions for Virginia homeowners to mitigate the water issues of each home.
Common solutions to standing water include:
- Gutters and downspouts can help you keep water away from your home foundation, manage storm water, and reduce runoff.
- Drainage systems are an important way to control the flow of water. Whether adding drainage to yards or basements, you can disperse water that collects in problem spots on your property.
- Yard grading is a passive way to address low spots in your yard where standing water can pool, and a gentle slope to the terrain will keep water flowing away from the home foundation.
- Foundation waterproofing can help protect your home from exterior water threats like hydrostatic pressure or moisture buildup. This can help you avoid the costly damage of flooding.
- Sump pump installation gives you the tools to quickly address a flood. Speed is one of the most important ways to prevent massive flood damage, and a sump pump can automatically turn on when it detects water. Systems with a backup battery will keep working even if the power goes out.
What’s the best way to protect your home from water damage? Sign up for a free inspection from JES to find out.