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How Does Standing Water Affect Your Maryland Home?

Standing water could have wide-reaching effects on your property, your home, and your health. Find out what Maryland homeowners should do about standing water.

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Whether or not you live in one of Maryland’s worst cities for flooding, water issues around your property could lead to standing water in your yard. At first, this could seem like a landscaping issue. However, pools of water in one area of your property can have wide-reaching effects and could even be dangerous for your home, causing structural issues or mold growth. 

Let’s look at the full scope of what happens when there’s standing water. In this list of the 10 effects of standing water on Maryland homes, we’ll start with what happens on the surface of the soil and trace the processes to how standing water can affect structural strength.

1. Increase in Mosquitoes and Pests

One of the first issues that Maryland homeowners might notice is that standing water creates an ideal environment for mosquitoes, carpenter ants, ticks, roaches, and termites. This can make your yard unenjoyable and have potential health consequences because of the risks of Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. Pests also damage your home, and a termite infestation can have serious consequences on your home’s soundness and market value. 

2. Risk of Falling Trees

Standing water and wet soil are also damaging to plants, trees, and the lawn. Excessive moisture can slowly kill any plant life, which reduces curb appeal. And trees with damaged root systems will become weakened because of the saturated soil. When this occurs, the worst-case scenario would be that a damaged tree would topple and crash through your roof. 

3. Septic System Problems

A septic system can also fail because of saturated soil and wet conditions. When leach fields are unable to disperse water, wastewater could back up into the house. No one wants that to happen. Plus, having saturated soil around a leach field means that pathogens from sewage will enter the groundwater and potentially contaminate the area. 

4. Well Water Risks

Your drinking water could be contaminated by standing water and saturated soil. Pooling water on the surface of the ground could include fertilizers, chemicals, wildlife contaminants, E.coli, and coliform. Even when the standing water doesn’t come in direct contact with your well, your well could still become contaminated from water that travels below the surface of the soil. 

5. Increase in Underground Water Saturation and Pressure

As standing water continues to add moisture to the soil around your home, the increase in water saturation will increase the force that the water is exerting on your home’s foundation. This underground water pressure is also called hydrostatic pressure and can result in foundation damage or flooding. Once this moisture enters the soil around your home, it can be hard to disperse because construction practices commonly create a bowl effect that traps moisture next to your home. 

6. Flooding Becomes More Likely

The water in your yard and soil makes it more likely that your home will flood during a heavy rainstorm. With soil that’s already saturated, runoff and stormwater will have nowhere to go. This can be especially problematic in cities like Baltimore, where 13,705 properties are at risk of flooding, and in Ocean City, where 85 percent of all homes have a flood risk. 

7.  Foundation Damage

Water can also cause structural damage to the home. Soils below the home will expand when wet and contract when dry. These small movements can make a home unstable and crack the foundation. This is why water problems are one of the leading causes of foundation damage. Foundation problem signs like cracks in walls, uneven floors, or nail pops are some of the first signs that something is shifting underfoot and you need to take action to protect your home. 

8. Moisture, Humidity, and Water in your Basement or Crawl Space

Over time, any water problems outside will eventually become an indoor water situation. Water will flow through the path of least resistance, seeping through cracks and causing humidity, moisture, or flooding. A key sign is when you start to see efflorescence on basement walls, a type of chalky residue that is evidence of water. 

9. Mold and Mildew Growth

Moisture problems will frequently lead to mold growth and mildew. Not only can this look and smell bad, but mold in the home can be dangerous, causing air quality issues and health problems. Mold issues can be especially common in high-humidity areas like the Washington, D.C., metro.

10. Damage to Structure and Home Systems

All of these water issues can lead to significant damage to the home. Support beams could weaken from water exposure, and flooding and moisture can damage appliances like furnaces and hot water heaters. 

According to FEMA, just one inch of water in a home can cause $25,000 worth of damages. While standing water in your yard may not seem like a problem now, it can have far-reaching effects, including home flooding. 

What Can You Do About Standing Water in Maryland?

Managing water around your home can help you mitigate or prevent flooding, structural damage, or health consequences. Each home may need a different solution to control the source of the water issue and protect the home from damage. 

Some water management solutions your home and property can benefit from include:

  • Gutters and downspouts control the flow of water, reduce runoff, and keep water away from your foundation. 
  • Drainage systems reduce pooling water, washouts, and problem zones by creating targeted water flows. 
  • Yard grading resolves low spots and provides a gentle slope to keep water away from your home. 
  • Foundation waterproofing protects the home from moisture, hydrostatic pressure, or flooding. 
  • Sump pumps automatically start removing water from the home as soon as it’s detected.

Learn the best way to protect your home with a free inspection from JES.