For Alabama homeowners, standing water might not seem as disastrous as floodwaters washing out roads. However, standing water can still cause lasting damage and have wide-reaching effects throughout your property.
To learn more about the cycle of water damage on your property, we’ve traced the effects of standing water starting with the surface of your soil down to underground water systems and structural problems with your home. Find out how standing water in your yard could be affecting your whole property.
1. Increase in Mosquitoes and Pests
Standing water will attract pests and turn your yard into a breeding ground for unwanted critters. Mosquitoes can breed in just one teaspoon of standing water, and if you have large pools of floodwater, populations can grow quickly. Water-loving pests include roaches, termites, rodents, ants, and ticks.
2. Damages Lawns and Causes Trees to Fall
Plants cannot grow in saturated soil, and standing water will kill your lawn and nearby vegetation. Water can even uproot entire trees because root systems do not have the strength to hold up trees when the soil is wet. In the worst-case scenario, a waterlogged tree could fall and crash into your home or land on your car.
3. Causes your Septic System to Backup
The leach field of your septic system relies on dry soil to disperse wastewater. If your yard is saturated, the septic system could fail. When this happens, sewage could bubble up into your yard or back up into the lowest drain of your home, creating a terrible mess.
4. Contaminates Your Well Water
The standing water in your yard could leach contaminants into your groundwater, which could affect your drinking water. Even when the standing water never comes in direct contact with your well head, the movement of water below the surface could put your drinking water at risk of contamination from pollutants, pathogens, chemicals, or wildlife contaminants.
5. Increases in Underground Hydrostatic Pressure
Your soil will continue to absorb moisture from the pooling water in your yard. As the area of soil saturation increases, waterlogged soil will approach or surround your home, and there will be an increase in the natural force that water exerts on your foundation. Called hydrostatic pressure, the water can crack concrete and cause basement walls to shift or bow inward.
6. Makes Your Home More Flood Prone
What happens when you have another rainstorm after your soil is already saturated from standing water? The new stormwater and runoff will have nowhere to go, and your water problems could worsen. Because your property could be less resilient to rainstorms, you could have a higher flood risk than other nearby homes that have better water management systems.
7. Creates Water Issues in Your Crawl Space or Basement
Eventually, outdoor water problems will become indoor water problems as water seeps through the cracks and joints of your foundation. At first, your home’s humidity will increase, and as the problem worsens, you could get puddles of standing water on the lower level of your home, either your basement or crawl space.
8. Causes Foundation Shifts or Cracks
Most types of foundation damage begin as water problems. Wet soil can destabilize your home, causing cracks, tilting, or differential settlement. You can see evidence of these underground changes inside your home with uneven floors, nail pops, or sticking windows or doors.
9. Worsens Air Quality and Causes Mold Growth
Alabama cities like Birmingham and Huntsville are known for their humidity, and water problems in the home can increase the risk of mold and mildew. It won’t just be your basement or crawl space that is affected. Air quality issues will spread throughout the house as air circulates upward from the ground floor.
10. Causes Structural Damage and Home System Failure
If water problems become indoor flooding, you could experience significant damage. Your furnace, hot water heater, and air conditioning unit could be ruined. Wooden support beams could also start to absorb water, weakening your structure. Just one inch of water in the home causes about $25,000 in damage, and in Mobile, where 33 percent of homes are at risk of flood damage, there’s about $41 million in flood damage each year.
What Can You Do About Standing Water in Alabama?
Water management is key to protecting your home from the damage caused by standing water and flooding. The waterproofing experts at AFS have helped homeowners throughout Alabama with the customized implementation of water management solutions to address the property’s unique needs.
Common solutions to standing water include:
- Drainage systems help direct water away from problem areas and low spots in your yard.
- Gutters and downspouts can help you manage new rainfall and keep water away from your foundation.
- Basement waterproofing can create a strong protective barrier against exterior water threats.
- Sump pumps can reduce water damage by automatically removing water as soon as it’s detected.
What’s the best way to protect your Alabama home from water damage? Find out with a free inspection from the waterproofing experts at AFS.