The major Tennessee floods of the past few years have revealed just how damaging water can be. Even though standing water in your yard may not seem as volatile as rushing floodwaters that can sweep away a car, it can still cause significant damage to your home and property.
Standing water in your yard is clear evidence of water problems, and there can be wide-reaching effects from the cycle of water damage.
To understand all of the effects of standing water, let’s look at the full cycle of water, starting with what’s happening on the surface of the soil and working downward to how standing water can weaken your home’s structure. Here are the 10 effects of standing water on your home and property.
1. More Mosquitoes and Pests
Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and it can make Tennessee’s mosquito problem even worse. That’s especially true in Nashville, which ranks as one of the top cities in the country for mosquitoes. Standing water also attracts many insects and pests, including roaches, ants, ticks, termites, and rodents.
2. Damages Landscape and Creates Risk of Falling Trees
Saturated soils and standing water will kill your lawn, reducing your home’s curb appeal. It can also damage tree roots. As wet soil reduces the strength of the root system, trees could fall and potentially damage your house or car. After just one week of standing water damage, you may see trees start to lean or soil disturbances that indicate the tree is about to fall.
3. Causes Septic System to Fail
As your yard continues to absorb standing water, the saturated soil becomes a problem for septic systems. When leach fields are unable to disperse water, the septic system can fail. This can result in the plumbing nightmare of sewage backing up into the house or bubbling out of the ground.
4. Contaminates Well Water
The standing water in your yard has the same quality risks as a lake or pond. It could contain pathogens, bacteria, fertilizers, chemicals, wildlife contaminants, or pollutants. This creates a risk for your well water quality. Even if the standing water doesn’t reach your well, it could contaminate the groundwater below the surface and seep into your drinking water.
5. Increases Hydrostatic Pressure
As soil saturation increases near your home, the force that the underground water exerts on your home’s foundation will also increase. This buildup of water, known as hydrostatic pressure, can lead to foundation damage or flooding. Even though you can’t see what’s happening underground, signs of hydrostatic pressure on your home include bowing walls, cement cracks, and water seepage.
6. Increases Flood Risk During Storms
If you have standing water in your yard, your property will be less resilient to new water risks. The rainwater and runoff from the next storm will have nowhere to go. In Chattanooga where 42 percent of homes are at risk of flooding, properties with standing water could fare worse than nearby homes that don’t have the same issues.
7. Causes Foundation Cracks or Shifting
Many types of foundation damage usually start as water problems. The expansive clay soils of Tennessee will expand when wet and shrink when dry. These underground movements can destabilize your home and cause differential settlement where the structure isn’t evenly supported. Evidence of this can include floors that aren’t level, doors and windows that stick, cracks in the walls, or a chimney that’s separating from the house.
8. Leads to Water in your Basement or Crawl Space
Water is a powerful force, and eventually, an outdoor water problem will become an indoor water problem. At first, you might start to notice an increase in the humidity in your house. You could also start to see water seeping through the cracks and joints of your home, and eventually, the floor of your basement or crawl space may start to flood.
9. Causes Mold Growth and Air Quality Problems
Moisture and humidity in your home eventually lead to mold, mildew, or other air quality problems. It takes just 24 to 48 hours for mold to start growing, and eliminating mold issues can be a significant undertaking. Mold risk from standing water is especially high in east Tennessee cities like Knoxville where mold is common because of the damp and humid climate.
10. Damages Home Systems and Building Structure
Eventually, water problems will damage your home’s structure. Wooden support beams will absorb moisture and become weak. In addition to the damage to flooding and drywall, appliances like furnaces, hot water heaters, and air conditioning units will be ruined. Water problems can get expensive very quickly, and a one-inch flood in a home causes about $25,000 in damages, according to FEMA.
What Can You Do About Standing Water in Tennessee?
Effective water management can help protect your home from the effects of standing water and flood damage. By updating your home with water mitigation and drainage, your property will be more resilient to water threats and the impact of major storms can be minimized.
The foundation and waterproofing experts at AFS help homeowners throughout Tennessee protect their properties. We can’t stop the rain from falling, but we can help you be better prepared. You can protect your home from standing water damage with:
- Drainage systems to help keep water flowing out of low spots in your yard or other problem areas.
- Basement waterproofing to help protect your home from exterior water threats.
- Sump pumps to minimize water damage and automatically remove water as soon as it’s detected.
- Gutters and downspouts to help direct rain away from your foundation and low-lying areas in your yard.
Do you want expert advice on the best way to protect your home from water damage? Sign up for a free inspection from the Tennessee waterproofing experts at AFS.