Colorado homeowners with standing water in their yards have a problem. The size of that problem will depend on how pervasive the water issues are and how much they’ve spread.
To learn about the cycle of water damage that happens on your property, we traced the impact of standing water starting with your yard, leading to your basement or crawl space, home, and health. In this list of 10 effects of standing water, you may discover how wide-reaching a standing water problem can be.
1. More Mosquitos and Pests
Pools of standing water in your yard are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other flying insects. The wet ground also creates an ideal environment for water-loving pests such as roaches, carpenter ants, ticks, and rodents.
2. Falling Tree Risks and Landscape Problems
Saturated soil can damage tree roots and kill plants. This can reduce your home’s curb appeal and also create a risk of home damage if a dead tree falls onto your roof.
In the worst-case scenario, a tree falling on your home can mean tarping over your roof until repairs can be made, turning off utilities until gas and electricity are safe to use, hiring contractors to repair the walls and replace the windows, and of course, dealing with your insurance company.
3. Septic System Backups
As standing water saturates your yard, your septic system can start to fail. The leach field depends on being able to disperse waste water into dry soil, and when that can’t happen, sewage could back up into the home through the lowest drain.
Having a backflow valve in your plumbing can help prevent the worst of the mess, but if the leach field remains saturated, the septic system will continue to be a problem.
4. Contaminated Well Water
Standing water in your yard can result in contaminated drinking water. Even when the pools of standing water never touch your well head, contaminants can travel into your water supply via the water that’s just below the surface of the soil. As a result, your water could become contaminated with fertilizers, chemicals, pollutants, bacteria, E.coli, coliform, or wildlife contaminants.
5. Increase in Underground Hydrostatic Pressure
Standing water on the surface of your property indicates that the soil below is saturated. As moisture is constantly being added to the soil around your home, there will be an increase in the force that water is exerting on your home’s foundation. Called hydrostatic pressure, this underground water can eventually cause foundation cracks or bowed basement walls.
6. Your Home Becomes More Prone to Flooding
What happens if you have another rainstorm on top of the standing water problem you already have? With saturated soil, new stormwater and runoff will have nowhere to go, and your property will be less resilient to rainstorms. Your home could even have a higher flood risk than other properties in your neighborhood that have better water management systems.
7. Shifting and Cracking Foundation
Most types of foundation damage start as water and soil problems. Colorado is known for its expansive soil that expands when wet and contracts when dry. These soil movements can destabilize your home, leading to cracks, tilting, and differential settlement. These foundation problems will lead to other signs of foundation damage such as uneven floors, sticking windows and doors, and tilting chimneys.
8. Water Problems in Your Basement or Crawl Space
Water will always look for the path of least resistance, and eventually, water problems in your yard will make their way indoors. As water seeps through the cracks and joints, the humidity will increase, and you could start to get puddles of standing water in the basement or crawl space. If the water issues and structural problems are not resolved, the home could start to flood with water.
9. Poor Indoor Air Quality and Mold
Water issues in your home can lead to mold and mildew. Even if problems are out of sight in a basement or crawl space, the stack effect causes air from your lower level to flow upward, and air quality issues in a basement or crawl space will circulate throughout the home. For occupants, this could cause allergic reactions, increased sensitivity, or dangerous health consequences if black mold is detected.
10. Structural Damage and Appliance Failure
If water problems in your home lead to flooding, you could face significant damage. FEMA estimates that just one inch of water in a home can cause $25,000 in damages. Flooding can damage drywall or weaken support beams. Moisture can also ruin appliances like a hot water heater or furnace. For example, in Denver, flooding causes about $1.1 million in damages each year, and homes with standing water in the yard before a storm are likely to see the worst outcomes.
What Can You Do About Standing Water in Colorado?
Many of Colorado’s water problems stem from the shape of the landscape and the extreme weather patterns. For example, Colorado Springs ranks as the state’s worst city for flooding with more than 15,000 properties at risk, but there’s a different problem a few hours away. In the southeastern part of the state, Las Animas is one of the worst cities in the country for drought, experiencing drought conditions nearly half of the time.
When it comes to managing water around your home, the best solutions help you to control or redistribute water. Water mitigation can include:
- Gutters and downspouts to keep rainfall and snowmelt flowing away from your home foundation.
- Drainage systems to funnel water away from problem areas and low spots in your yard.
- Yard grading to create a gentle slope to your property that improves how water flows.
- Basement waterproofing to create a strong barrier of protection against hydrostatic pressure and water problems.
- Sump pumps to automatically start removing water from your home as soon as it’s detected, helping prevent major flood damage.
Complete Basement Systems provides Colorado homeowners with customized water management solutions that address each property’s specific needs. Sign up for a free home inspection to learn the best ways to protect your home from water damage.