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effects of standing water on michigan homes

10 Effects of Standing Water on Michigan Homes

If you have standing water, your home could be exposed to more water damage than you realize. Find out how the effects of standing water are similar to flooding.

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For homeowners across Michigan, seeing standing water in your yard is a clear sign that you have issues with drainage and water management. These pools of stormwater and runoff are just the tip of the iceberg. The water you see on the surface is only one part of the problem, and there can be wide-reaching effects throughout your property. 

As with most water problems, time is a key factor determining the severity of property damage. Persistent standing water problems may have already caused significant damage to your home, and quick action can help you avoid even worse consequences. 

To better understand all of the effects of standing water, let’s look at the full water cycle, starting with what happens on the surface of the soil down to the potential impacts on a home’s structural stability. 

effects of standing water on michigan homes

1. Causes More Mosquitoes and Pests

Many pests like wet conditions, and standing water can attract rodents, roaches, mosquitoes, carpenter ants, ticks, and termites. In addition to bringing pests to your yard, standing water can also be a breeding ground for insects. A Michigan State University professor explained that after spring rain and snowmelt caused wet conditions in Traverse City, the longer the pools of standing water stayed on the ground, the more mosquitoes that would be generated. This population explosion can last all season long.

2. Weakens Tree Roots and Kills Lawns

Standing water and saturated soil will also damage the lawn, plants, and trees in your yard. Not only can dead plants reduce your home’s curb appeal, but a tree with damaged roots could fall, causing damage to your home or vehicle. Depending on the type of tree, it could take just a week before standing water causes a tree to show signs of falling such as leaning or soil shifts. 

3. Leads to Septic System Failure

Standing water will continue to saturate soil and could also indicate a high water table for the area. This moisture in the soil can cause your septic system to fail. When the leach field of your septic system is unable to disperse wastewater, your system can be overwhelmed. As a result, sewage could back up into your home or bubble up out of the ground. 

4. Causes Well Water Risks

Sanding water has many of the same health risks as lakes or ponds including E.coli, pathogens, and contaminants. Just as flooding or runoff can contaminate your well water, standing water can have the same effect. Contaminants in the standing water could even pollute groundwater below the surface, contaminating your well through underground water channels. 

5. Increases Underground Hydrostatic Pressure

The standing water you see on the ground will continue to add moisture to the soil. As the moisture level increases in the soil around your home, there will also be an increase in the force the water is exerting on your home’s foundation. Known as hydrostatic pressure, this underground water pressure can lead to structural problems such as bowed basement walls or foundation cracks. It can also lead to basement flooding as moisture seeps through the joints and cracks in your structure. 

6. Makes Your Home More Likely to Flood

When your yard already has standing water and saturated soil, your property will be less resilient to flooding because stormwater and runoff will have nowhere to go. A home with standing water could even have a higher flood risk than a neighboring home without the same issue. This can be especially problematic in cities like Grand Rapids, where 15 percent of properties are at risk of flood damage. 

7. Leads to Foundation Damage

Water problems are the source of many types of foundation damage, and saturated soil near your home could cause ground heave in the winter, unstable soils during a wet spring, and soil compaction during the summer. These underground shifts lead to differential settlement where your home foundation is not evenly supported. Signs of foundation damage include concrete cracks, uneven floors, tilting chimneys, and stuck windows or doors.

8. Causes Water Seepage in Your Basement or Crawl Space

Outdoor water problems will inevitably become indoor water problems. It may start as a humidity problem, and eventually, water will naturally seep through the cracks in your basement or crawl space. If the underlying water problems aren’t resolved, the water pressure will build up and could lead to home flooding. 

9. Leads to Mold Growth and Poor Air Quality

Damp homes are prone to mold, mildew, and poor air quality. This can make your home unpleasant and ruin furniture, clothing, and other objects with porous surfaces. It could also have dangerous health consequences. Mold is already a pervasive problem in lakeshore cities like the nearby Toledo, and chronic water problems can make mold issues even worse. 

10. Damages Structure and Home Systems

Water problems can eventually damage the structure of your home and its mechanical systems including the furnace, hot water heater, and air conditioning units. If you have standing water pooling in your basement or crawl space, the wooden support beams will become weak from water damage, and appliances will start to malfunction or be dangerous to operate. Water damage can be expensive, and it’s estimated that a one-inch flood can cause $25,000 in damages. In flood-prone cities like Detroit, flooding costs residents more than $6 million in damages each year. 

What Can You Do About Standing Water?

Water management can help protect your home from the worst effects of standing water or flood damage. As Michigan’s largest and most trusted home repair contractor. FSM has helped homeowners throughout the state to develop the right water mitigation solutions for their property.

Common solutions to standing water include:

  • Drainage systems can be used to divert standing water from problem spots in your yard and can be used indoors to prevent water buildup in a basement or crawl space. 
  • Foundation waterproofing can help protect your home from exterior water threats like hydrostatic pressure or moisture buildup. 
  • Gutters and downspouts can direct the rain falling on your roof away from your home foundation into nearby drainage systems. 
  • Sump pumps can help you quickly address a home flood by automatically removing water as soon as it’s detected. 

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