Don't ignore these major signs that your home is silently accumulating serious damage, which can put your health in harm's way.

Water, Water Everywhere...

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AP Photo/Gregory Bull

With rain and snow returning to the Mohawk Valley starting this Friday, homeowners across Central New York are strongly advised to check their basement and foundation walls for signs of a serious issue.

A report from Basement Systems states homes with poor drainage can lead to water accumulating under the house and inside crawl spaces. Water buildup is usually caused by storms, draining issues and plumbing leaks. Not addressing the issue right away can lead to long-term structural and health problems.

Standing water can erode a house's foundation and rot the structural wooden beams or joists. Additionally, the dampness can cause harmful mold that can reduce the air quality of one's home and trigger potential health issues. Additionally, the water can attract unwanted pests like insects and rodents.

Additionally, the longer a problem goes undetected, the more money homeowners must pay to fix it. The sad thing is, this issue can go undetected for years because isn't not so easily noticed.

Red Flags of Water Accumulation

Signs that your home is dealing with hidden water issues include damp spots on the foundation walls. Those with non-painted foundation walls inside their home are encouraged to look out for discoloration, like a mixture of light and dark spots.

Dark spots are a red flag that there is moisture present in the crawl space that needs to be cleared as soon as possible.

Read More: How Hot Weather Quietly Wreck Homes in New York

Discoloration on painted walls is also a sign that there is a water problem that needs fixing. This is why homebuilders tend to recommend against using waterproof paint on foundation walls, because they can mask this massive issue.

Experts also say efflorescence, or a buildup of salt deposits, on the wall is also a sign that water has been seeping into the crawl space. These deposits form when water manages to get past the wall and dries.

Homeowners should also take note if their house feels more humid than normal and check for signs of indoor condensation. Those without humidity readers can check their plumbing, HVAC refrigerate lines, metal ducts and even wooden beams for signs of wetness. If mold is detected on any of these surfaces, that is a major sign of a water problem.

Lastly, a presence of insects and other pests can be a sign that water is building up in hidden nooks and crannies of your home. Insects like cave crickets, silverfish and termites can be an indicator of a waterlogged crawl space. Other pests to watch out for are black widow spiders, snakes (or snake skins), termites and rodents.

What to Do If Your Crawl Space Is Flooding

Ethen Dell from Getty Images
Ethen Dell from Getty Images

Basement Systems says flooding can go undetected for weeks or even years since people don't go into their crawl spaces. The longer the water stays, the more damage it can cause to your health and home.

The report also said unaddressed water issues can also cause one's electricity bills to skyrocket because damp air "takes more energy to heat or cool."

Once detected, homeowners should see just how much water they are dealing with because that will determine the extent of repair work.

They warned:

Water in the crawl space won’t go away on its own. Removing standing water from the crawl space usually involves using a pump, a wet/dry shop vac, powerful fans, and a dehumidifier. A qualified restoration or remediation contractor should address severe flooding, water damage, or mold.

Once the crawl space is dried, homeowners can then figure out how to prevent water from returning into the area. Some solutions include sump pumps and landscaping the yard to slope away from the foundation.

SLRadcliffe from Getty Images Signature
SLRadcliffe from Getty Images Signature

However, bigger jobs should be left to the professional crawl space waterproofing contractors. There are plenty of companies across Utica, Marcy, Rome and other Central New York cities that are trained to handle these difficult situations.

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