Spring Has Sprung: The Snow is Finally Melting Outside, but What is Happening in Your Attic?

Spring
Spring

There is no better sight after a long New England winter than the first blade of grass growing up out of the last patches of snow in your yard.  We welcome the littlest signs of spring, but with the spring can come a great deal of moisture. You definitely want to make sure that your attic is moisture free come April showers, because any wetness in your attic can cause a lot of stress and costly repairs throughout your house.  There are many possible reasons why your attic may have moisture and many of them may be hidden. Even if your ceiling isn’t leaking and you see no water seeping into your home from above, don’t be fooled into thinking that there are no issues in your attic. Make sure to check for all possible culprits in your attic that could cause damage now or down the road.   You always want to protect yourself from costly repairs and major damage.

What Causes Moisture in Your Attic??

Attic
Attic
  • Condensation- lack of proper insulation or insulation that has degraded over time can cause condensation from the outside or from your house’s heated interior to build up in your attic
  • Roof leaks- any leaks in your roof with create moisture issues in your attic
  • Poor ventilation to the outside of the home
  • Leaking pipes in the attic
  • Poor internal ventilation- this can be caused by dryer vents, refrigerators, and overuse of humidifiers
  • Basements or foundations- moisture can travel up your walls and ceilings from the basement, so basement flooding can cause moisture in your attic
  • Air conditioners- air conditioners create a lot of condensation and when not vented correctly can cause moisture in your walls and attic
  • Ice damming- ice damming in the winter can cause small to large leaks in your roof that will cause water to build up in your attic

Why Is Moisture in Your Attic Dangerous?

Moisture
Moisture

There are many reasons that moisture in your attic can become dangerous.  These reasons range from personal to structural. The number one reason that moisture in any part of your house including your attic is dangerous is that it can cause mold and mildew to build up.  Mold and mildew can be very bad for the health of the people who live in the home. Mold in your home can cause you to develop several health issues among them coughing, trouble breathing, headaches, stuffy nose, diarrhea, nausea and other gastrointestinal issues.  If you spend years in a home that has mold and mildew you can become very ill. Also, mold and mildew can travel from your attic to other areas in your home. This can not only cause health issues, but can require major and costly repairs needing to be done to your home.  

Moisture in your attic can cause a lot of damage to your home even in the short term.  If you have condensation in your attic in the winter it can cause ice damming which in turn can cause your roof to leak.  This leaking can cause your insulation to be degraded quickly and also cause the trusses and other support structures in your roof to rot.  Another possible downfall to having moisture or leaking in your attic is that it can cause your ceilings and walls to leak. If any of these issues occur you will need to replace degraded materials and you may even need to replace your walls and ceilings.  Of course, along with all this damage you will get mold, rot and mildew, which if unattended to can contaminate your entire house.

What to Do If You Find Moisture in Your Attic?

There are many steps to take once you find out that there is moisture in your attic.  But, how do you find out there is moisture if there are no obvious signs of damage yet?  One way is to have an energy audit of your attic done by a professional.  This can let you know where energy is leaking and if there is a build up of condensation.  You can also do some investigating on your own. One way is to look for any obvious signs of water damage, like water stains on walls or ceilings.  Also, you can check the underside of roof trusses for water droplets or signs of water damage. In addition, you should check these same areas for visible mold or mildew and the scent of these.

What do you do if you already know that there is moisture in your attic or if you have seen some signs of damage? The most important thing to do in this case is to remove the moisture and make sure that it can not develop again.  If you find wet or moist insulation and/or wet or rotted wood in your attic remove and replace it. To prevent moisture from seeping back into your attic you should determine the source. Once the source is determined make sure to do the following:

  • Increase the ventilation in your attic
  • Decrease the amount of hot/ warm air that is escaping into your attic
  • Fix any moisture issues in your basement or foundation
  • Make certain that your attic has the adequate level of insulation

If you aren’t sure about any of these issues or how to repair them yourself you should seek the assistance of an experienced professional as your family’s health and the longevity of your home could be at risk!