Condensation in the attic can cause serious problems if not addressed. It can destroy insulation, damage stored belongings, lead to toxic moldd, or even damage structural elements of the home such as trusses and rafters.
To prevent these problems, you have to maintain a dry attic with low humidity. To do this, you'll need to identify the source of the moisture.
Signs of condensation in the attic may include the following:
- Moisture forming on the glass window panes or other flat surfaces.
- Water stains or mold on the ceiling
- Paint bubbling
- Sagging or cracking sheetrock
- Damp insulation
- Noticeable musky, damp odor
Common Causes of Condensation In The Attic
There are many sources of moisture in the attic. It could be a hole in the roof, improperly vented bathroom or dryer exhaust fans, broken water pipes, ice dams, or even a lack of attic ventilation. Even a small hole in the roof can allow tens of gallons of water to leak in before you can see the signs and catch it.
Solutions For Attic Condensation
I recently dealt with two different attics that had high levels of moisture in the attic. There was enough water in one that it actually saturated the ceiling in several corners and water was running down the walls and into light fixtures. In the other, the ceiling started to sag slighty, mold was growing in the corners, and the entire apartment had high humidity.
In both cases, the source of moisture was condensation due to the mix of hot air and cold air in the attic space. They were improperly insulated and the vents were partially blocked, restricting air flow. The roof was covered in ice and snow for over two months, creating an unusually cold spot. The hot and cold air mixed, creating condensation in the attic over a long period of time. Despite our low humidity, this was enough moisture over a two-month period to generate a lot of water!
We also had ice dams. This is where the warm roof melts the snow, which runs down the roof but is blocked from draining due to the ice built up in gutters or at the edge of the roof. The water pools up and eventually creeps back under the shingles.
Watch For The Signs!
Keep your eyes peeled for the signs. If you suspect a problem, have a contractor look in the attic and determine where the water is coming from and fix it. By dealingn with the problem quickly you'll prevent further damage to the unit and protect yourself from potential health risks.