In the wintertime, you probably don’t worry about sweating much. Despite that, when you venture up into your attic to pull out your cold weather sweaters and holiday decoration, you may notice something that looks very much like sweat building up on the walls and ceiling of your attic.
The good news is that your house has not suddenly developed sweat glands. The bad news? You have a condensation problem.
While condensation in the attic isn’t a unique problem, it is a clear indicator that your home may have some structural problems. In today’s post, we’ll be breaking down everything you need to know about:
- Why condensation in the attic forms
- What you can do about it
- How to identify it
If you’re ready to tackle your attic condensation, keep reading to learn all of our tips!
Why Is There Condensation in My Attic?
So, why is that pesky condensation building up in the first place?
The most common reason condensation in the attic forms is extreme temperature differences between your attic and the exterior of your home. When the cold temperatures of your roof meet the warm moist air from your attic, this leads to condensation.
While it is more common in wintertime, you may notice the same effect happening in the summer when it is hot outside and cool inside.
How to Spot Condensation
Nervous you have a condensation problem but haven’t spotted any actual condensation? Here are some alternative signs that might also indicate air leakage.
- Mildew Smell – Are you noticing a wet, musty smell coming from your attic? Mold and mildew are the most likely culprits. Mold growth tends to accelerate in a space where there is lots of humid air, which makes an attic a prime suspect. While most forms of mold are harmless, they can be irritating to your respiratory system and leave an unpleasant smell in your home.
- Rust – Are your pipes and vents in the attic starting to show signs of rusting? This could be due to water from condensation.
- Water Stains – Water stains can show up in many different places in your attic. You may notice dark stains on the floors, walls, and ceilings. However, items that are stored in your attic also often become water stained and can go a long time before anyone notices. While a water stain may be a sign of a roof leak, it could also be linked to attic condensation.
- Wet Insulation – As the protective layer between your roof and the interior of your home, it is no surprise that insulation is one of the first places that you may notice traces of condensation in attic. While you are unlikely to see the actual beads of water, you may find that your insulation itself is somewhat damp.
- Moisture on Windows – Windows are some of the easiest places to spot condensation. In fact, if you have older windows, you may have noticed condensation forming on the windows in the lower levels of your house as well. If the glass window panes in your attic space are looking damp, you likely are dealing with condensation.
What Are the Dangers of Attic Condensation?
A little water may not seem like anything to worry about, but attic condensation is not something to take lightly.
At its core, condensation is a form of water damage. While the effects might not seem as dramatic as a severe roof leak, over time, that water build-up can break down your roof, lead to mold growth in your insulation, and create a whole host of other problems.
The other thing to consider is what condensation implies. If attic condensation is forming, it could be a sign that your attic doesn’t have enough insulation. Not only does this mean that you are probably paying more for your energy bills than you need to be paying, but it also means trouble for your roof. Poor roof insulation can lead to things like ice dams, which can seriously damage your roof and gutter system.
How to Prevent Attic Condensation
Now that you understand how severe the consequences can be for your home if you do not treat your condensation problems, you are likely curious as to how you can solve them. There are lots of solutions available to you when condensation occurs. Here are some of the most popular and effective fixes.
1) Add Insulation
As we previously mentioned, the main culprit behind attic condensation tends to be poor attic insulation. To that end, the most obvious solution is to add more insulation to your attic!
One of the nice parts about adding insulation to existing insulation is that you do not have to use the same type. Many homeowners opt for blown-in or loose-fill insulation to put on top of the more common, fiberglass-based blanket roll insulation. However, if this is the route you choose to go, we recommend hiring a professional, as it can be a messy process.
Before installing your new insulation, make sure that the existing insulation is still in good shape and is free of any mold growth.
2) Roof Repairs
If a cold roof deck is your problem, some roof repairs might be in order. Roof repairs can help reduce air leakage and seal up any spots where cold air is getting in. This may be as simple as replacing a few damaged shingles. However, be aware that after having your roof inspected, you may find that more intensive repairs are needed in order to prevent moisture damage to the rest of your home.
3) Proper Ventilation
While it’s true that poor attic insulation tends to be the primary cause of condensation buildup, the second biggest culprit is incorrect ventilation.
An improperly vented bathroom or dryer vent can bring excess hot air and moisture into the attic. Having a professional re-route the vents to the outside of your home will help keep your attic condensation levels low.
Need an immediate, short-term fix? A dehumidifier can help absorb excess moisture in the attic until you can schedule an appointment with a professional roofing contractor. Be sure to actually schedule a roof inspection, though. A dehumidifier may fix the condensation, but it will not fix the underlying problem.
Get Help for Your Attic
Ready to tackle your condensation problems head-on? The team at First American Roofing and Siding can help. From ice dam removal to insulation installation, let us help you take care of your winter roof woes. Contact us today to get a free estimate on your roof inspection and repairs.