We've been getting a lot of calls lately from people with “leaky roof” problems. Most of the time, however, the problem isn’t a roof leak. (Hooray!) The problem is condensation in the attic. During the winter, especially when temperatures are very low, heat that rises to the top of the house and seeps into the attic can produce condensation and then freeze. When temperatures rise a little, this frozen condensation in the attic can then melt and drip back down into the home.
How do you prevent this from occurring (or recurring if you’ve experienced this issue before)? Here are four issues that can cause attic condensation and how to address them. Check for all four, and fix any problems promptly to prevent moisture damage in your home.
Check the bathroom vents.
Where do the bathroom vents lead? If they lead to the attic or another area inside your home, they need to be rerouted to lead outside instead. You don’t want excessive amounts of humid air sealed inside your home during the winter. It should instead travel through a ventialtion system that leads up through the roof and safely out of your home.
Don’t run humidifiers excessively during the winter.
It’s common for people to want to add some extra humidity to the (often uncomfortably) dry winter air. However, you can create major problems by adding too much humidity to the home. Excess humidity will put your home at a higher risk for an attic condensation problem that may cause damage to your home. Make sure you know how much humidity you can safely add to your home during the winter by reading this blog post: The Dangers of Unregulated Humidity Levels in the Winter.
If you know for sure that you have an attic condensation problem, you should refrain from running your humidifier until you address all of the issues discussed in this post.
Do you have an adequate amount of insulation in the attic?
Warm, humid air can reach your attic if you don’t have enough insulation or your current insulation is old and worn. Check the amount and condition of your attic insulation, and add more as needed. Before adding insulation, make sure any air leaks in your attic are sealed. Hire a professional to seal air leaks and then add the proper amount of a high quality, water resistant insulation, such as blown-in insulation. This will prevent warm air from getting up into your attic space and causing problems.
Inspect your attic ventilation system.
Over half of the homes in the United States have inadequate ventilation, according to the Department of Energy. Any humid air that reaches the attic needs to be blown out through a good ventilation system. Once blown out of the attic, the warm air should be replaced with cool, dry air from outside via a quality soffit. Lack of a quality soffit system can be a hidden but serious drain on your budget. In fact, according to Quality Edge, a poorly ventilated home can cost you nearly $8,000 over a 15-year period (the life of a typical asphalt roof).
With adequate insulation and a quality ventilation system in place, you can prevent moisture damage that can lead to rust, mold, insulation damage, rot, and ice dams. You will extend the life of your roof, insulation, drywall, and your home as a whole. You will also increase your home's energy efficiency and save money.
Roof Repairs in Polk County
Check out our website for information on our ventilation and insulation products, and let us know if you’d like us to diagnose the source of an apparent roof leak and give you a free repair estimate. If you live near Ankeny, Ames, or Huxley and need roofing services, contact us!