After heavy storms, you may notice water coming in through your ceiling or moisture stains on your walls. Although your first though may be that your roof is leaking, this may not actually be the case. A very common cause of water infiltration, especially when outside temperatures are extreme, is attic condensation. If your attic is poorly ventilated or insulated, moisture can build up and find its way into your home.
Does Your Roof Have a Leak?
If you notice water in your home, first take steps to find out if you actually have a roof leak. If you discover a possible leak, call your local roofing contractor to determine how you should proceed to fix it and give you a professional estimate.
More often, however, moisture in Iowa homes is a result of improper attic ventilation or insufficient attic insulation, especially with the brutal summer heat and frigid winters. Regardless of the cause of the moisture, however, it's vital to take steps to identify and fix the problem, remediate the damage, and prevent further occurrences. Otherwise, you run the risk of structural damage to your roof, development of dangerous mold, and other serious and costly issues.
Improper Ventilation: a Year-Round Problem
Hot air rises, and in the summer, hot, humid air from inside your home collects in your attic. A properly functioning ventilation system should clear out the stagnant, moisture-heavy air, but a poorly functioning one can lead to swampy conditions in the summer months. In the winter, a poorly ventilated attic contributes to a buildup of frost. As it melts, it leaks into your home. A good attic ventilation system should get rid of the warm, humid air inside and replace it with cool, dry air from outside. This will keep your attic temperate and dry, preventing moisture buildup and keeping your home more comfortable.
Tip: Keep all of the vents open inside your home to allow the air to circulate properly. Closing vents will not save you money! In fact, closing vents around the house can damage your system and reduce the effectiveness of your home's ventilation, allowing moisture and condensation to form. This can cause significant and costly damage.
Poor attic insulation is another cause of condensation. Preventing hot, humid air from getting into your attic in the first place reduces the need to aggressively ventilate it out of the space. The first step to fixing this problem is to seal off all air leaks into the attic. A professional contractor can locate air leaks that you may be unable to find on your own. Some air leaks can be tricky to pinpoint, as they can originate under your current attic insulation.
Once you are sure your attic is properly sealed, you can add more insulation or replace old insulation. Blown-in insulation is perfect for attic spaces, tightly filling in areas around pipes, beams, and fittings better than rolled insulation batting. Modern blown-in insulation is moisture resistant and made from environmentally safe, recycled materials.
Tip: Using humidifiers in your home can significantly increase the moisture and humidity in your attic. The more humid you make your house, the more condensation will form in the summer, and frost is likely to form in the winter. The solution is to turn off or minimize use of your humidifier; although it can feel nice, it can be bad for your home. Also, make to run exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen when showering and cooking. Leave the fan on in the bathroom for 30-60 minutes after every shower or bath to get the indoor humidity levels back down to normal.
If you do have water entering your home through the attic, make sure you take action to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. If you don’t, it could lead to a number of serious problems: water stains, mold, poor indoor air quality, rot, and possible ceiling collapse. Don’t delay dealing with a water infiltration problem until it’s too late. Every day you put it off will increase the damage and your repair costs!
Hedrick Construction installs Owens Corning Insulation and Lomanco vents to keep your attic space dry and prevent water infiltration into your home. If you live near Ames, Huxley, or Ankeny, Iowa, contact Hedrick Construction for answers to any questions you have about your roof, attic, or insulation. You can get in touch with us at 515-597-7663 or by clicking the button below.