Know Your Attic
Attic condensation can cause damage to the attic space as well as the interior spaces.
What does it take to minimize condensation in the attic? How do you know you have this problem? What are the signs to look for? How do you remedy condensation?
It is common for poorly vented and insulated attics to develop attic condensation. This condensation can form droplets of water and accumulate into the insulation below.
This accumulation can leak through the attic floor and into your living space. It can also cause mold to grow on roof sheathing, trusses, rafters and ceiling floor.
If this condition is left unattended, mold can continue to grow into the living space. When warm air flows from your living space into the attic, it can meet the cold surface of your roof and convert to condensation.
With proper insulation and vapor barrier this will not happen.
In the winter the condensation will form frost and in the summer this condensation can grow mold.
Insulation Batts: Possible air leaks could exist through ill-installed insulation. This is especially true of polyurethane batt insulation.
If this insulation is not laid in a criss-cross pattern, then the spaces between the batts could be an avenue for warm air to migrate through.
Pot Lights: Pot lights could pose a risk as an air leak area. Pot lights need to be properly sealed. It is best to avoid placing pot lights on the ceiling next to the attic floor. For many homes this means the second floor of their home.
Bathroom Fans: Bathroom fans can also be another risk for air leakage. Bathrooms fans are required to vent to the exterior with an insulated duct. This duct should be metal and sloped to the exterior.
Oftentimes, I find flexible, un-insulated
bathroom ducts lying flat along the attic floor. This is a recipe for
condensation. This condition will need attention.
Plumbing Stacks: Plumbing stacks are sources for air leakage. They must be properly sealed as they pass through the attic floor.
Chimney Stacks: Chimney stacks will also be a source for air leakage.
Cables & Wires: Also ensure properly sealed electrical wiring and cabling.
Space in Partitions: Look for air leaks at partitions or load-bearing walls. Concrete partition walls (fire separation walls) in row housing are commonly a culprit for air leakage.
If you are going to venture into the attic, there are some basics you might want to know before you go up there and walk around.
The attic wasn’t designed for you to be walking around in it. You will have to respectfully and carefully do so.
Walk along the floor joist. If you walk between the floor joist, you will most likely end up through your ceiling below.