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Published on: Dec 30, 2015 by Admin

How to Manage Your Attic’s Moisture

The weather is getting colder and like any true New Englander, you’re probably bracing yourself for a never-ending winter with one snow storm after another. Although you might be worried about snow piling up on your roof, you should be more concerned about what lurks underneath it. New England homes are constructed with heavy snow in mind, so you’re much more likely to face structural damage from an ice dam than roof collapsing under the weight of snow. Ice dams can potentially cause interior water damage to your home. Here are the warning signs of water damage and what can be done to keep the moisture in your home under control.

Warning Signs

Snowfall followed by some pleasant days can spell disaster for any roof. Watch out for these two culprits that can indicate potential problems with your roof.

Icicles

As harmless as they appear, those glistening icicles decorating your roof during the winter may be the first sign that something is wrong with your roof. Icicles form when snow melts and the water runs down your roof, only to refreeze at the edge. During the winter, you’re blasting your heat to keep the interior of your house warm. The excess heat rises through the ceiling and into the attic, and the hot air continues to rise to the peak of your roof. This warm air begins to melt the snow, which then trickles down to the lower part of your roof, which the hot air neglected to warm. One of the main culprits of icicle formation is improper insulation of your attic. How can you tell if your attic is properly insulated? Stand in your front yard on a nicer winter day (when it is above freezing) to see how the snow is melting. If it is melting in uneven patches, you should call a professional to remedy the solution.

Ice Dams

If you think icicles are your enemy, think again. Ice dams are like the big brother of icicles. They’re both caused by melting snow refreezing on the edge, however, ice dams will do a lot more damage to your home and wallet than icicles. Just like a dam for a lake, ice dams prevent excess water from passing through. With no where else to go, the moisture collects under a shingle and damages the inside of your home. Ice dams can be prevented by properly insulating your attic and making sure that runoff has a clear path to drain. Before the first snow, be sure to clean out your gutters. And if you have easy access to your roof (such as from a second-story deck), you can purchase a roof rake to comb off some of the excess snow.

Condensation & Moisture

You may be asking yourself, “Why is condensation such a big deal in the winter? Shouldn’t we be more concerned about it during the hot and humid summer?” Surprisingly, excessive moisture in your attic is caused more so during the winter months because as the air gets colder, water can hold less moisture. This excess moisture then condenses in the colder areas under your roof deck. Moisture in your attic can lead to mold and mildew, which may be a health hazard to you and your family. Mold is not a problem to take lightly, it can easily spread through your HVAC system and is difficult, and often costly, to get rid of. Along with the variety of health issues excess moisture can cause, the real problem is structural damage. Water seeping in from ice dams may cause wood to deteriorate and rot, meaning an expensive repair from a professional contractor who will need to fix your home’s wood frame.

Solutions

The best way to counteract moisture problems in your attic is to make sure that your home has proper ventilation. Call a professional to examine whether or not your bathroom/kitchen and furnace/fireplace are properly vented and that you don’t have other factors contributing to moisture problems, such as a plumbing leak. Adding more ventilation to your attic itself is not the solution because this will lower the temperature of your attic and worsen the problem. You should also make sure that your attic is properly insulated. Not only will this save you from ice on your roof, but will also save you money on your utility bills.

Are you wondering whether or not your attic is properly insulated? Contact one of our roofing experts today.

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