Unless you have converted your attic to a livable space served by your home’s HVAC system, there is a very good chance that you have not really thought much about the amount of moisture in your attic space. Too much moisture in your attic can be detrimental to your home’s very structure, so it is important to take steps to avoid it. Here are four tips for regulating the amount of moisture in your attic.
Why Is Moisture Bad for Your Attic?
Too much moisture in your attic can be problematic when it condenses or turns from its vapor state into its liquid state, as warm, moist air comes into contact with cold, dry surfaces. When there is too much humidity in the attic, it will almost always condense on cooler surfaces, including exposed metal and just under the roof’s deck. This condensation leaves certain parts of your attic wet, and over time, that wetness can lead to mildew, potentially dangerous mold, and even rot that can compromise the structure of your roof.
Signs of Too Much Moisture in Your Attic
Unless your attic space is part of your living space, you will need to be observant and look for signs of too much moisture. These may include but are not limited to:
- Rust on metal surfaces such as ducts or pipes;
- Frost or ice on exposed roofing nails;
- Wet or moist insulation;
- Buckles, wrinkles, or even holes in sheathing;
- Stains on wooden surfaces; and
- Water dripping onto the attic floor or puddles or stains where water has dripped onto the floor previously.
Combatting Moisture in the Attic
There are several things homeowners can do to combat moisture in the attic. First and foremost, you should ensure that the relative humidity throughout your house is somewhere between 20% and 50%. Anything higher than this can cause condensation. Though contractors often recommend improving the ventilation in your attic space, this may lead to further condensation, particularly when the temperatures outside drop. Ventilation alone is often not enough to prevent damage.
The best way to prevent moisture in the attic is to control it at its source. Checking things like your gutters, the grade of your property, the moisture barrier around your home’s foundation, and even your HVAC system’s ability to adequately remove moisture from the attic can all cause excess humidity. Contacting a licensed professional for guidance and repairs is often the best route to take in these scenarios. With their experience, they can help you determine the source of the moisture and find the best ways to eliminate or control it.
The most important part of extending the life of your roof and the wooden parts of your attic is to ensure that the humidity level stays roughly the same throughout the year. There are many ways to do this, including installing dehumidifiers, tackling the moisture at its source, ventilating the attic, or even adding more insulation depending on your home and your unique situation.