Water Damage and Mold in Attic

Mold thrives in dark, damp places with little air flow. Problems in your attic can allow mold to flourish. The problem is, is that mold growing up in the attic typically doesn’t stay in the attic. Microscopic airborne mold spores released by growing mold migrate into living spaces below, spreading into the inhabited parts of the home.

  • Studies have shown that airborne spores from active mold growth can seep out of enclosed spaces constructed with average residential methods. Unless the area is built and sealed to very high standards not common in residential construction, tiny openings in the structure will allow spores to migrate.
  • Contaminated air may be pulled out of a moldy attic down into living spaces due to pressure differentials. Colder air-conditioned air is heavier and naturally sinks to lower levels inside an enclosed house. This downward air motion creates a very subtle suction effect that draws spore-contaminated air out of the attic through tiny structural cracks and gaps into the living areas below.

We at Cousino Restoration know that moisture sources are numerous– bathroom exhaust fans, kitchen exhaust fans, clothes dryers should always vent out and not up into the attic. Less obvious moisture sources are attic bypasses; air leaks that allow warmer, moist air from the house to get into the attic. That is why we want to help protect your Toledo home.

Air Leaks

Each place that small cables or wires pass through the top plates of walls into the attic is an opportunity for the holes to leak air. Sealing these gaps can be easily accomplished with a can of foam insulation. Check for attic air leaks around the furnace vent; if there is air leaking into the attic around this chaseway, there will surely be air leaking everywhere else.

Attic Fans And Ridge Vents

Whole-house attic fans can be a major source of air leakage into attics. While they are a solution to poor ventilation, they can also allow rain and damp air in. Whole house fans are designed to be run in the summer only. However, air and water can get in twelve months a year.

HVAC Problems

Condensation dripping from the HVAC system ducts can accumulate in the attic. Drain lines can become clogged with dirt, rust, algae and other debris. (If the condensate drain pipe gets completely clogged, your AC system drain pan will overflow. This is probably the most frequent cause of water leakage from a central AC system.)  

When AC systems are improperly installed drain pipe fittings may not be secure. Over time, they can loosen, causing the drain pipe to disconnect from the AC unit and allowing the condensate to drain through the ceiling or onto the floor.

General Poor Construction

Other causes of mold in the attic area could be:

  • Improper roof construction where builder do not install soffit vents
  • Vents become blocked by poorly placed insulation
  • No drain pan under the HVAC or hot water heater

Attic insulation provides a perfect habitat for molds. It is an open structure with almost endless surface area providing more than enough nutrients. When water starts is provided, mold can flourish in dark attic spaces.  

Solution and Prevention Tips

Attic water damage can originate from above, below, or from sources inside the attic itself. Visit the attic and check for signs of water damage:

  1. Inspect the roof. Rain water seeps behind split shingles or through leaky flashing. Dripping inside the attic may occur some distance from the actual roof leak however, as water travels along the sub-roof panels and/or attic beams.  
  2. Prevent ruptured supply lines. In unconditioned attics, frigid winter temperatures can rupture uninsulated pipes. Inspect for evidence of pinhole leaks as well as seepage around joints. Refer any signs of leakage to a qualified plumber.
  3. Control condensation. Water vapor chronically infiltrating from living spaces below accumulates in the attic. Make sure soffit vents and roof vents are unobstructed to optimize passive air circulation. To reduce infiltrating water vapor, seal air leaks in ceilings, around recessed lights and weatherstrip the attic access hatch/door.
  4. Maintain attic appliances. An overflow safety switch can be installed to detect then automatically shut down the HVAC or hot water heater before water damage occurs.

Cousino Restoration Water Damage Process

If you discover water damage in your attic, or any place in your home, call the experts in Toledo. Cousino Restoration is dedicated to working quickly and efficiently to restore your property. Covering up air leaks with traditional insulation doesn’t stop the air movement; you need to have a plan to correct the problem and restore the damage.

Cousino can use infrared camera to identify these bypasses and leaks and make a plan for your home. A combination of dehumidifiers, fans and moisture monitors used ensures your property is thoroughly dried.  

Contact us for more information or emergency response. Four office locations throughout Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan provide our customers with fast, friendly, and local service.