I’m sure you’ve heard that a home with an attic filled with condensation isn’t ideal. But honestly, who cares? You never go up there, the door is shut off from the rest of the home, and all you do is store some luggage and other forgotten boxes. What harm could a little condensation do? Unfortunately quite a bit. An attic that has condensation is merely s symptom of other issues. Condensation presence means that air is having free access to flow in and out of your attic (and therefore home) without issue. The air that you are paying to heat and cool is exiting and entering your home at will, drastically increasing your average electric bill. Condensation also suggests that there is water vapor and humidity in your attic. Humidity breeds mold, meaning that the moldy, unhealthy air is now circulating throughout your entire home for your family to breathe. This is not a safe situation. So what’s the solution? We’re so glad you asked! Our team of experts is prepared to secure your attic and rid it of any and all condensation. We’d recommend encapsulating your attic, installing attic insulation on the floor, and potentially even the walls. We’d seal up any air holes and ensure that the r-value for insulation is the right for your location and room. We’d conduct a full attic mold removal, scrubbing any existing mold and tearing out any fallen or moldy insulation. Your average electric bill would immediately be affected, as your HVAC would no longer be working overtime to heat and cool your home. Give us a call! We’d love to discuss your concerns further and find a solution for your attic condensation.
Attic Condensation: The Cause
Condensation – meaning some form of liquid – is found in an attic not because your roof is leaking. In fact, it most likely will not have anything to do with a leaky roof or flooding. Rather, the most common cause of attic condensation is an uninsulated and unsealed attic. Attic insulation acts as a barrier, slowing down the transfer of heat in and out of your home. Air sealing ensures that no holes are open to the outdoors, maximizing the efficiency of your home and protecting the space from any humidity that Charlotte, NC homes so often endure.
Condensation is best described as follows. It’s a hot, humid day in your home in Matthews, NC. You go grab a nice, ice-cold Coke from your refrigerator and set it out on a table in your backyard in the hot sun. Naturally, your Coke begins to “sweat.” This is condensation, as the cold Coke is meeting the hot air. The condensation is the result. The same occurs in your attic. During the hot summer in Matthews, NC, warm air is able to seep through gaps or holes in an uninsulated attic. The warm air then is circulated into your home. This warm, outdoor air comes into contact with your air-conditioned air. When the hot air meets the cold air, condensation forms. If the temperature variation is great enough, frost can form. Whether frost or plain condensation, this creates a great health risk. Condensation breeds mold. The mold then lives in your attic space and in the insulation (if installed). You and your family breathe in this air, which can have a great effect on your health. We would highly recommend any home with condensation immediately have an attic mold removal. From there, we’d want to encapsulate your attic and have it working at maximum efficiency to lower your average electric bill.
Attic Condensation: Identification
If you’ve determined that your roof is secure and no leaks are to be found, there are many visible symptoms in the attic itself that can clue you into the main cause. Unlike a roof leak where the clues are obvious staining and clear localized entry, attic condensation is not often localized, leaving clues in other fashions:
- Water stains going down the walls
- Water slowly rolled down the walls
- Musky, damp smell
- Visible Mold
- Visible Rust
- Dark Stains
- Damp or visibly wet insulation
- Damp or wet floor or wallboards
- Moisture on any windows or panes
- Buckled or warped roof sheathing
- Wide-spread nail pops
Attic Condensation: Prevention
So now that we know how it occurs, how do we prevent it in the first place? The best way to ensure that your home does not suffer from attic condensation is premeditated action. We’d recommend that any uninsulated attic become an encapsulated attic, or at the very least have some form of insulation installed. This will create a buffer, slowing the transfer of heat in and out of your home. The type of insulation you install is very important, as well. The r-value of insulation is especially important, as you need to ensure that the thickness of the insulation is the proper type for the room and your home’s geographic location. Here in Charlotte, NC, we’re Zone 4, meaning that an attic is required to have an r-value of insulation of anywhere between R-30 and R-60. The most important thing you can do is take offensive action to ensure that you aren’t playing catch-up later.
Attic Condensation: The Solution
If any mold exists already, you would first want to have an attic mold removal and insulation removal of any falling, wet, or moldy insulation. This insulation is no longer functional and offers no economic benefit. In fact, it is actually a hindrance, as it is housing mold whose air particles are now circulating throughout your home, putting your family at risk of health issues.
Air sealing is the next logical step. You will need to have any air gaps or holes in the attic sealed to prevent air from entering and leaving at will. Large gaps will be filled with spray foam that will expand once sprayed in place. It will create a tight seal, blocking the free flow of air. Smaller gaps (smaller than ¼”) will be sealed with a fire-resistant caulk. This will be around electrical boxes and other places with minuscule holes. These are all very important to seal, as you need an attic that is 100% sealed and shut.
While sealing the attic is important, proper ventilation is still necessary. Ventilation permits humid air from entering the attic once it enters. All vents need to be in good condition and functional. Vents should not be covered by attic insulation and fully open.
Attic insulation is the last and arguably the most important step in the process. You will potentially want to encapsulate your attic depending on the severity of the issue. Regardless, you and your specialist will discuss the r-value of insulation you desire in the space and make a game plan for attic insulation on the floors and the walls. You can choose from blown-in insulation, spray foam insulation, and foam board insulation, amongst others. Each has excellent benefits, but some are more functional in spaces than others. Regardless, however, an insulated attic will ensure the safety of the air you are breathing in your home, maximize your home’s efficiency, and reduce your average electric bills shortly after installation.
Attic Condensation: Next Steps
Find yourself all too familiar with the symptoms we’ve discussed and concerned that your home is suffering from an attic with condensation. Homes in humid environments, especially here in Charlotte, NC, fall prey to attic condensation quite frequently. If your average electric bills have continued to rise without reason, your home is beginning to smell musty, and you’ve noticed your attic insulation is sagging, it is very possible that your attic has a condensation issue. Have our team of experts out to your home. We offer free inspections to assess the area, and any damage, and provide you with a custom-fit solution. We will sit down and discuss the different options available to you, such as the type and r-value of insulation. We will explain the benefits of a fully encapsulated attic or simply some installed attic insulation. We will handle any attic mold removal and ensure that when we are done, your home is safe, secure, and set for the future. Don’t hesitate. Give us a call today. We’d be honored to serve you and your family.