The attic is one area of the home that is very likely to be neglected or ignored, mostly in part to “out of sight, out of mind.” Moisture can build up on the interior roof decking and create perfect conditions for mold growth. The roof may leak, ventilation may not be sufficient, or appliances or exhaust fans may blow hot, moist air into the attic. These are some of the most common causes of excessive attic moisture and mold growth. However, with proper care, you can help prevent mold in attic spaces.
During the winter months, microbial issues can often form in the attics of homes due to a lack of proper ventilation or condensation-related problems from high relative humidity and cold surfaces. Some homeowners have installed insulation in soffit vents, which can be a leading factor for microbial growth, as the insulation reduces airflow in the attic, allowing moisture to build up.
Any mold that’s left unchecked in your home attic space can reproduce, leading to potential structural deterioration of the roof’s plywood sheeting and other structural elements. Here are a few tips on how to maintain a mold-free attic:
How to Prevent Mold in Attic
- Check regularly for roof leaks that may produce moisture. Inspect the insulation and wood for discoloration, as this may be a sign of water damage. Check areas where two roofs join at an angle – this area is prone to cracks and leaks. The area around plumbing stacks may also suffer from water intrusion.
- Ensure proper ventilation. The moisture levels in your attic increase without adequate ventilation. This is particularly important in winter, when warm air rises to the ceiling, enters the attic, and condenses on the cold surfaces. It’s vital to have reasonable ventilation so that moisture can escape. Finally, make sure your vents are not covered by insulation. There are many ways to improve attic ventilation, so be sure to consult a specialist.
- Ensure adequate insulation. Attic insulation controls the temperature and moisture levels in the attic. In winter, the temperature in the space should actually be at or near the outside air temperature. Have the attic floor adequately insulated to minimize the air transfer between the main living area and the attic space. Ensure that the insulation of the other regions and surfaces in the attic, such as those of heating ducts, are also in good shape.
- Vent appliances directly to the outside. Your dryer, kitchen, and bathroom vents should always blow the air to the outside and not into the attic. Otherwise, your ventilation system could become overwhelmed and may not be able to eliminate the resulting moisture efficiently.