As one of the non-living spaces of a home, attics are often ignored when it comes to regular inspection and maintenance by homeowners. Other than storing the Christmas decorations that can’t fit in the garage, most people never look into their attics. However, this may not be a very good idea. Your attic is not only an ideal hiding place for squirrels, bats and birds, it can also be the perfect party location for what I like to call ‘attic mold.’ Mold in your attic is dangerous because often times it goes unnoticed until it starts seeking through the ceilings of the home. If it makes it that far, it is likely that there is lots of it and could cost you a fortune.
How Does this Attic Mold Party Start?
Just like any other room in your home, the infection begins once moisture / humidity levels get out of hand. We go over this a bit on our What is Mold page. The most common attic humidity level buildup is due to lack of proper ventilation. Other common moisture / humidity buildup sources include roof leaks and exhaust fans not properly directed outside of the home. Let’s take a closer look at these situations.
Most attic mold situations that occur because of improper ventilation happens during winter months. As the heat rises when we use our heating system, it finds it’s way into the attic. However, if the attic is not ventilated properly to the outdoors, the heat cannot escape. This warm air becomes trapped inside of the attic, develops a dew point as the warm air meets the cold surface of the roof and starts a condensation process. Voila, there’s your moisture. This high humidity situation can lead to liquid moisture as the condensation starts to buildup on metal objects, such as nails, and begin to drip water. This makes your attic the perfect venue for a moldy party.
Prevention Tip We would recommend a thorough inspection of your attic to be sure that your attic ventilates properly. Here’s a guide to determine if you need better ventilation. This article also gives a few tips on improving ventilation yourself.
A roof leak could be the fastest way to grow attic mold, especially during rainy seasons. Roof leaks could be caused by a number of things, including: heavy rain, hail damage, cracked flashing, buildup of debris or it could simply be worn due to aging. This list goes on. Once a roof has a leak, the moisture buildup is pretty straightforward. The water will leak into your attic during rainy days. After this rain sits in the attic for a few days, it is likely that a moldy party will begin. This moldy party even includes a view of the skyline.
Prevention Tip: Keep the roof clear of debris by regularly cleaning gutters or by investing in gutter guards and trimming trees that hang over the roof.
Improper Indoor Moisture Ventilation:
Indoor moisture ventilation sources include bathroom exhaust fans, kitchen exhaust fans and clothes dryer vents. It is important to find out where these moisture vents are pumping to. If any of these vents pump into the attic, it should be redirected to pump outdoors. These moisture vents pumping inside of your attic will drive humidity levels up throughout the entire year, creating the perfect moldy party environment.
Prevention Tip: Do a thorough inspection to be sure that all moisture vents pump outdoors.
What do I do if an Attic Mold Party has Already Started?
The first thing that you need to do is figure out where the moisture problem is coming from. Keep in mind that the list above only lists the three most common moisture problems. There are a number of of other ways that moisture can get into an attic.
At American Mold Experts, we take an initial shot at discovering a moisture source. If we cannot find a source, we provide recommendation to obtain the best results. After finding the moisture source and fixing it, the next step is to discover if you should hire a mold removal team or do-it-yourself. This decision should be made based on recommendations given by the EPA, which is to measure the affected area. If the area of the stain is less than 9 square feet, it is OK to try a do-it-yourself method. However, if the area is more than 9 square feet, you should contact a mold removal company.
If the infected area is less than 9 square feet and you feel confident in getting the job done correctly, here’s our diy attic mold removal guidelines:
- Protect your family
- Protect yourself
- Find the right product(hint: it’s not bleach)
- Clean the mold
For detailed instructions on all of the steps listed above, read our What is Mold? page.
Hire a Mold Removal Company
If your attic mold covers more than 9 square feet, you will need to call a professional mold removal company. At American Mold Experts, we provide a 100% organic, non-destructive mold remediation process. This organic process doesn’t use any harmful chemicals or methods and is considered safe for both humans and pets. Our process includes: fixing the moisture, preparing the property for a safe remediation, removing the mold and then having a testing lab come out and perform a post-remediation test. For more information about our mold removal process, visit our mold remediation page.
The first step having a mold-free attic is to make sure that you take the prevention tips. A small investment in an inspector to check for moisture ventilation exits or for a contractor to install proper ventilation will likely cost less than shutting down a moldy party. If there is already mold in your attic, it is important to hire a remediation company as soon as possible to prevent your family from suffering from the illnesses that it causes.