Attic ventilation is critical to maintaining even attic temperatures throughout the year. In the summer, proper ventilation vents excess heat. In the winter, it prevents the buildup of excess moisture and accumulation of water condensation.
Barring an actual leak in the roof, it is during the winter that the water and moisture that can lead to attic mold growth tends to occur. During cold weather, warm air from the house can escape to the cold attic area. When the warm air meets the cold surface of the roof boards, it can create ice crystals and water droplets. A moist environment, combined with a food source (wood) creates the perfect conditions for wood rot and attic mold contamination.
A greater danger is posed by bathroom fans that vent directly into the attic or soffit areas rather than directly outside. In many cases, moisture from bathroom fans is the primary source of attic mold infestation.
It is important to have a balanced ventilation system using equal amounts incoming and outgoing air. For bath fans, it is important to insulate around the vent pipe exiting the fan to prevent moisture from condensing inside the pipe.
By far one of the most common ventilation mistakes is the combined use of different ventilation systems. Incoming air enters the attic through soffits, which are vents are cut in the underside of the roof overhang. Exhaust air ventilation takes four basic forms: Gable end vents, box vents, ridge vents and power vents. Mixing ventilation types can cause problems. For example, using a ridge vent and a box vent together can cause a ridge vent to draft moisture-laden air from the box vent. When this happens, it can cause a damaging cycle of attic moisture accumulation.
In most cases, there will be some level of moisture that accumulates in your attic, simply due to extreme temperature differences between your home and the weather outside. If attic mold does appear (as large black or colored areas), consider having the mold inspected, treated and removed with a system designed to prevent future growth. Mold releases powerful enzymes that rot and destroy wood. Exposure to mold contaminants can cause a wide range of potential health problems.
Getting rid of the attic mold is important. At the same time, your home’s ventilation and air exhaust systems should be updated to keep moisture out and away from your home. After all, no one wants to repeat the same problem more than once!
H&H Environmental Construction and Consulting serves New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Westchester and New York City. We are the the industry leader in mold removal and prevention. Call us today!