DAMS AND MOLD: WINTERS AND ATTIC CONDENSATION
Michigan winters mostly likely have tons of snowfall and cold temperatures. That will mean ice dams and the accompanying mold and frost in attics.
These conditions can eventually cost you money to properly clean up the mess and damage to your home. Environmental Maintenance Engineers is licensed in mold remediation.
FORMATIONS OF ICE DAMS
Ice dams form when heat leaking into attics or roof cavities from the building below or from attic ductwork melts the bottom layer of snow on the roof. The melt water runs down the length of the roof to the eaves, where it refreezes, forming a dam and icicles.
Liquid water pools behind the dam and flows under the shingles and into the building in the worst cases. Research shows that ice dam risk is greatest when the temperatures range between 15 – 20 degrees Fahrenheit – when it’s warm enough for snow to melt and cold enough for it to refreeze at the eaves.
The greater the depth of snow on the roof means the greater the risk of ice dams because of the insulating value of the snow itself.
FROST IN THE ATTIC
Visible frost can form in your attic if the building is located in a freezing climate and high levels of moisture are trapped in a poorly vented attic or roof cavity. You may see icicles forming in the attic on the nail heads or worse – hidden moisture in insulation or air ducts.
This typically happens when there is poor attic ventilation, exhaust fans from bathrooms not vented properly or warm air rising through the building and finding its way through cracks into the attic.
ICE DAM PREVENTION
- Make sure you have proper ventilation in the attic. Keep your soffit vent clear and open. Have a roofing professional check your roof and calculate the proper ventilation requirements. A well ventilated cold roof prevents ice dams.
- If you have gutters on the house – keep them clean and free from leaf debris.
- Have your bathroom exhaust vented through the roof and insulated if necessary.
- Ductwork in the attic should be well insulated and sealed from leaks.
- Air bypass – where warm air leaks through small cracks and openings – should be sealed. Check attic access ports in closets and can lights in the ceiling as potential areas of concern.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.