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  1. #1
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    Attic maintenance/water damage

    Are we supposed to do anything to maintain attics? My house is only 3 years old and I went up in the attic today (after never having gone up there) and noticed there were already black mold spots on the plywood making up the roof of the attic There's no leaking from the roof, so I assume it's a humidity issue. My brother in law is a there's already standard stuff like vents, etc in the attic, and they're not blocked, so I don't know what else I'm supposed to do? He says maybe because it's a small house, humidity tends to be more of an issue. I don't really want to just sit by and watch my house slowly decay, but I don't know what can be done to prevent this stuff from happening. Damn, I miss renting!!

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    Two suggestions (or questions):
    1. Is anything venting into the attic like a bathroom fan or kitchen fan? Humidity from the fans will cause this to happen.

    2. Is there enough insulation in your attic and is it wall to wall? When we built our house we got standard attic insulation that was required by our local codes. Withing 2 years my bedroom ceiling was damp in places. After going into the attic, we found that the insulation had shifted away from the outer walls and there was nothing to keep the heat in the house from leaking into the attic. The warm room air and the cold attic air caused condensation to form on the ceiling. We added lots more insulation and the problem seems to be fixed.

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    We notice a stain around a light in the kitchen and it keep growing........no leak in the attic........it was leaking around the vent going to the roof.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Myskate
    1. Is anything venting into the attic like a bathroom fan or kitchen fan? Humidity from the fans will cause this to happen.

    2. Is there enough insulation in your attic and is it wall to wall? When we built our house we got standard attic insulation that was required by our local codes. Withing 2 years my bedroom ceiling was damp in places. After going into the attic, we found that the insulation had shifted away from the outer walls and there was nothing to keep the heat in the house from leaking into the attic. The warm room air and the cold attic air caused condensation to form on the ceiling. We added lots more insulation and the problem seems to be fixed.
    No to 1 (at least I don't think, but how can you tell?) but 2 is definitely a big question. I don't think there's enough insulation, will definitely have to get more. I've also been thinking about putting a dehumidifier up there, but I don't know how effective that's going to be, given that the vents are open all the time...it would definitely be a major energy suck

    Quote Originally Posted by nursebetty
    We notice a stain around a light in the kitchen and it keep growing........no leak in the attic........it was leaking around the vent going to the roof.
    Sometimes a leak isn't directly above where the water damage happens; the water can travel along a weird path on beams or seams and end up dripping at that point. You could get an inspection person to come look and take care of the problem. If you let it get worse, it could cost a lot more money to fix in the long run.

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    I don't think a dehumidifier in the attic will help. If the attic is too cold it will freeze up. We aren't even supposed to run them in the basement during the winter for the same reason.

    If you have bathroom ceiling fans, you will have to go into the attic above where your bathroom is and look for metal(probably aluminum) ductwork coming up through the floor. Make sure this ductwork is vented through the roof. If there is a ceiling fan and no ductwork, or there is some ductwork but it is not vented through the roof it should be fixed. All the warm, moist air is being pumped into your attic. Since warm air rises it will likely go to the top of your roof, freeze and when a warm up comes thaw and soak into the wood or leak onto your ceiling.

    One more question: Do you have vents at the top of your attic besides the ones in your soffits? You need both for maximum air circulation.

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    Too bad that you did not add attic insulation last year because there were tax credits for that, but they expired on December 31. You may still get some sort of rebate from your utility company -- check into that.

    When we sold our home in Kentucky last spring, the inspector noted mold spots on the roof trusses -- this is not a finished attic for storage, just insulated space. Most likely, the trusses got rained on sometime during the construction period, but the mold was now dry and dormant. The inspector said that the mold would affect resale value and the new owners wanted it removed (not because they were sensitive to dormant mold, but because of the resale value issue). I crawled up there with a mask/eye goggles and spray bottles of bleach/TSP and scrubbed the affected trusses. Not a job I wish on anyone, but the house sold, which was all we wanted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KCC View Post
    Too bad that you did not add attic insulation last year because there were tax credits for that, but they expired on December 31. You may still get some sort of rebate from your utility company -- check into that.
    I believe the tax credits were extended for next year. That is what I was told last month when I added more insulation. But even if there is no tax credit, the savings on your heating/cooling bill will eventually pay for the insulation and will prevent the condensation.

    Our insulation was inadequate & we chose to have it increased by our pest control company. They put in a type called T A P (you can google it) that kills a long list of insects such as silverfish & crickets that tend to live in attics & repels rodents.

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    Question

    Thanks again everyone! Home maintenance is my downfall...

    Quote Originally Posted by Myskate
    One more question: Do you have vents at the top of your attic besides the ones in your soffits? You need both for maximum air circulation.
    Yeah, it does have a vent at the top, and none of the vents seem to be blocked, so I don't know what's going on My BIL suggested a vapor barrier might help, but installing that under all the existing insulation seems like a lot more $$$.

    Quote Originally Posted by KCC
    I crawled up there with a mask/eye goggles and spray bottles of bleach/TSP and scrubbed the affected trusses.
    Glad all your work paid off! I'm going to have to go do that soon

    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002
    Our insulation was inadequate & we chose to have it increased by our pest control company. They put in a type called T A P (you can google it) that kills a long list of insects such as silverfish & crickets that tend to live in attics & repels rodents.
    That sounds great...I have just regular fiberglass and didn't even think about the potential insects issue

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