Many homeowners also don’t notice it growing since they don’t frequently go into the attic. This allows it to sit for months, and in some cases, years!
One of the most common situations that attic mold is discovered is when the house is being sold. The home inspector will find the mold just before the closing date, which causes a major issue for both the seller and buyer.
How to Identify Attic Mold
The good news is that there are ways to prevent attic mold, such as keeping the moisture to a minimum. This includes cleaning your gutters, conducting frequent roof inspections, and improving the air circulation within your home.
Check for the following signs for attic mold:
- Water dripping from smoke detectors, bath fans, and light fixtures. There is sure to be mold growing in the attic or ceiling if you have this issue.
- The smell of mildew in the attic. Follow your nose. Where it is musty, it’s probably moldy.
- Wet attic insulation. This is not only a primary sign of a mold problem, but your home may be losing lots of hot air due to the insulation being wet. This can result in higher electric, gas, or heating bills.
- Frost buildup underneath the roof. During cold temperatures, the water vapor in the attic will freeze when it’s not circulated out of the home, creating a prime spot for mold.
- Attic feels very stuffy or hot. When properly ventilated, the attic will feel breezy. But there is a ventilation issue when its stuffy, often resulting in mold issues.
- Dark stains on wood building materials. One of the most obvious signs of mold is black discoloration, or spots in the wood materials. This should be removed by a professional.
Top Causes of Attic Mold
The most common moisture issues in the attic that lead to mold include the following:
- Poor ventilation
- Broken bathroom fans and dryer vents
- Roof leaks
Check out the following for additional details on the top causes of attic mold.
1. Poor ventilation
The biggest cause of attic mold from moisture is poor ventilation within the attic. They usually have a passive system in which the air from outside enters through the soffit vents at the bottom, warms within the attic space, and escapes through the ridge or vents at the top of the home. In a normal setting, there is a breezy air flow throughout a ventilated attic.
But when the soffit vents are blocked by insulation, the entire cycle is put to a halt, trapping warm, humid air within the attic, condensing along the wood building materials, creating wet wood and promoting mold growth.
Mold growth will also occur if there are few vents installed. Your building code will tell you what is needed but there should generally be 1 square foot of venting for every 100 square feet of attic space.
2. Broken bathroom fans and dryer vents
In addition to drying your clothes and airing out the bathroom, dryer vents and bathroom fans are designed to push the moisture out of your home. The best way to ensure that the moisture is pushed out of the home is to make sure it doesn’t get caught in the attic. Also check the plumbing stacks for buildups of condensation as they can also be the source of mold. Just be careful, the plumbing stacks may also release toxic gases which can be dangerous when trapped within the attic.
3. Roof leaks
While roof leaks will often lead to small areas of mold growth, the moldy area below the roof is often in a different location than the leak. This is because when the water penetrates the roof, it runs down the shingles and penetrates the materials located further down the attic.
Here are some ways to inspect for roof leaks:
- Check roof valleys – the space where two roofs join at an angle – which are very common areas where Austin water damage occurs.
- Inspect all vents, plumbing stacks, attic windows, chimneys, and areas of the roof where different materials are connected, such as flashings. These are common hiding areas that accumulate moisture.
- Check for dark stains of wood, such as on the sheathing, joists, attic side of fascia boards, and rafters within the attic.
Removing Attic Mold
The first step to removing any type of attic mold is to identify it. The next step is to fix the moisture issue to prevent mold from returning in the future. While this will slow down the growth process, the remaining mold will not evaporate or dry out on its own; it must be removed professionally.
Many homeowners take on the dangerous task of DIY mold removal. But the attic is one of the most dangerous areas to do this due to the amount of insulation, hidden mold, hazardous gases, and even the possibility of falling through the ceiling.
Simply breathing in the mold spores can trigger a number of negative health effects, including:
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Itchy throat
- Itchy skin
To make matters worse, home remedies are often not strong enough to remove all mold spores. Many homeowners use these products, thinking they removed the mold source, but some spores were left behind, allowing it to grow back again.
To put it bluntly, DIY mold removal is simply not a good idea.
Professional Mold Removal in South Bend IN and Surrounding Areas
Professional mold removal can range anywhere from $300 to $6,000 and sometimes even more, depending on the location and how far its spread. The only way to get an exact estimate is to have a professional inspect the area.
Many mold remediation contractors are available in the area and are happy to provide a free estimate, provided that you choose to proceed with the service. But what makes these costs so high is the intensive labor involved.
In order to fully remove mold at the source, a containment chamber must be set up to prevent it from spreading further, followed by treating all surrounding building materials and contents with professional mold removal products. Building materials may also need to be removed and replaced due to permanent damage.
Depending on the source of the problem, insurance companies may or may not cover the cost. Your insurance agent will inspect the area before the mold is removed to determine whether or not the problem will be covered.
But in either situation, professional mold removal is always recommended to guarantee that the fungus is fully removed, your family is safe, and your moisture problem is fixed.
For professional mold remediation and water damage restoration services in South Bend IN, call ServiceMaster at (574) 231-7179.