Mold is easy to spot in most areas of your home, but when it begins in a place that you don’t – or can’t – see, it’s potential for growth is limitless. And so are the negative effects it can have on your home and family.
These hidden areas include the basement, crawl spaces, inside your HVAC system, and the attic. Homeowners really have no reason to check these areas at regular intervals, so they are the perfect areas for mold and other household problems.
Mold can lead to health problems such as respiratory infections, unexplained headaches, and can seriously affect those with allergies. It stains walls and ruins any surface it touches.
Let’s take a look at the causes of mold in the attic and what you can do to prevent it.
Why Does Mold Grow in Attics?
Attics provide perfect conditions for mold. They are warm, dark, wet, and usually supply a sufficient food source. Mold feeds on dust, paint, wood, plastics, and more. These conditions are found in finished and unfinished attics alike. The only difference is that homeowners go long periods of time without seeing an unfinished attic that may only be used for storage.
Even if your attic doubles as a bedroom, game room or office, mold can still be a problem if water leaks behind the drywall where it would be completely undetectable for a long time.
If the roof is your home’s first line of defense, the attic is its second. Water, pests, falling limbs and anything else that comes at your home will affect the attic before the rest of your home. While this structure protects the most-used areas of your home, it’s still a major pain and can’t be left unrepaired.
Mold isn’t just an eyesore. It can spread into the insulation and wood of an attic, feeding on these materials and weakening them simultaneously. Therefore, it is extremely important to detect mold early and have it removed immediately.
The better solution is to prevent mold to start with.
Preventing Attic Mold
To reduce the risk of mold in your attic, you need to remove the conditions that allow it to thrive. The following steps will drastically decrease mold’s chances for survival in your attic.
Repair roof leaks ASAP.
A roof leak can be devastating to a home for many reasons. Water destroys building materials and ruins the appearance of a home, but even a small leak is enough to give mold the moisture it needs to grow and spread overnight.
Mold spores float around, looking for a place to land. Wet walls, floors and ceilings are the ideal spot.
Some homeowners have the bright idea to close off their attic vents during winter to keep their home warmer. While this might reduce their energy bill, it greatly increases the risk of mold due to non-existent ventilation.
Attics may seem sealed tightly, but they actually have a sophisticated ventilation system that ties in with the roof and the rest of the home. Making sure your attic’s ventilation is working correctly is an easy, inexpensive way to keep your attic mold-free.
Make sure soffits are clear.
Soffits are the tiny vents on the underside of the overhang of your roof. They offer extra ventilation so that the attic doesn’t trap moisture. If the soffits are blocked, your attic won’t be able to release the extra moisture and will be much more susceptible to mold.
A professional roofer can check the soffits for you and clean them out if necessary. You can scrub or pressure wash soffits yourself, as they are very durable. Soffits need to be checked yearly and cleaned out every 2 to 3 years.
Clean the gutters out regularly.
The condition of your home’s gutters has a direct relationship to the state of the attic, so don’t ignore them! Cleaning out your gutters will prevent ice dams from forming in winter, and it will be one less source of attic leaks all year round.
While cleaning the gutters, you can also take a look at the roof to see if there are any damages or signs of age that could lead to a roof leak.
All these steps are helpful for preventing mold, but the real key is inspections.
We can’t stress it enough: regular inspections are the best way to protect your home. Whether you do them yourself or hire a professional to periodically check your roof, attic, and gutters, these inspections will keep your home mold free better than any other single action. Not to mention you’ll have the advantage of making repairs before they become huge expenses.
Leave no stone unturned when it comes to inspections, especially when it comes to something as serious as mold. Check the roof, gutters, water heaters or furnaces housed in the attic, and every nook and cranny of the attic itself to spot the beginning signs of mold.
Know Your Limits
If you see the beginning signs of mold – or if you just have an inclination because the conditions are right – call Pure Maintenance of Central Illinois.
We will not only be able to get rid of the mold, but we’ll also do it safely.
- The first thing we will do is test for mold to determine if there’s actually a problem. Of course, if the mold is visible, this step isn’t necessary. However, because attics tend to have many corners and tight spaces, your mold pro may choose to test anyway to discover the severity of the problem.
- Next, your mold specialist will create a safe plan for removing mold from the attic without spreading it to other areas of your home through the ventilation system or on their clothes or shoes.
Mold is extremely dangerous for untrained, ill-equipped homeowners to handle themselves. Mold in the attic is almost always a cause for calling a mold specialist. Taking action in the early stages of attic mold will prevent expensive, extensive damages in the future.