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A major factor in home water damage and restoration is actually air- or lack of it. Poor ventilation can lead to moisture buildup in the house, especially in the attic. Most homeowners believe the purpose of attic ventilation is to remove heat that builds up in the summer. But here in Kansas, we need to balance the forces or heat, cold, moisture and dry air to keep our homes safe.
All through the year, proper airflow in the attic can
During warmer months, ventilation helps keep attics cool. During colder months, ventilation reduces moisture to help keep attics dry and prevent ice dams. The goal is to provide enough ventilation to the attic to keep the roof cool via simple physics. Warm air escapes through vents near the top of the attic. An equal amount of fresh air flows in through vents near the eaves. An ideal temperature in the attic would be 5 to 10 °F warmer than the outside temperature.
When winter arrives and temperatures plunge, heat doesn’t travel from an attic down into the living quarters. Instead, heated indoor air travels from the home into the attic, along with excess moisture. Furnace-warmed air circulates through the house, picking up water vapor generated by activities such as cooking, bathing, and the washing of clothes and dishes.
Homes that use humidifiers in winter then have an abundant and continual moisture source. Most houses built since the mid1970s use advanced insulation materials which allow minimal infiltration of outside air; they can be too well insulated to allow vapor to escape. Problems start when moist air hits cooler rafters, trusses and roof sheathing. The moisture condenses as water droplets or frost. Eventually, the condensation drips on the insulation below. If too much water soaks into the insulation, its volume can be compressed and its effectiveness reduced. Greater heat loss leads to colder rooms, colder rooms lead to a more use of the furnace, which leads to higher energy bills.
This cycle can start a downward spiral. Not only the insulation, but also the structural elements of the house absorb some moisture. This can lead to wood rot and the deterioration of roofing materials. Other moisture is likely to soak into the attic floor and eventually into ceiling materials, causing water stains and paint damage in the rooms below.
Winter creates a special attic ventilation problem here in Manhattan when snowfall and cold temperatures hit. Ice dams are actual barriers formed of ice that prevent melt water from running off a roof.
When a heavy snow cover accumulates on the roof, the snow acts as a layer of insulation, preventing heat loss through the roof sheathing. Heat high in the attic causes snow to melt near the roof peak. The water from the melting snow flows toward the eave area, where colder roof temperatures allow it to refreeze. If conditions persist over several days, this refreezing of snow melt can form an ice dam.
The weight of the dam itself can damage gutters and fascia. The shingles themselves are damaged. Worse, water can infiltrate into both exterior and interior wall cavities, leading to structural damage and the deterioration of painted surfaces.
If your home shows signs of water damage, let the Lamunyon team come investigate and restore your home. Established in 1973, Lamunyon provides a range of services to help home and business owners. Whether it is a fire, a flood, a mold problem, or a crumbling foundation, the water damage restoration experts know how to properly provide the necessary clean up procedures as well as how to start putting the pieces back together.