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Why Is There Frost In My Attic?

What Causes Attic Frost?


What Causes Attic Frost?

With winter conditions comes the risk of attic frost in your home or commercial property. A risk that could lead to a costly mold removal if you don’t properly take measures to prevent attic frost from becoming an issue.

One of the services that First Call Restoration specializes in is attic inspections. Often, we find attic frost.

During attic inspections, we check insulation because it is important to determine if your attic is leaking heat.

As stated by our founder, Mike Hogan:

Warm air rises and if your attic is not properly insulated and sealed, the warm air is going to escape through the roof via the attic. This makes it harder for your heating system to maintain ambient temperatures and wreaks havoc on your overall energy efficiency. You want to make sure that the top of your house is just as sealed as the walls. Think about what you do for yourself in the wintertime – you would wear a winter hat to keep your head warm and keep the heat from escaping your body, so make sure that the cap of your house is covered and secure. Upgrading existing insulation or installing new insulation significantly improves energy efficiency and keep the house warm.

The purpose of this article is to explain why attic frost occurs and provide you with the top 3 ways to address this problem.

Experts at attic inspections and mold prevention in your home or office.

Serving the areas of Poughkeepsie, Hopewell Junction, and Newburgh, New York.

Contact us today

(845) 226-0868

The Causes Of Attic Frost!


The Causes Of Attic Frost!

When cold weather fluctuates and there are temperatures above freezing, you might think your roof is leaking. In most cases it is not a leaky roof, but an attic frost issue.

Attic frost appears on the underside of the roof sheathing when warm, humid air accumulates and condenses.

When the temperatures warm, and the frost starts to melt, improperly sealed pot lights, attic hatches and other areas of ceilings where penetrations in or no vapour barrier is present will start to drip through.

A little bit of frost forming is not unusual after really low nighttime temperatures, and it isn’t a huge problem if it is able to melt and evaporate so that wood can dry.

It becomes a more serious problem when the quantity of frost isn’t able to evaporate before more starts to accumulate. The longer this goes on, the greater volume of ice you will have and the greater volume of water you will have leaking down when it finally warms up enough to melt. This issue can cause mold growth and create property damage and health concerns in commercial and residential buildings.

In some cases, frost will form on the Northside of the attic sheathing and not the South. During the day, as the sun is out, in certain circumstances it will produce enough heat to warm the south side and allow it to thaw and evaporate moisture, but the north side will still have frost as it does not get warm enough to cause evaporation.

The worst cases of attic frost occurs when a bathroom fan or dryer vent is vented into the attic as opposed to the outside environment. When warm, humid air is blown into a cold attic space it will cause lots of frost and the aftermath of the melt could become very costly as the water drips into the drywall of your ceiling and your wall cavities.

Other scenarios that cause issues in your attic occur when a homeowner has additional insulation blown in with no insulation stops in place and they think more is better. Insulation being blown in without attic stops typically restricts the air flow from the soffits. When airflow from the soffits is restricted an attic will not stay ambient to the outdoor temperature and frost will likely occur.

Another common problem occurs when there is inadequate ventilation at the roof’s peak. When this occurs the ventilation through roof vents or continuous ridge vents is inadequate and frost will also appear. When the soffits are clogged airflow is restricted; without airflow, an attic will not stay ambient to the outdoor temperature and frost will likely occur.

Top 3 Ways To Prevent Attic Frost!

1. Reducing Relative Humidity (RH) Levels!


Reducing Relative Humidity (RH) Levels!


Anytime the RH goes above 50%, it becomes a concern; 35-45% RH is an acceptable level of humidity. The more humid it is in your home or office, the worse it will be for accumulations of condensation in the attic.

Using fans in your bathroom while showering and in your kitchen when cooking will help reduce humidity as long as they are not vented into your attic. If your basement is humid you should consider purchasing a good dehumidifier that has a drain line.

If you are running an energy-efficient furnace and don’t have an air to air exchange system connected, look into installing one. Air to air exchange systems are a great way to control humidity in your home.

2. Attic Ventilation


Attic Ventilation

Proper ventilation is a major factor in a healthy frost-free attic. In many cases, insulation baffles weren’t installed and the insulation gets packed into the soffits to the facia and restricts the flow of air throughout the attic.

Even when your soffits are free from insulation clogging the airflow and you have baffles in place, the air from the soffits must have somewhere to flow through too. Your roof should have vents and either a ridge cap vent or others that create a draw of air from the soffits.

3. Ceiling Air Barriers


Air leakage through electrical fixtures such as pot lights, bathroom ceiling fans, and other electrical components are sometimes not sealed properly to the vapor barrier. When this happens, warm and humid air leaks through from the home into the attic.

In instances where no air barriers even exist it is very important to put the barriers in place to prevent energy loss and frost from forming in the attic on the roof sheathing. If you have no vapor barrier installed in your attic, there are still options such as spray foam, removing insulation and placing a new vapor is also an option. Once insulation gets wet, the R-value is reduced and it must be replaced, not dried.

If you do not have any vapor barrier and your truss system is such that it won’t allow for the install of a vapor barrier from above, spray foam will most likely be your only option.

Got Attic Frost Questions?


Got Attic Frost Questions

Have questions? Contact us today to learn how we determine if you have attic frost issues and ensure that mold concerns are properly addressed. Peace of mind is just a phone call away!

First Call Restoration is here to help. We are restoration and insulation experts! Call us at (845) 226-0868.

Experts at attic inspections and mold prevention in your home or office.

Contact us today

(845) 226-0868

We do attic inspections and mold removal in Poughkeepsie, Hopewell Junction, Newburgh and all nearby counties.