Discovering attic mold is a common problem homeowners face. Attic mold growth occurs when moisture and heat combine to provide a perfect environment for mold spores to grow. The presence of these spores can be harmful to humans, especially those with allergies or asthma, and should not be left untreated. Fortunately, if you act before the mold has had a chance to spread, removing mold from your attic space can be relatively easy and inexpensive.
In this blog, we will walk through the steps necessary to remove mold from an attic by looking at how it spreads, what causes it, why it’s crucial to get rid of it, how you can do so safely, and finally, prevention tips that will keep your home safe from future outbreaks of mold infestation.
What Are the Effects of a Mold in Attic?
Mold in the attic, including crawl spaces, is a problem. Mold can irritate allergies in some people and create an unpleasant odor in your home, and can potentially be dangerous to you or your family’s health. Left untreated long enough, mold can cause severe structural damage and expensive repairs. That’s why it’s critical to find and remove the existing mold in your attic as soon as you are aware of it.
Spores are most potent when multiplied. For this reason, once attic mold begins growing, there is no way to stop it from spreading throughout the entire house by air moving through vents and air ducts in your HVAC system. This means that by the time you see visible mold on the ceiling of your attic or top of insulation around wall cavities or along wood beams, it has already spread across much of your home.
How Does a Mold Problem Spread in the Attic?
Mold comes from spores found naturally almost everywhere: food, dirt, dust, even air. These spores reproduce by releasing tiny particles into the air that then attach themselves to surfaces to grow into new mold colonies. For these spores to remain active and alive, they must have a stable combination of humid air and food sources nearby, which results in mold growth on ceilings or walls in a home.
The most common direct causes for this issue are roof leaks, siding or window leakage that allows for air leaks, improper ventilation leading to poor indoor air quality and attic moisture problems, insufficient insulation or insulation not properly installed, or poor or incorrect venting from the home’s bathroom exhaust fans, kitchen and/or clothes dryer.
When the hot, moist air from the bathroom(s), kitchen, and clothes dryer rises up into the attic due to insufficient ventilation or incorrect venting, condensation can develop. This heated, wet air mixes with colder attic air throughout the year and may cause a condensation problem that leads to mold.
In most homes with a healthy HVAC system, air movement helps keep moisture away from mold spores and therefore keeps them from growing into new colonies. Unfortunately, if the HVAC system is not doing its job, and excess moisture is lingering in your attic, it can help mold grow despite your best efforts to keep everything dry.
How To Get Rid of Mold Growth in Your Attic Space
Luckily, there are a few tips that we can share that can be helpful for DIY mold treatments. The best time to tackle attic mold removal is before the infestation spreads across most of your living space (or any space greater than 10 square feet), otherwise, you’ll find yourself having to deal with more than one colony. Special precautions need to be taken when addressing mold in the home, and few homeowners have the tools and resources needed to ensure that they are safe during the process. Even minimal exposure to mold during the removal process can lead to health issues for you and your family so exercising extreme caution and calling a PuroClean professional is strongly recommended.
If you are uncomfortable with dealing with mold, or the surface is larger than about 10 square feet, you’ll need the help of a mold professional with equipment like HEPA vacuums, PPE (personal protective equipment), and ozone machines because their combined power will make quick work of any mold that remains after cleanup is complete. If mold has already spread to other, more hidden, attic areas, you’ll have a hard time getting it out.
If the mold is caused by a moisture problem or a roof leak, remove all wet or moist materials you can see, especially anything soft or porous, from your attic spaces. This includes insulation, stored roofing materials or shingles, old cardboard boxes or paper products, wood materials and decking as well as other fabric-based items like clothing and carpet.
Moisture problems usually occur when there isn’t proper ventilation or insulation installed in the attic floor. To mitigate this, make sure that large cracks in ceilings and walls are sealed up to prevent future water damage from outside air, rain, snow, ice, and frost buildup during winter months.
Attic mold may be difficult to remove from the roof sheathing whenever it grows beneath it, especially if your attic is sloped. The best step you can take is to assure that your attic is adequately tempered and is properly insulated.
When warm air from inside meets cool air from the outside, moisture in the air will condensate. Remember that warm air rises so your attic will host hot air before it escapes to the outside. Allowing your HVAC to maintain consistently moving air and temperature should help halt any mold growing in the attic space. This will also reduce moisture levels and minimize mold growth as a result.
How You Can Prevent Mold Growth in Your Attic
The best option is to prevent attic mold growth altogether through a quarterly attic inspection with a home inspector. Coordinate each home inspection with the changing seasons: in the spring, check for air leakage after winter’s thaw; in summer, watch for air conditioning issues that could lead to excess moisture; in autumn, look for signs of leaves and other debris blocking vents; and in winter, check for ice dams and roof leaks.
Mold in the attic commonly comes from issues with ventilation or insulation. Attic insulation should be installed properly, and be careful that you don’t have too much. Insulation is necessary, but so is warm air. An over-insulated and cold attic plus wintery conditions can be a breeding ground for mold. Be sure all attic ventilation, kitchen exhaust fans, bathroom fans, etc. are properly cleaned and positioned to move air outside.
Contact Your Local PuroClean Office For Professional Mold Remediation Services
PuroClean offers mold remediation services to stem the tide of mold, as well as cleaning, including addressing the source of your mold problems to restore your home to its pre-loss condition. Professional remediation of mold can be a serious endeavor, and PuroClean has the expertise and technology for the job. Call (864) 844-8080 to get connected with your local PuroClean office if you have an issue with mold in the attic, and our team of professionals will expeditiously work to remediate the attic space.