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Why is There Mold in My Attic?

Homeowners discover mold in the attic when they look for it. There may be a foul smell in the air that seems to originate in the attic. There may be a home inspection when the house is going up for sale. Or there may be an energy audit that includes an attic inspection. Surprise or not, mold has been found. Not surprisingly, it’s important to find out why mold has developed and to what extent. And while remediation is critical for so many reasons, finding the source is essential.

For mold to grow and spread, there must be moisture. Mold will not be able to sustain itself in a dry and well-ventilated attic. Simply put, a poorly ventilated attic space will allow for moisture to accumulate, creating a suitable habitat for mold. In a typical house, there is really no shortage of moisture-laden air - it comes from cooking, from bathing, even from the houseplants. It’s also possible for damp basements to be the source of moisture-laden air that rises into the attic.

Winter or summer, warm indoor air always rises to the top of the house – that’s the attic. And that’s where moisture accumulation can create the ideal environment for mold. As for damage, it could be minor or severe, depending on the amount of time that the mold has been developing. What’s most important, though, is to ensure proper ventilation throughout the attic, whether it’s with ridge vents, soffit vents, or another method that ensures natural flow-through ventilation.

At Great Northern Insulation, in-house experts regard ventilation as an integral component of the “building envelope”. And when professionally installed, the benefits are considerable: the indoor air environment will be improved; heating and cooling will be better balanced; and moisture-laden air will be suitably controlled. The truth is, when attic ventilation is inadequate or poorly installed, it’s a prescription for mold to find a comfortable environment and thrive in it. 

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