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Tips to Prevent Water Damage in Your Attic

Water intrusions in the attic should not be ignored. Allowing moisture to run rampant in this space can be highly destructive. Mold growth, rotted wood and unstable building structures are hazardous outcomes of water damage in the attic. Here are tips to prevent water damage in the attic space.

Tip 1: Maintain the Roof

In most homes, the attic is rarely used. When the attic remains unoccupied for extensive periods, any water leaks are likely to go unnoticed. Without immediate attention, minor water damage can balloon into a major problem, like exploding mold infestations.

Preventing roof leaks is one effective tactic to keep attic water damage at bay. Routine roof maintenance should be a homeowner’s priority. Inspect shingles and flashing for visible damage. If wear and tear are evident, repairs must be promptly scheduled.

Trim vegetation growing near the rooftop. Untrimmed trees can lead to falling branches and, consequently, roof damage. During storms, weakened branches are likely to come tumbling down. Regularly pruning trees moves sick, dead and weakened branches out of harm’s way.

Overhanging branches are problematic, too. Tree branches can rub against the roof shingles, causing them to undergo wear; roof damage due to the erosion of protection will subsequently occur. Ideally, branches should be kept at least ten feet away from the rooftop.

Twice annually, clear the gutters of debris. Dead leaves, dry twigs and organic buildup can block the gutters, sending water over the gutters and into the home. Downspouts should also drain properly. Extending the longevity of the roof is highly dependent on regular gutter clearance.

Schedule regular roof inspections with a qualified roofing contractor. An experienced professional will check the structural integrity of the roof and look for both evident and hidden flaws. Missing shingles, corrosion, warping and other issues can be immediately repaired to prevent roof leaks.

Tip 2: Promote Attic Ventilation

Optimum attic ventilation will increase the lifespan of the roof, prevent mold growth, and not strain the home’s cooling system. Without adequate ventilation, heat and moisture will build up. Humidity, especially, can cause a range of moisture issues, and, consequently, water damage in the attic.

Humidity, for instance, enters a cool attic through a living area or from outside. Upon meeting a cold surface, the humidity condenses into liquid form. Water damage from prolonged bouts of humidity will ruin the insulation, deteriorate the roofing system, and damage interior structural elements.

Homeowners can increase ventilation in the attic by ensuring that vents are not blocked by insulation or other obstructions. Check the soffit, ridge, and gable-mounted vents. Running solar or electric fans in the attic are also practical options to promote air flow.

Make sure the bathroom, dryer, and kitchen vents exhaust to the outside of the home—and not into the attic. In the event that a vent directs air into the attic, the attic ventilation may not eliminate the accumulated excess moisture, resulting in water damage.

Tip 3: Insulate the Attic

Temperature control helps to maintain a breezy, dry attic. Insulation plays a key role in helping to control attic temps. Prevent warm air from rising into the attic from below by insulating the attic floors. Also inspect insulation of the heating ducts to ensure it is in good condition.

Attic temperatures should remain at a certain range in the colder months to prevent water damage caused by ice dams. In winter, an attic that sustains temperatures that are five to ten degrees warmer than outside air will repel ice dam formations along the edge of the roof.

Insulation that is in optimum condition will be thick, dry, and soft. Damp insulation appears thin and flat. Replace wet insulation immediately. Insulation consisting of fiberglass material effectively resists moisture (although it is not impervious to water) and is one of the most popular choices.

Any type of water damage, whether minor or major, is considered an emergency. 

Tip 4: Inspect and Maintain Appliances 

Some appliances are housed in the attic. Appliances kept in the attic offer several advantages: they allow homeowners more space in the residence; appliances are out of sight; and noisy equipment is quieter in the attic. But unforeseen problems can go undetected in the attic space.

Water heaters, air conditioners and swamp coolers can fail and cause water damage to not only the attic environment but to the levels below. Although climbing into the attic regularly is a hassle, homeowners should inspect attic appliances for loose connections and wear and tear to prevent water damage.

Equipment that produces moisture should also be maintained regularly. Homeowners who promptly fix an HVAC system that leaks water will avoid a serious case of water damage. Also consider that shutoff switches can fail; given the extensive heat in the attic, these safety mechanisms are unlikely to last long.

Water damage causes a series of problems for homeowners. Mold that feeds on abundant moisture triggers ill health in the home’s occupants, even when the spores flourish in the attic; airborne mold spores can travel to lower parts of the home and contaminate the air.

When you notice water damage in the attic or any other part of your home, call ServiceMaster Professional Services right away. Our water damage restoration crews will quickly arrive onsite, assess the damage, prepare a restoration plan and begin work to return your home to its pre-loss condition.

Our proven restoration processes include the extraction of excess moisture from the property using advanced equipment, thoroughly drying the premises via air movement, dehumidifying the affected areas and monitoring moisture levels. Our technicians apply anti-microbial solutions to sanitize the space.

Any type of water damage, whether minor or major, is considered an emergency, which is why ServiceMaster Professional Services responds to water damage crises with speed and professionalism. Water damage is known to stealthily spread, making immediate attention necessary to halt destruction.

When you are faced with a water damage disaster, consult ServiceMaster Professional Services. As reputable, qualified flood cleanup experts, we’ll restore your water damaged property quickly. Our skilled specialists are proud to serve Twin Cities, Minnesota and its surrounding communities.