Learn About Attics, Moisture, and Mold

As a leading New Jersey roofing company, we frequently warn our customers about the risks of having a warm, moist attic in their home. In this blog series, we’ll look at how mold grows, what factors in your home and lifestyle contribute to its growth, and what you can do to prevent it.

What We Know About Moisture

Moisture is defined as water vapor that is typically found on a surface and is more common in warmer temperatures. Warmer air can hold more moisture than cooler air because it is found in warmer temperatures. The attic is typically the warmest area of a home (and thus the area with the greatest potential for moisture), which can provide the ideal environment for mold.

Moldy Living Conditions

Mold needs certain environmental factors to live. These include:

  • A temperature between 41 degrees and 140 degrees
  • Food, which includes the wood in your attic
  • Oxygen
  • Liquid water (which is often found in wood and wood products)

What You Can Do to Help

While you may be tempted to keep your attic temperature above 140 degrees to kill any mold growth, our roofing experts in New Jersey do not recommend it. A high attic temperature can “bake” your shingles, reducing their lifespan. It can also cause your air conditioner to work harder and raise your energy bills.

Instead, make sure your attic has a proper ventilation system. Your home should have an equal number of intakes and exhausts so that attic temperatures and moisture can balance out. Intakes should be low on your roof or in your soffit while exhausts should be high on the roof. This ventilation will make sure that warm, dirty air is expelled from your home while cool, clean air is filtered in.

Humidity vs. Moisture

You’ve probably heard both of these terms used to describe the presence of water vapor, so what’s the difference? Moisture usually refers to water vapor that’s found on a surface, while humidity usually refers to water vapor that’s found in the air. When you listen to the weather forecast, you’ll hear the expert use the term “humid” to describe a warm, sticky day.

Relative Humidity

While relative humidity is a different way to measure humidity, the two phrases shouldn’t be used interchangeably. The term “relative humidity” (abbreviated as “RH”) describes how much atmospheric moisture is present in relation to how much would be there if the air were saturated. The amount of atmospheric moisture present is referred to as humidity, often known as “absolute humidity (AH)”.

For example: If one day, the dew point is 34 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature is 38 degrees Fahrenheit, we would get a high RH value and a low AH value. If another day, the dew point is 63 degrees and the temperature is 85 degrees, we would get a low RH value, but a high AH value.

The Effects of Seasonal Changes

The seasons have an impact on the amount of moisture present. As the temperature rises, humidity causes your attic to accumulate moisture and encourages the development of mold. Manufacturers and building codes both propose a maximum RH level of 40%. Your attic ventilation system may become overburdened and attic moisture levels may rise if your house is over that during the summer.

Trust Bay Roofing With Your Attic Ventilation Needs

Bay Roofing can ensure that your home is properly ventilated if you have mold or moisture issues and are considering replacing your roof, or if your home does not have any roof vents and you want to install them. The advantages of a properly ventilated roof far outweigh the costs of installing one. Contact us today for an estimate to protect your home and family.