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Attic Mold Growth Problems
Questions About Attic Mold

 Fri, 8 Aug 2003   

Question: We discovered that we have mold growing in our attic. We can also see lines following the rafters in the living room ceiling. How do we find out what kind of mold it is and how do we do mold remediation?


 Answer: While wearing a protective gear, you should go up in the attic and collect samples of visible mold growth using the lift tape method of mold sampling. You should also a do-it-yourself mold test kit to test the air of the attic, all other rooms of your house, basement, crawl space and the air flow out of any heating and/or cooling duct registers for possible presence of elevated levels of mold spores, especially in comparison to the outdoor mold control test you do. Or you can hire a Certified Mold Inspector to do the mold testing, visit Mold Profession  to find Mold Inspectors in your locality. To learn how to get rid of mold, visit: Mold Removal.   


 Wed, 30 Jul 2003   

Question: I live in Minnesota and I do not use air conditioning most of the time during the summer. I have noticed now that in there's a yellowish shade on the ceiling close to the wall of three rooms in the house. The ceiling is sheet rock and spackled. In one room, there is a slight separation of the taping from the sheet rock in the yellow area. I had an older room which was just recently replaced. I looked in the attic and noticed some dust clumps attached to many of the rafters in the vertical position. Is this mold or water damage?

 Answer: The suspicious visual sightings are probably mold growth. You need to collect physical samples of from each suspected area, put it into a zip lock bag and send it to a mold laboratory for mold analysis and mold identification [visit Mold Laboratory for a directory listing of mold laboratories]. In collecting mold samples, use a do-it-yourself mold test kits. You need to monitor now and year-round the humidity level inside your attic, all house rooms, basement and crawl space. If some or all of the year, the humidity level exceeds 60%, the indoor humidity alone will drive large mold infestation growth. Desired humidity level is 30 to 40% YEAR ROUND. Your beautiful state is known for its 10,000+ beautiful lakes plus rivers [including the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi]. If your home is close to any lake or river, that can be one good reason you might have high indoor humidity. You also need to check your roof and plumbing system very carefully for any possible water leaks and problems. You also need to mold test the air of your attic, all house rooms, basement, crawl space plus the outward air flow from your heating duct registers for possible presence of elevated levels of airborne mold spores, a sign, if present, that your home has a mold problem.

Toxic mold growth and toxic mold infestation in the attic of one's home or other buildings is a very likely  mold problem because of the deferred or undone maintenance of roofs by most property owners. Besides being a fertile place for mold growth, attic mold is extra dangerous because mold growth in the attic can spread into and inside [hidden] the ceilings and walls below.

Questions About Attic Mold

Nov. 21, 2002
I need some advice, I am buying a home in Michigan and I had a home inspection done yesterday. The inspector noted some mold growing on the rafters and plywood. I assume this is from replacing the leaky roof 6 or 7 months ago. Should I be concerned about the mold and can it be cleaned up and killed easy enough? Or should I buy another house to limit the danger of buying a problem house? What are your thoughts?
    A. You should be very concerned about attic mold because it can spread into and inside the ceilings and walls beneath the attic. Your first step is to have the attic area [and probably the entire home inspected for mold and tested for mold by a Certified Mold Inspector. If you are not willing to pay for your own, independent, complete testing of the attic and home, you might consider buying another home.  But whatever home, you buy, it would be good to have the entire home thoroughly examined and tested for mold problems because buying a mold hell can be disastrous for both your family's health and finances.  In regard to your question about how easy it will be to kill and to remove the mold in the home you are trying to buy, get estimates from several mold remediation companies, including your Certified Mold Inspector. If you want to consider removing the mold yourself, please visit:
Mold Remediation 

Mold in the Attic

Lawyers on the Doorstep: How the wrong vents are causing mold, mildew and legal problems.

 By Ron Hungarter

When I advise people not to mix different types of outlet vents, I always get the same look of confusion and disbelief. "More is better" is an understandable human impulse, but is dead wrong in this instance.

As most of you already know, the best way to ventilate a home is to install continuous soffit inlet vents and continuous ridge outlet vents. What you haven't heard, perhaps, is that mixing outlet vents is a serious mistake. By the immutable laws of physics, the outlet vent with the greatest rate of flow converts to the weaker outlet vents into additional inlet vents. This eliminates the ability to draw air through the soffit vents - and airflow is essential for dry sheathing, a healthy home and a healthy homeowner.

 Investigating the home shown here, we found a roof with two types of outlet vents: gable end vents and a centrally located power attic ventilator. Like water running downhill, airflow always seeks the path of least resistance. When the power attic ventilator switched on in this one-year-old room, it sucked air through the gable end vents instead of drawing it up from the soffit vents.

True, air is still flowing, but not where is should be. Instead of traveling up along the roof's sheathing from the soffit vents, it's flowing in from the gable vents and right up through the power ventilator. Consequently, it is not carrying water vapor away from the roof sheathing, but straight into it. This is a perfect medium - dark, moist, nutrient-rich plywood, with its glues, and wood and other organic matter - for mold, mildew and sometimes wood rot. It won't take long for another type of life - lawyers - to show up as well.

Notice in the picture that the mold growth decreases towards the apex of the roof. This is because the apex has the most air flow, in from the gable end vents and out through the top, center power attic ventilator.

Energy costs and conservation have us building tighter and tighter homes, but unfortunately, a tight home is not necessarily a healthy home. Add to this the fact that many contractors are not aware of the critical importance of proper attic ventilation, and we have a recipe for disaster.

When you are choosing the types of outlet vents you want for your next project, remember that less is more. Specifically, one type of outlet vent is all you need.


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