Preparing Your Attic for Winter

When starting to prepare for cooler weather, your attic may not be top priority and you may not even give it a thought. Still, preparing your attic for winter should be one of your first parts of your home improvement efforts to get your home ready for the winter months. Below are some steps to ensure you prepare your attic properly.

Check Insulation
Many people think that ventilating your attic in the cold winter months releases your warm air and decreases your heating efficiency since heat rises. Usually, this happens when you have poor insulation. Your furnace shouldn’t be heating your attic unless your roofing system is designed without ventilation and there’s insulation on your roofing deck. Even worse, when you don’t have adequate insulation, you’re filling your attic up with moisture-laden air.

As moist, warm air hits your roof, there’s a good chance that condensation is going to further deteriorate your wood rot and insulation. If you’re concerned about this, measure your attic temperature when the sun goes down. Hopefully it’ll be fairly close to the temperature outside.

Another fact in winter weather is ice dams; however, you can reduce or eliminate them with proper venting and insulation.

Caulk The Cracks
As you’re inspecting your attic, check out the exterior to see if there are holes, crevices or cracks where air is escaping. It only takes a small hole to place a huge burden on your HVAC system. You should fill attic areas that show the sun shining with caulk. This is an easy and fast solution that prevents thermal energy from escaping your home.

Clear Off Debris
It’s essential that you remove pine needles, leaves and other debris from your roof’s surface and gutters. Even smaller amounts of debris can hold moisture and potentially cause mold or rot breaking down the material of your roof. If you’re experienced and comfortable walking on your roof, you can go up there and blow off or broom off the collection of debris your roof collects. Be sure to get into the valleys since they’re most susceptible to water damage.

Ensure Proper Ventilation
Heated moisture-laden air in the winter from showering, cooking or other everyday activities can find its way inside your attic and can condense on the cold roof structure underside. Sometimes, heat that becomes trapped in your attic ends up melting snow that’s on your roof causing ice dams.

Moisture is the main issue that affects attics in the wintertime. Temperature fluctuations can allow condensation and moisture to form in your attic space and cause damage to your home and personal possessions you store in your attic. Attic fans properly ventilate and remove moist, hot air while introducing drier, cooler air into your attic. This helps prevent the build-up of condensation and keeps your attic dry and clear, avoiding fungus, mold and rot development.

Attic fans improve passive air circulation in your attic if you have sufficient openings for the air to get into your attic. An attic fan will enhance air circulation with proper placement and bring the temperatures of your attic to around 10 degrees of the temperature outdoors.

Hire a weatherization contractor or energy auditor to evaluate the ventilation and insulation in your attic, inspect it and make modifications if needed.