Water Damage Restoration: Condensation Connection

When property owners close their homes against winter's chill, water damage concerns seem unrelated. However, cold weather creates conditions conducive to significant moisture accumulation that can destroy building materials, from recesses in the basement to the decking directly beneath your roof's shingles.

Responding to Water Damage

Dunwoody water damage restoration interventions are most effective when done promptly. Unfortunately, homeowners frequently are unaware of moisture increases during the winter. Hidden moisture, often accompanied by mold growth, steadily degrades the stability and integrity of the home. Staining, crumbling walls, fungal colonies, and odors eventually move into living areas, usually during warmer months. The timing of the visible signs causes many people to miss the connection to winter weather conditions.

The Culprit: Cold Weather Condensation

Tightly sealed homes are typical today, benefiting owners and their families with retained warmth and lack of drafts. People enjoy the coziness but fail to realize the warmer air holds more water vapor, most of which also stays inside the building. Cooking, bathing, laundry, and using humidifiers push humidity levels up, sometimes beyond the 50 percent recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When humid air encounters a cooler surface, condensation occurs. Water transforms from a vapor into liquid droplets (condensate) onto the cooler substance, pooling on and saturating nearby materials. Common examples of this process inside Dunwoody homes include:

  • Windows that condense water on the glass, soaking sills or dripping onto floors

  • Uninsulated walls that become damp with condensate

  • Cold foundation, basement, or crawlspace walls that absorb the condensed water 

  • Attic or uppermost living areas with poorly or uninsulated walls, ceilings, and rafters that fill with warmer, humid air rising from main living spaces, vapor condensing after contact with cold surfaces

Note: Attic condensation is profoundly damaging. The condensate can quickly freeze, coating structures with ice and frost and exerting pressure that causes swelling and distortion. Subsequent melting continues the water's corrosive action as it flows into the rest of the home. Mold growth can follow the water's migration.

Solutions to Cold Weather Condensation Damage

AdvantaClean of Sandy Springs inspects water-damaged homes from top to bottom before devising a comprehensive plan to correct the situation. Technicians use IICRC-approved methods to remove water and dry materials in damaged spaces--pumping, negative pressure extraction (portable, wanded, and weighted machines), building cavity moisture evacuation, and applied structural drying through air movement, heat, and dehumidification. Mold remediation commences if necessary. To ensure the problems do not recur, we also recommend several preventative measures:

  • Improving ventilation throughout the home, including installation and use of exhaust fans and adding, reconfiguring, and repairing attic and basement or foundation venting--an inspection and cleaning of HVAC systems can help balance humidity and keep air moving

  • Upgrading insulation, including in the little-used areas of attics, basement, and crawl spaces

  • Using hydrometers to keep tabs on humidity levels in various areas of the house and employing dehumidifiers if needed to maintain 30 to 50 percent relative humidity (RH)

  • Avoiding humidifiers except for specific applications such as a sick person's room or where low humidity levels might lead to wood and other material drying out and cracking--routine monitoring and adjustment to maintain proper RH is vital

AdvantaClean of Sandy Springs offers expert assessment and effective interventions to meet your Dunwoody water damage restoration needs all year round. Contact us at (404) 474-8443 for project planning and prompt provision of emergency services.

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