I got a call from a past inspection client this morning. He has a valid concern: frost forming and water dripping from his decking – inside his attic. The frost forming in his attic is basic building science.
1) Super cold temps (frigid air) are present in your attic and mixing with
2) Warm moist air leaking into your attic.
The colder the temp, the more often the ice will form. To solve the problem:
1) Stop the humid air from leaking into your attic or
2) Raise the temp.
One you have total control over, the other you don’t have any control. Guess which one is which.
There are 2 main reasons contractors, and in a broader sense, the building communities here in central MS don’t consider attic bypass failure (a leaky building) problematic.
1) We very seldom get frigid air in MS.
2) Since we don’t get frigid air in MS, leaking buildings are primarily considered an energy loss issue. However, it eventually can and will be an indoor air quality issue (but that’s another topic of building science).
To put it plainly, Mississippi’s building industry, and the municipal inspectors who approve the construction, don’t consider air leakage or a breach in the building “envelope” a serious issue. Energy conservation for new construction is NOT a hot topic in MS and is not a “code issue” for existing homes.
However, because your home’s components are all connected (the leg bone is connected to the hip bone), a leaky building should be a huge concern to you, the homeowner. Leaky buildings waste TONS of energy and prematurely wear out your heating and cooling equipment, cause frost in your attic and create indoor air quality issues.
But who cares about wasted energy, right?
In short, the frost you’re seeing under your roof will dry and most likely will not return until mother nature sends us another super cold snap. In the mean time, seal ALL the cracks in your building. Or, do nothing and pull out your wallet – and an ice scraper.