Call Your Inspector
By Integrity Home Inspection, Feb 16 2016 06:53PM
Back in November, as temperatures begin to cool down, I received a call from a client who's home I had inspected in the fall. She was experiencing problems with moisture at the ceiling edges around the outer walls of her second floor. She suspected roof leakage and contacted a contractor. The roofing contractor evaluated her problem and told her the roof had no underlayment/tarpaper which was causing leaks all around the edges of her eaves. He gave her an estimate of $5000 to pull off and reinstall the first 4 feet of her shingles. That's when she decided to give me a call.
We set up an appointment to visit the home and started by checking her roof. The contractor was partially correct, there was a small section of her roof which was missing underlayment. Despite the small section of underlayment not present, it didn't account for the amount of moisture she was describing along both the front and rear ceilings of her house. So to the inside we go.
When we walked in and a wave of humidity hit us in the face like a wet sneeze, we knew we had found the real problem. The moisture problem was not a roof leak at all but rather condensation collecting on the cooler edges of her ceiling. The photo below depicts another result of this type of condensation. Over time, regular amounts of condensation will collect airborne debris and leave stains which show the exact location of cold spots in your ceilings. This staining is referred to as "ghosting" and, though unsightly, it is typically just a cosmetic issue.
Back to our client. As the days get colder, whole house humidifiers must to be adjusted down because the cool air cannot hold as much moisture and condensation will occur on any cold surfaces. This was her issue. Humidifiers are not the type of appliance which you can "set and forget". Her $5000 roof repair disappeared and her problem was solved with–literally–the turn of a dial.
The point is this: If a problem appears in your home after taking possession, your first call should be to your home inspector. Why?
1. They know your home.
2. They understand the whole house as an integrated system.
3. They are not selling you anything.
4. They have a vested interest in finding the true source/cause of the issue.
Their reputation depends on it.
Very helpful! I deal with this issue in my own house so I will need to check this out. Thanks!
Thank You! If you have any questions, feel free to call. There are several sources of moisture in a typical home. I'm happy to help you diagnose your own home over the phone if possible.
Owner, Integrity Home Inspection
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