Home Inspection Spotlight: Problems in the Attic
One of the biggest issues we find in the attic is water getting where it shouldn’t be. In the above photo, you can see that the roof decking in the attic has water stains. The water is getting in through poor flashing around the chimney on the roof.
Flashing is material (usually aluminum or steel) placed around edges and joints to keep water from seeping in. The brick section you see in the photo is where the chimney comes through the attic. Over time, flashing can pull away from the surface and allow water to penetrate. See below for a picture of correct chimney flashing.
Another common way that water gets into the attic is from the air conditioning unit if it’s located there. The condensate line is basically a drain that pulls the condensation away from the AC unit. When warm air hits the cold coils in the AC unit, condensation forms, so this line pulls that moisture away so it doesn’t leak into your home.
In this shot, you can see that rather than fixing a leak in the condensate line, the homeowner has placed a bucket to collect the water. The problem with this “solution” is what happens when the bucket is full?
What happens when the bucket overflows? The photo below, under the right circumstances. Yikes. So much water collected in the attic, it soaked through the decking and the ceiling eventually creating a massive flood in the kitchen below. (In this shot, it was an empty house during a freeze). Even a small leak can become a flood if left unchecked.