Conversations with Charles Buell Regarding Seasonal Condensation Issues


  • In this podcast, we discuss finding and reporting on signs of seasonal condensation in an attic.
  • This is a common home inspector trap and a subject which, in many climate zones, we are still struggling to get our heads around as a building industry.
  • The building code has really not addressed this problem adequately in some climate zones, which is leaving consumers with new houses that are built to code and have seasonal moisture problems.
  • We look at why seasonal condensation happens and see a diagram that explains air movement through a building and the stack effect.
  • We discuss radiant night sky cooling and how this contributes to condensation problems.
  • We address the myth that the solution to attic condensation problems is always more ventilation and we see photos of why this can make this problem worse.
  • We look at a case study of a home inspection I performed in the winter of 2019 and see how tricky it is to provide sound advice when there are so many possible inputs regarding possible causes.
  • We look at why seasonal condensation a home inspector trap. We are definitely looking at something that has to be reported on. Any issues that are causing the house to get wet, even if just seasonally, would have to be reported on based on our standards of practice. Yet, the reality is, we are often unable to give accurate advice regarding the scope and urgency for repair when we are just out to the house for a one-time inspection.
  • On the other hand, I think many home inspectors know too much to punt and just say, oh, let a mold remediation person look at it. That may be the safe play, but you might end up with a client spending money on something that is not even much of a problem.
  • We provide some sample language used in a home inspection report to detail our findings and recommendations.

Here is a link to the report we discussed in this podcast as well as a screenshot of the observation in question below.