Dwight's Roofing

Attic Rain in Edmonton

If there is one thing that we can count on here in Edmonton, it’s extreme weather variances.  One of the most common winter issues Demi from Dwight’s Roofing comes across in Edmonton is Attic Rain.  Temperature in Edmonton fluctuate from the 30’s in the summer to -40 in the winter.  These extreme weather conditions can have impact on your roof but were you aware of what can take place inside your home?  Have you ever taken a look in your attic in the winter and seen a lot of frost or frozen water droplets?  If the answer is yes, your home has probably experienced a condition known as Attic Rain.


What Is Attic Rain?

Attic rain is a condition that can be very common in Alberta.  It is caused when moisture accumulates in the attic and then freezes during the expected cold temperatures. The frost that collects then melts when the weather warms up again. It is important to address this situation created by our weather fluctuations this is one of the most inappropriate attic conditions that can further damage your house. 

To be able to address the situation, it is important to understand what can cause Attic Rain.  Simply put, attic rain is caused by heat and moisture trapped in the house.  There could be numerous sources causing this.  Some to consider are:


  • Inadequate Air Sealing
    • Edmonton has homes ranging in all sizes, shapes and ages. Regardless of how they differ, the one thing that is important for all is removing or reducing any air leaks in and out of the house.  By reducing leaks, the chance for attic rain is decreased which will also help to increase comfort and create a healthier indoor environment. During our harsh winter weather, there is a potential for too much air entering the house. Ensuring that there has been proper air sealing of your home will help reduce the moisture build up and decrease the chance of attic rain.


  • Disconnected Appliances
    • Appliances such as fans, vents, dryers, kitchen hoods, etc., can cause issues if disconnected or not venting properly as they can vent the humidity straight into the attic space creating an environment of excessive moisture build up and can cause the attic to frost over. These appliances are designed to move air in the area where they are located but can also draw the warmth out of the air in a room and eventually take the air into the attic causing the frost to melt.


  • Warmth from the Sun
    • As expected, the space in your attic can be warmed by the rays/radiation of the sun on a clear day. The solar radiation from the sun can pass through your roofing materials, transferring heat into the attic, again causing built up frost to melt.


Potential Solutions to Avoid Attic Rain

With the extreme weather that we experience in Alberta, completely prevent attic rain from happening is almost impossible.  Even with the dramatic temperature variances, we suggest that the homeowners take responsibility to ensure that the necessary precautions are taken to prevent it from damaging your home.  Here are some of the potential solutions that you take to avoid attic rain:


  • Check to Make Sure the Attic Is Well Ventilated
    • Having a well-ventilated home will greatly reduce the chances of developing Attic Rain. It is important to check on the areas where there could be air leakage while also checking on the ventilation system inside the house.  Proper ventilation in the home helps eliminate heat build up from the sun while also removing excessive moisture build up.
    • The Government of Canada website has provided some good information on “Ventilation and the indoor environment”.


  • Air Movement Needs to Go Directly Outside
    • It is important that air movement created by the use of vents, fans or other appliances is not allowed to enter the attic space.


  • Turn on the Kitchen Vents
    • Heat from cooking in the kitchen can cause an overall swing in the temperature throughout the home. By keeping the kitchen or oven exhaust fan on, you can ensure that the heat produced during the cooking is lead out of the house.


  • Turn the Humidifier Down
    • The ideal moisture needed in a house is 30% – 50%. In the winter months, most families look to keep a slightly higher temperature for a comfortable environment but in is important to make sure that temperature isn’t too warm and increasing the moisture in your home.


  • Home Inspection by Trusted Roofers
    • If after following the above noted steps and you still notice water stains on your ceiling and the walls, the best course of action would be to contact the professionals. We suggest getting your roof inspected by professional roofers and potentially exterior home renovations experts. They will inspect the roof and attic and look to identify the source of the issue. They will also provide solutions for the issues related to the roof and attic while the renovation experts can look to address any other areas that may be contributing to the issue.


Roof ventilation is an important aspect of your home that should never be ignored. Protecting the roof and the attic space properly will allow you to avoid issues with mould and rot which can be disastrous to a home.  Take the time to get make sure that your home is winter ready and ensure that attic is properly ventilated which will reduce frost accumulation. By taking the time to care for your roof and attic, it will pay you back in reduced repair costs long term.


Additional info from The National Post and Mike Holmes.

For any advice related to Attic Rain in Edmonton, contact Demi or Trevor at Dwight’s Roofing!

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What is attic rain? Dwight's Roofing provides a detailed guide as to why attic rain happens and how to handle it.
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Dwight's Roofing
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