Watch CBS News

Using A Humidifier In This Cold Weather? Check Your Attic For Frost

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As temperatures drop and our homes feel dry, it can be tempting to crank up your humidifier. Experts warn that can cause major problems.

Stinson Services has received hundreds of calls about water coming from attics during the warmup these past few days. High humidity indoors can cause frost to form in your attic. There's an inexpensive way to avoid a costly cleanup.

A ring around the bathroom light fixture was the first indication for Bryan and Marcie Nichols that something was wrong.

"So there was water leaking out of here and we just heard the dripping. We titled it down and water, basically pouring out," Bryan said.

"It was definitely a panic moment you don't want water pouring out of your ceiling," Marcie said.

humidity levels
(credit: CBS)

The Nichols soon learned frost in their attic that had melted caused the moisture. It started with turning up the humidity in the home, warming the air, during the coldest winter days.

"Anything that pokes through the ceiling allows warm moist air to go up into the attic," explaiend Tom Parafinik with Stinson Services.

He calls it a common problem in Minnesota.

"When it has been as cold as it has been from the last two weeks below zero, instead of venting out of the attic like it normally would through the exhaust vents at the top, it just freezes on the decking," Parafinik said.

Parafinik can see the moisture using an infrared camera.

"It stays there as frost until it warms up again and then it begins to rain in the attic," Parafinik said.

To prevent it, Stinson Services offers recommended humidity levels for a home. A monitor allows homeowners to keep an eye on the level.

"I think have a good game plan set, we know to set our humidity levels lower and I think we are on the right track now," Marcie Nichols said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.