A leaky roof can be one of the most irritating problems a homeowner can face. Despite the inconvenience posed by a leak in the roof, however, it is not uncommon for homeowners to leave the problem unaddressed. “Out of sight, out of mind,” the saying goes, and it’s easy to forget to have the situation taken care of when other, similarly urgent, matters might be more visible. A small roof leak, however, can easily escalate into a more serious problem when left to fester.
It might come as a surprise, but a leak in your roof is a possible fire hazard, and can quickly escalate into a major situation. Electrical wiring in the ceiling or attic, when exposed to the water from a leak, can create an open circuit if there is a break or some damage in the insulation of the wiring. Such an open circuit can result in fire; the risk is exacerbated by the fact that insulation, or parts of the insulation, used in the attic – kraft facings, for example – can catch fire.
Even without damaged wiring, the possibility of a fire starting due to the leak remains. Metal junction boxes with uncovered wires, for instance, when exposed to water seeping into the roof or attic, can also result in a fire.
What should you do if your roof is already leaking and you suspect that you could have damaged or exposed wiring, either in the attic or ceiling? Common sense dictates that you first shut off the power to any circuits in the affected area, and then call in an electrician to investigate. Considering how cramped or inconvenient access to an attic can be – depending on how your home is constructed – actually addressing a fire in such an area can be a difficult and dangerous proposition. Better to have the inspection conducted sooner rather than later.
If you are in danger of a fire from just such a situation, the leak should be taken care of as quickly and decisively as possible.
Now that you know the electrical damage a roof leak can cause, be on the lookout for Part II, coming soon, which goes on to discuss the health issues associated with a leaky roof.