Have you ever noticed a buildup of lines or splotchy marks along your ceiling, or streaks along doors and windows? If so, you may have ghost marks. And while that may sound spooky, do not be afraid—this type of ghost problem is often easy to recognize, as well as prevent.
When we refer to ghosting in our homes, we are talking about dark streaks or dirty marks on ceilings and walls. Dust and soot from candles or a wood fireplace can stick to areas of condensation to form a ghosting effect. Over time, these particles can build up and cause permanent staining.
If you see marks that follow straight lines on your ceiling, they are likely lining up with the framing in the attic above. Markings like this indicate you may have cold spots caused by poorly installed insulation, low insulation levels, or air leaks. Warm or sooty air may stick to these spots to form the ghosting effect, especially if you have higher humidity in your home.
Some ghost marks are blotchier or appear as streaks on carpeting or along windows or doors. Any gaps in your insulation can cause temperature changes and extra condensation, which can result in patches and discolored areas. A contractor can use a thermal imaging camera to detect any missing or deteriorated insulation that might cause this type of ghosting.
Ghosting can be caused by any number of factors, including moisture, cold spots, gaps in insulation, excess static electricity, and more. Sometimes ghosting can be prevented with simple steps, like avoiding burning candles or incense, or running your bathroom exhaust fan more regularly. Other times, it may be necessary to seek professional assistance. Scrubbing or repainting only solves the problem temporarily, and in a few months or years the ghosting will return if you do not get to the source of the problem.
If you are concerned that ghosting in your home may be a sign of bigger problems, or you are simply tired of looking at streaks on your ceiling, FOCUS ON ENERGY® can help. Our website
offers a list of Trade Ally contractors who can identify the cause of the issue and offer recommendations on how to move forward. We also have rebates to help you save on recommended solutions such as insulation and air sealing.