Attic Ventilation : What You Need To Know
It may seem counterintuitive at first: You insulate your home to reduce temperature fluctuations and save money on utilities, but you also let fresh air flow through the attic at all times of the year. However, the science underpinning attic ventilation is sound. Heat and moisture are trapped in sealed attics, which may shorten shingle life. And the excess heat isn’t only a summer issue—in the winter, heated attic air may melt snow on the roof during the day, then refreeze overnight when temperatures drop, resulting in ice jams that cause interior leaks and roof damage. However, following these tips to ensure your house has sufficient attic ventilation might spare you the stress and expense of an emergency roof repair.
What Is Attic Ventilation and How Does It Work?
Attic ventilation is based on the idea that warm air rises naturally, and it generally employs two kinds of vents:
Cool air enters the attic through intake vents, which are located under the eaves at the lowest part of the roof.
The hot air exhaust vents, which are placed at the roof’s peak, enable hot air to escape.
The most popular technique to vent an attic is to use this natural process, which is known as passive ventilation. Installing at least 1 sq. ft. of vent for every 300 sq. ft. of attic floor is the basic rule of thumb for facilitating this interchange of warm and cold air. Building regulations vary by town, so check with your local building authority for information unique to your area.
Vents For Air Intake
The intake vents in an attic are often built directly in the soffit, either as separate vents spaced every few feet or as a single continuous perforated soffit extending the length of the eave. While these types of soffit vents are good at drawing in cooler air, their major flaw is their placement: homeowners may simply block them while insulating the attic. Soffit vents that are obstructed are exactly as terrible as having no soffit vents because they restrict fresh air from freely flowing into the attic.
Gable roofed houses may also have vents on the side of the house as high as feasible inside the gable’s apex. These gable vents, whether circular, triangular, or rectangular, may be painted to match the siding or trim work to complement rather than distract from the home’s exterior. They’re also especially useful since, depending on the wind direction, they may serve as both intake and exhaust vents. Most of the time, their location towards the roof’s peak permits heat to escape through the roof’s cover. Wind may enter via the aperture if it is blowing perpendicular to the roof and at a suitable speed; however, winds that are too weak or not blowing directly at the vent’s entry will accomplish nothing to chill the interior.
How Can You Know If You Need More Attic Ventilation?
In the summer, proper attic ventilation helps to keep the heat out. This lowers cooling expenses while also extending the life of the shingles. Warm, wet air creeps into the attic from the living area below in the winter. Heat and moisture may escape via good ventilation. This keeps your attic dry and prevents ice dams from forming. The following are four symptoms of a poorly ventilated or unventilated attic:
Take a look at your roof and eaves. You should install attic vents if there aren’t any on the roof or in the eaves. Your roof vents may not like those shown in this article. A ridge vent, which is a low-profile, continuous roof air vent that runs along the peak of the roof, may be installed on your roof. Gable vents, which are louvered apertures at the top of gables, may also be present.
On a warm, sunny day, reach up and touch your ceiling. A heated ceiling indicates that your attic is operating as a solar oven, increasing your cooling expenditures and frying your shingles.
In the winter, thick ice ridges on your eaves are a symptom of insufficient attic ventilation. Warm air escapes from the rooms below and becomes trapped in the attic. Ice dams form when snow melts and the water refreezes on the cool eaves.
Warm air that exits the living area carries moisture, which condenses on the rafters or roof sheathing. During the winter, grab a flashlight and investigate your attic. If you notice wetness or frost, you’ll need more attic vents and improved roof ventilation.
Place roof ventilation at the roof’s peak and soffit vents in the eaves for the optimum benefits. The soffit vents let air in, while the roof vents let it out. Vents are available in a variety of styles. Because they’re simple to install, we went with rectangular, hooded roofing vents and rectangular soffit vents. At home centers, you’ll find everything you need to get started on a roof ventilators project. You’ll also need a handful of 1-1/4-inch roofing nails, 1/2-inch galvanized sheet metal screws for the soffit vents, utility knife blades, a dust mask, and one tube of roofing cement for every three vents. A jigsaw or reciprocating saw will be used to make holes for the vents. This project will take a whole day to complete. It’s ideal to go on a chilly day. Attics may get dangerously hot on a hot day. Heat also makes it simple for shingles to be damaged.
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