The Day – Improved attic ventilation helps protect your roof and keep your home comfortable

In most houses, the attic is filled with insulation to keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer. It may therefore seem counterintuitive to create openings in the room so that it can also be ventilated.

However, good ventilation is an important part of a comfortable home in all seasons. In addition, a poorly ventilated attic can cause a variety of problems, such as: B. faster roof deterioration and higher energy costs.

If there are no ventilation slots in the attic, it will be difficult for the air in the room to escape. According to Family Handyman, in winter the attic will trap warm, humid air that rises from the living spaces below. During the summer, hot air will build up in an unventilated attic, which can conduct heat into the house.

This situation can quickly stress the structural elements in the upper parts of the house. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors says poor ventilation can lead to mold and mildew, wood rot, peeling paint, and even melting of shingles. Pests like termites and carpenter ants are also more likely to be attracted to the home when the heat and humidity are higher.

Improper ventilation contributes to the winter phenomenon known as ice dams. Merle Henkenius, who writes for This Old House, says ice dams form when warm air melts snow on the roof, with the water flowing down and freezing again on the eaves. Ice dams can then trap water on the roof, causing leaks and structural damage.

Ideally, the attic should be cold in winter and the insulation should contain heated air in the living spaces. The Energy Star program states that natural airflow through the attic prevents ice dams in freezing temperatures and removes moisture and extremely hot air from the room on hot days.

There are some easy ways to check your attic ventilation to see if it is adequate. Family Handyman says you should be able to spot some vents in the roof and eaves when inspecting these areas. The house may also have a ridge vent that runs along the rooftop or vents on top of the gables.

In the summer, check the blankets under the attic to see if they feel hot. During the colder months, you can examine the rafters and other surfaces in the attic to see if there is any moisture or frost.

A visual inspection can also reveal some signs of poor attic insulation. Schaefer Exteriors, a Sykesville, Md. Company, says there are gaps in pipes or ducts, kitchen or bathroom fans that do not vent through the roof but only into the attic on one side of the house.

The best way to ensure that the attic insulation is adequate is to create vents that move air efficiently through the room. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors says a combination of soffit vents to let air into the attic at the bottom of the eaves and ridge vents to let air out will accomplish this goal; Just having one or the other is not enough. If there are no eaves, “drip edge” ventilation can be used at the edge of the roof.

Many homes have passive ventilation that relies on wind or temperature differences to circulate air through the attic. By adding an active item, e.g. B. a roof fan, the air is moved, especially on oppressive days with little wind. However, you should make sure that the attic is sufficiently sealed for this to work well. The Energy Star program states that attic fans draw chilled air out of living spaces when the reveal openings are clogged or when there is insufficient insulation.

Make sure the reveal openings are clear of any obstruction. Henkenius says you should strip the insulation from the vent and install a baffle to make sure the vent stays open.

Determine if there are enough ventilation slots in the attic. Family Handyman suggests that there should be one square foot of ventilated openings for every 150 square feet of loft space, with those vents roughly evenly spaced between the roof and soffit openings.

Tips for Improving Attic Ventilation

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