Although you may think of your attic as simply a storage space, it actually plays a vital role in your home’s roof system. A properly ventilated attic allows your roof to “breathe,” in a sense. Similar to breathing, ventilation allows your attic to “inhale” fresh air and “exhale” stale air. This constant flow of air circulation, plays a crucial role in your home’s energy efficiency and preserving the life of your roof.
How It Works
For your attic to be properly ventilated, fresh air must be able to enter while allowing stale air to escape. In a properly ventilated home, air enters the vents placed at either the soffits or eaves while old air escapes via the ridge vent. This creates a circulation of air that will keep your attic at a balanced temperature and humidity level year round. In order for this to be effective, there must be an equal amount of intake and exhaust.
Why Ventilation Is Crucial
When there is a lack of air entering your home, air will only circulate along the top of your attic space, leaving stale air resting at the bottom. When there is a lack of exhaust, hot air cannot exit the attic, creating moisture build-up and a rise in temperature. Circulation will also be restricted if there are only vents on one side of the attic.
Did you know that on a 90 degree day, your attic can reach temperatures of over 140 degrees?
Although heat naturally rises, when your attic is improperly ventilated the heat build-up can work its way back into your home. This can cause a strain on your air conditioning units and consequently, an increase in cooling energy use and utility costs.
Common Myths About Ventilation
Myth: The More Ventilation the Better
Excessive amounts of ventilation can actually be just as bad as having an insufficient amount. Although roof vents are necessary for proper ventilation in your home, the amount of vents your home needs is dependent on the size of your home, type of your roof, and overall construction.
Installing more vents than the necessary amount for your home will put your roof at a higher risk for leaks. Vents are installed by creating penetrations, which even if sealed correctly, create areas of vulnerability in your roof. That being said, only install the necessary amount recommended for properly ventilating your home.
When determining the amount of vents to install, it is always best to consult with a professional roofing contractor. In general, you typically need 1 square foot of attic ventilation for every 300 square feet of ceiling space.
Myth: Roof Vents are Only for Warm Climates
The importance of proper roof ventilation is typically associated with increasing energy efficiency in the summer months, but good ventilation actually benefits your home year round, in both warm and cool seasons. In fact, proper roof ventilation plays a vital role in preventing moisture damage during those cold weather months. In cooler seasons, a properly ventilated roof will prevent the build up of condensation in your attic space, preventing mold growth and premature decay.
Myth: Ventilation Removes Warm Air During the Winter
If you are noticing a drag in heating or cooling efficiency in your home, it is most likely due to improper insulation. If your attic is incorrectly insulated, moisture can easily enter your attic and lead to further deterioration of your insulation, as well as wood rot.
To determine whether your attic properly insulated, measure the indoor temperature of your attic space at night. Compare this indoor temperature to the temperature outside. A well insulated space will be close in temperature, whereas a poorly insulated space will have a great difference in the two temperatures.
Contact Us Today
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your home’s attic ventilation, feel free to contact our office at (800) 317-1939.