Attic and home ventilation systems are topics homeowners rarely give much thought to, but did you know that failing to have correct attic air flow can cause many issues and costly damages? Understanding how attic ventilation works can prevent a professional intervention. Here’s what you need to know!
What Is Attic Ventilation?
Attic ventilation allows air to enter and exit the space. In the summer months, roofs become hot because of their exposure to direct sunlight. Proper attic air flow gives an outlet for heat gain and permits fresh air to filter into the attic. Poor ventilation in the attic doesn’t allow for air to effectively move.
How Does Attic Ventilation Work?
Attic and home ventilation should take into account that warm air rises. There are two main categories of roof vents that work together to ventilate an attic in addition to any necessary air sealing.
Roof Intake Vents
Intake vents allow cool air to enter an attic and are located on the lowest part of the roof. More intake ventilation than an attic’s square footage requires is not a problem. When this happens, the extra intake changes over to exhaust on the home’s leeward side.
Roof Exhaust Vents
Located at the peak of the roof, exhaust vents give a spot for hot air to escape the attic. It is possible to have too much exhaust ventilation. With too many exhaust vents, air flows from one exhaust vent to the other, instead of from the soffit vents. This is because the air follows the path of least resistance. This means that hot air isn’t able to exit, and the attic stays hotter than it should.
How Do I Know If My Attic Is Properly Ventilated?
Here are three easy ways for homeowners to check their ventilation in the attic.
1. Perform A Visual Inspection Of The Attic
If you see mold on the insulation or moisture on the rafters, there are ventilation problems. This is an issue because for insulation to do its job, air flow is necessary. Learn about how attics impact your home air quality.
2. Check The Vent Openings
Vents covered in insulation debris and leaves prevent the proper level of attic air flow. This can lead to costly damages if left unaddressed, like your attic ventilation ruing your home siding, roofing, interior paint, and more.
3. Note The Attic Temperature
The temperature in the attic should be as close to outdoor temperatures as possible. Attic temperatures that exceed 130° are cause for concern. If you’re experiencing elevated temperatures, it can often mean you need attic air vent chutes. Also referred to as attic air chutes, they help remove heated air from a space through a small baffle. Most insulation contractors install them.
Common Costly Issues Caused By Poor Attic Ventilation & Insulation
Extreme Attic Heat
Too hot of attic temperatures can cause your air conditioner to run longer than it should. Elevated temperatures can also speed up your roof’s lifespan, forcing costly roof replacement earlier than you may have anticipated.
A reputable insulation contractor can help you decide if attic chutes will help. Air sealing an attic can also help regulate temperature.
Ventilation works best when there’s an equal amount of air flow entering and exiting. Using several ventilation systems at the same time can cause attic mold growth to occur.
Ice Dam Formation
Many times, ice dams form because of clogged or missing soffit vents. When this happens, a roof becomes warmed by the home’s interior air. The proper level of attic air flow helps prevent ice dams. That’s because it can help curtail roof temperature spikes that happen from the sun.
Poor levels of home attic attic insulation and roof ventilation can cause excessive moisture levels. This can result in mold and mildew forming on the on the roof deck, shingles, underlayment, and supports. If you’re looking to create a long-lasting roof with home insulation and ventilation, the secret comes down to the proper levels of each. Most installers should be able to identify the best recommendations for your unique home situation.
Your Local Insulation & Ventilation Experts
Our team of experts at Lindus provides top performing home and attic insulation in addition to having served over 100,000 happy customers. We work in the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin. If you have questions about making your home more energy efficient and living conditions more comfortable, contact us today. Our goal is to educate homeowners on the importance of insulation and ventilation, leading to healthier and more energy efficient homes.
BONUS: Learn how your attic ventilation could be ruining your home.