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The Importance of Proper Attic Ventilation

By Clean Crawls on September 12, 2017

Homeowners are constantly looking for ways to better their home. One of the most common problems that homeowners encounter is a house that is too hot during the summer and/or too cold during the winter. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re all too familiar with dampness and chilly air – but we’d all prefer to keep those conditions outside, not in our home.

There are a lot of things that can cause your home to not be the right temperature. Of course, first check to ensure your HVAC system is in working order and not in need of cleaning or repairs. If that’s all functioning, though, one thing you should consider is that your attic is in need of better ventilation. Having an attic with poor ventilation can cause a whole host of problems in your house, but having good attic ventilation installed can resolve a lot of issues and leave your house much more comfortable.

proper attic ventilation
Impact of Poor Attic Ventilation

Poor ventilation in the uppermost part of your home can cause a lot of issues, but most commonly the one’s below:

Roof Problems

During the winter, moist air can collect in an attic that isn’t properly ventilated. During the summer, hot and humid air can also build up in the attic, putting stress on your roof. Moisture can also lead to mildew or warping, and mold can start grow, leading to major structural issues down the road. If heat rises into the attic during the winter, it can cause snow to melt and refreeze as ice, which can lead to leaks and further damage!

Increased Electrical Bills

When attic ventilation is insufficient, hot air comes in during the summer and radiates down into your living space, and moist and cold air builds up during the winter. Your HVAC system works overtime to compensate, but can never keep up. It can seem counterintuitive to spend money insulating your attic, only to allow ventilation, but in fact you need both in order to have a healthy attic space.

Pests

Damp, dark, warm spaces are the perfect spot for pests – insects, rodents and more – to set up a nest, especially during the winter. Pests can lead to health hazards from their droppings, can damage insulation and the structure of your home and overall can just be a nuisance. A well-ventilated attic can help prevent that atmosphere from forming.

 

Types of Attic Ventilation Options

Now that you know why it’s important to have a properly ventilated attic, let’s look at a few of the options available for ventilating that space.

First, it’s important to know how much ventilation your attic will need. Most services will recommend that you need one square foot of ventilation for every 300 cubic feet of air space in your attic. You need to have a 1:1 ratio of intake and exhaust vents in order to ensure that the airflow is good.

Intake Vents

One of the biggest potential problems for intake vents is the placement – too many otherwise functional intake vents are poorly placed, leading to them being covered when well-intentioned homeowners insulate their attic. There are a few main kinds of intake vents:

  • Under-eave vents – These are one continuous perforated vent placed under the eave of the house. While they’re very effective, they also are particularly prone to being covered by insulation.
  • Rafter vents – These work in tandem with under-eave soffit vents and are installed along the rafters where the ceiling and floor of your attic meet to ensure that there is a clear airway to the under-eave style vent.
  • Gable vents – These vents are installed in the highest point in the peak of your gable. One nice thing about this style is that they can be painted or styled to match your home, so they aren’t as obvious. Another good feature is that they can function as both intake and exhaust vents, depending on the direction of the wind.

Exhaust Vents

Exhaust vents are just as important because in order for the space to cool down the hot air must have a way to escape.

  • Ridge vents – These are popular thanks to the fact that they are camouflaged neatly into your roofline. They are openings that run along the full length of your roof’s ridge and can be hidden by shingles.
  • Turbine vents – You’ll recognize these from their distinctive shape. Within the turbine is a small fan that will turn with the slightest breeze and help suck the hot air from your attic. These must be located on or very close to the ridge of your roof.

 

The Easy Fix For Attic Ventilation

Do any of these problems sound familiar? One of the easiest and most effective means of improving the ventilation in your attic is by replacing old insulation with new, eco-friendly insulation. Having the right kind of insulation in the right places of your attic will regulate airflow and keep out pests, saving you money and time. Proper venting is also required to get a rebate from your utility company (who are very picky), so having a professional help determine the proper insulation for your specific home is crucial to gaining a rebate.

We are trained to determine exactly how much venting you need and how much it will cost. Contact Clean Crawls today to learn more about improving ventilation in your attic, we’d love to help out!

Clean Crawls
Attic and crawl space specialist since 2001.

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