Without proper ventilation, attics, most generally, will retain excess heat during summer months. Because heat rises, attics commonly fill with hot, still air. This can cause several problems for homeowners. In addition, it is common for moisture to gather in attics during winter months, causing possible problems for the homeowner.
Proper home attic ventilation is important for two main reasons. These reasons are temperature control, as well as moisture control. Without proper air flow in the attic, structural damage can occur. During the summer months, all of the excess heat that has build up in the attic can cause the cost of cooling your house to be extremely high. Over an extended period of time, moisture build up or excess heat can cause problems with attic insulation. The attic air is stagnant and often stale smelling. During winter months, it is not uncommon for moisture to build up in unventilated attics. So any moisture produced in the home has a tendency to rise to the attic if proper ventilation isn’t in place. When moisture build up is not exhausted from the attic, it could eventually cause problems such as deterioration in the insulation and the wooden rafters.
During the hottest months of the year, it is not uncommon for attic temperatures to reach temperatures as high as 130 degrees F. Imagine the impact those kind of attic temperatures can have on the air temperatures of the entire home. Without a good ventilation system in place, cooling bills tend to skyrocket during the hotter months of the year. A good ventilation system in the attic will not only decrease cooling bills, it is likely to increase the life span of your central air cooling system.
When the cooler months arrive, attic temperatures do not pose as much of a threat as moisture build up does. While excess heat will still rises to the attic, so does any excess moisture in the house. This makes conditions perfect for several potential problems including:
- Pest/animal infestation
- Insulation deterioration
Excess moisture or heat build up can also cause problems with the wooden rafters and other wood located in the attic area. In addition, deterioration and rusting of construction materials can also occur due to excess moisture build up. There are four types of basic attic vents available on the market today. These attic vents are:
- soffit vents
- gable end vents
- ridge vents
- roof vents
These vents can be used alone as a proper ventilation system, or used together in different combinations. For example, most experts recommend ridge vents be used in combination with soffit vents, while gable end vents and roof vents adequately stand alone.
Attic ventilation is important during all seasons. Not only does improper ventilation in the attic cause the cooling bill to rise during the summer months, it can also cause problems that are detrimental to the roof, as well cause problems that could threaten the overall integrity of the home.
Attic Vents and Ventilation
Most home and building owners choose to install attic vents in order to help them maintain the construction quality of their structure. Attic vents are designed to provide air circulation in the room. Without proper air circulation, many different problems are likely to occur. The following paragraphs will provide valuable information about attic vents, as well as discuss why they are necessary in every attic.
Although there are several different types of attic vents, there are two principal types. These are intake vents and exhaust vents. Intake attic vents are designed to allow air from the outside to enter the attic. Exhaust vents are designed to give the air a place to escape. These vents work together to help provide the best possible ventilation in an attic.
Intake vents have names that reference the location they need to be installed. For example, gable vents should always be installed just below the peak of the roof, in the gable. Soffit intake vents need to be installed in the soffit and are usually placed down the entire length of the roof. Any other typse of attic vents installed directly into the roof are known as static vents. Static vents are commonly equipped with hoods to keep rain and moisture from entering. The effectiveness of any intake attic vent will depend on the location it is installed, as well as the number of intake vents installed.
As state above, exhaust vents in an attic are vents that give air a place to escape. Exhaust vents in the attic can be static or turbine. Static exhaust vents use no power assistance to allow air flow, while turbine exhaust vents require the power of the wind in order to move air. Turbine attic exhaust vents tend to be more common, and can be seen spinning on many rooftops of homes that efficient air movement in their attics.
It is highly beneficial for any attic to have a proper ventilation system. Upon the completion of new construction, a new attic will be inspected by a building inspector, to ensure the attic meets building codes. Older homes are usually inspected before purchase. If you feel there is a need for your attic to be inspected, you should consult an inspector, or a licensed roofing company. If you do not have any attic vents, you should consider having them installed.
Attic Ventilation Requirements for Your House
You are sure that your attic needs ventilation, but maybe you are unsure the exact attic ventilation requirements for your particular house. Your specific attic ventilation requirements will depend on a few factors. These factors include:
- Size of your house
- Climate in which you reside
- Energy requirements of the attic ventilation system
When you take the time to think about each of these factors, you will be able to devise an ventilation plan that will not only save you money, but provide you with the most comfortable temperatures for your entire home.
When trying to figure out the attic ventilation requirements specific to your home, the size of your house is the most important factor to consider. If your house is larger than average, you will likely need to install more attic ventilation in order to affect the living areas of your home. Many licensed contractors will recommend that you install one square foot of venting for each 300 square feet of attic space. Keep in mind, this is just a general estimate. You can always choose to install more vents if you feel you need them. However, by keeping these numbers in mind, you will get a much better idea of what the attic ventilation requirements of your house are.
Next, to figure out the attic ventilation requirements of your home, it is vital to consider the climate in which you reside. If you are located in a place that has warmer climate, your home may require more ventilation than average. This will allow more hot air to exit from your attic. On the other hand, if you live in a colder climate, you may not need as many vents in your attic. If you live where the climate is extreme, it may be best to check with your local ventilation experts for their recommendations.
Finally, when you are trying to determine the exact attic ventilation needs specific to your home, you need to think about how much energy the ventilation system will need. There are several different types of attic venting systems that do not require any energy at all to be useful. There are other types of attic ventilation systems that do require some amount of electricity. When you are trying to decide which type of ventilation system to use in your attic, or the ventilation needs specific to your house, it is important to first determine if there is an energy source available in your attic, as well as how much the attic ventilation system will add to your monthly power bill.