What is the proper attic ventilation?

attic vent

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As a homeowner, it is important to understand what attic ventilation is and why your home needs attic ventilation and insulation. The purpose of attic ventilation is to circulate air in the attic to keep the moisture level at a minimum.  Surprisingly, attic ventilation experts tell us that almost ninety percent of all homes have an unreasonably high level of moisture. Attic ventilation isn’t a lifesaver for those living in the home, but rather, it is a roof and structure saver. To learn more about attic ventilation in Macon, GA, dial 478-785-2285 now!

installing attic ventilation

What happens if attic is not vented?

An attic without ventilation loses energy through ceiling fittings and leaky ducts, costing the homeowner as much as 20% in energy cost. When moisture is allowed in an attic that is unvented can lead to roofing issues.

Wet roofing panels are subjective to ice dams that damage shingles. 

Wet roofing panels have a vague chance of drying out in an unventilated attic.

Shingle manufacturers void any warranty on unventilated attics.

Unvented attics with moisture build up have mildew and mold growth.

Unvented attics weaken the roof and eventually the structure. 

How do I get more airflow in my attic?

In cold areas of the country, attic ventilation evacuates moist, warm air that comes up from the living space, which is one reason ceiling fans are recommended. With a ceiling fan blowing downward, that heat will spread through the living area instead of escaping to the attic. Once that moist, warm air is in the attic, it lingers and condenses on the underside of the roof decking/sheathing and begins to rot.   

With adequate and properly placed attic ventilation, there is less chance of an ice dam forming as the warm air melts ice and snow, where the runoff refreezes on the eave. This can be avoided with installing soffit vents in the roof. What about installing attic fans?

vent for attic ventilation

Are attic vent fans worth it?

As the summer sun beats down on you house, you probably aren’t thinking about the attic. It’s hot up there, so why would you, right? As a homeowner, neglecting your attic is the worst thing you can during the summer. 

Above the attic is your roof, an important component of your home. As that scorching summer sun is blasting down, your entire home is absorbing the heat, and it is radiating through the attic and through the frame of your home heating the walls. 

You can turn up the air conditioner, and that is raising your electric usage. Instead, install an attic fan for improved attic ventilation. This will reduce the heat that is held in the attic and pushing through to your home. Attic ventilation will cool your attic by pulling that hot air to the outside and keeping the cool air inside, below the attic where you need it and want it. 

Why does attic need ventilation?

Attic ventilation may seem odd in the winter, but the natural flow of the outdoor air helps keep the cold. This minimizes the potential for ice dam forming from melted ice and snow that refreezes along the eaves and gutters. During the summer, attic ventilation allows natural air flow to pull the heated air out along with moisture that can build up in the attic and create mildew and mold. 

Does a finished attic need to be vented?

Yes, but it will need to be done differently than an unfinished attic.  It is common for homeowners to turn their attic into a room as they outgrow their home. IT becomes a bedroom or an office and needs to be cooled and heated to the attic ventilation normally used isn’t workable. 

Instead, attic ventilation is done with rafter venting or insulation baffles will do the same job and be installed in any rafter space, creating narrow gaps that direct outdoor air from the soffit vents to the roof peak without affecting the finished look of the attic.

Closing Out – Listing the Attic Ventilation Benefits

Proper attic ventilation protects your home by bringing in cool air through the eave vents and releases hot, moist air from the exhaust vents. The four ways you will see attic ventilation benefits are: 

Lower Utility Bills – Without air circulation in the attic, the hot, stagnant summer air builds up under the roof and heats the ceilings, seeping into the living space below. This makes the air conditioner work harder, using more electrical energy.

Extend the Roof Life – When an attic is overheated, the roof heats the interior surface and the exterior surface. This causes the underlayment and shingles to become dried out and crack, needing replacement sooner than expected. 

Mold and Moisture Damage is Prevented – This is particularly an issue in the winter because of the condensation that can build up in the attic from the rising warm air coming that is leaving the living space below. Without proper attic ventilation, moisture builds up and mold grows, ceilings are stained, rafters and trusses are weakened, jeopardizing the structure. 

Ice Dams Prevented – Those icicles you see hanging from your roof may look pretty, but they are not something you want as a homeowner. These are proof that your attic ventilation is inadequate and as ice and snow melt, the water refreezes at the eaves, creating the icicles.