Getting to Know Attic Ventilation

By HomeAdvisor

Updated April 26, 2019

Attic vents

Attic ventilation is one of the single most important aspects of your home when it comes maintaining high energy efficiency, besides its numerous other benefits. If you suspect you don’t have sufficient ventilation in your attic, or just want to upgrade the ventilation system you do have, talk to a roofing contractor or ventilation specialist about the best available options for your home.

Why Attic Ventilation Is So Important during Summer Months

First and foremost, proper ventilation in your attic means big energy savings. During the summer months an improperly ventilated attic can reach temperatures of over 160 degrees, and all that heat radiates right down into your home. If you’ve got an air conditioner, it’s working overtime to compensate and costing you money. And if you don’t have an air conditioner, all that extra heat can make hot summer days almost unbearable. By installing proper ventilation you can drastically cut down the time you’ll need to run your AC, save money, and make your home more comfortable, all in one fell swoop.

Why Proper Ventilation Is So Important: the Winter Version

In the winter, your attic ventilation serves an entirely different purpose. Poor ventilation can lead to moisture build-up in your attic, and in the winter months that can mean big trouble. As the temperature in your attic fluctuates with the weather outside, that moisture can actually condensate, freeze, and then “rain” down on your attic when it melts. The result is water damage, and even worse, mold and mildew buildup. Furthermore, a well ventilated attic helps prevent ice and snow buildup on the outside of your roof as well, both of which can lead to host of other problems. Basically it doesn’t matter what the season is, a well-ventilated attic is a home improvement must.

Tools of the Trade

A contractor who specializes in attic ventilation will be able to inform you which ventilation systems are best for your home, since your home design may limit, to some extent, the options you have to choose from. Nonetheless, here is a quick list of the most popular ventilation systems being installed today.

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  • Ridge and Soffit Vents: This is as simple as it gets. Soffit vents are installed under the eaves of your home, and ridge vents are put in along the roofline. With proper passive ventilation both at the base and peak of your roof, you’ve created all that is necessary for fresh air to continually flow in, up, and out of your attic, which is the primary goal.
  • Fan Powered Roof Vents: These are basically ridge vents with electrical fans built in that speed up the process mentioned above. They can either be operated manually with a switch, or wired to turn on automatically when the temperature in your attic reaches a certain point.
  • Attic Exhaust Fan: Instead of being installed at the peak of your home, attic exhaust fans are installed in the gable. They usually require adding extra ventilation elsewhere (usually in the form of a gable vent on the other side of the attic) because they blow so much hot air out, and in turn draw in fresh outside air to replace it. These fans make a huge difference where both ventilation and energy savings are concerned.You really can’t go wrong when it comes improving ventilation in your attic. It makes for a safer and more comfortable home, and since this is one of those energy efficient home improvements that saves you money over time, it ends up paying for itself in the end.
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