As a homeowner, you’re probably familiar with how ventilation works in your home. But making sure it’s sufficient enough to last throughout the winter season without damaging your roof can be tricky, especially if you don’t know how to maintain and care for it.
With proper attic ventilation, your home stays comfortable and protected throughout the winter months. It also prevents the inner structure of your roof from moisture damage.
How Attic Ventilation Works
Through a system of intake and exhaust vents, air flows through the roof and into your attic. This can happen mechanically using a power source or naturally by taking advantage of the stack and wind effect.
The stack effect happens when hot air rises and creates a higher pressure at high points such as your attic. The air that escapes your roof is referred to as exhaust. But this won’t happen without an inlet for cooler and lower pressured air. When this air enters, it’s referred to as intake.
Meanwhile, the wind effect happens when wind blows against your roofing system’s exterior and increases the amount of air intake and exhaust in your attic. This creates a natural flow of air, but it’s only possible with a well-ventilated attic.
You’ll need to understand that each attic ventilation system is unique to every home. This is because of the different types of roofs installed as well as the local requirements and typical weather conditions in your area.
Why Proper Ventilation Is Necessary
In the early twentieth century, certain organizations like the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers® (ASHRAE) and the Forest Products Laboratory first recognized the importance of proper attic ventilation after realizing that home and building condensation problems are primarily caused by poor or even lack of a ventilation system.
Today, professional home improvement contractors as well as many homeowners know for a fact that proper attic ventilation protects homes from not just condensation problems, but also mold growth, frost and ice buildup, moisture damage, ice dams and popped shingles.
Having a good ventilation system on your roof is especially important during winter, when heat in your home rises to the attic. A poorly ventilated attic allows moisture to form and accumulate, which can seep into the structure of your home and affect the inner roofing materials as well as other parts of your attic. By keeping the temperatures even through proper attic ventilation, it prevents hot and cold spots that may otherwise cause damaging ice dams where water can back up and freeze beneath your shingles.
The Benefits of Proper Attic Ventilation
Lower Energy Costs
With the cold temperatures outside, you won’t have to be concerned about keeping warm and cozy on the inside. You also won’t have to worry about constantly keeping your heat on all the time if the interior air is well-ventilated throughout your home. Proper attic ventilation reduces the workload of your HVAC system, resulting in a lower electricity bill.
Ice Dams Are Prevented
Ice damming forms on your roofing system when the heat from within your attic combines with heat from the sunlight to melt the snow collected on your roof. When the snow turns into water and runs down your roof, it begins to refreeze. When this happens, the water becomes frozen by the time it reaches the edge of your roof and can cause damage to your gutters. A well-ventilated roof prevents this from happening.
No More Uneven Temperatures
If you’ve ever felt that the room upstairs was around 10 degrees warmer than your living room, then that’s because your ventilation system isn’t working effectively. With adequate ventilation, you’ll have a more balanced temperature indoors, making your home more comfortable without having your HVAC work harder.
Ensuring Proper Attic Ventilation
If you’re planning to have your roof renovated, have your hired home improvement contractor inspect your current attic ventilation system. They can determine exactly how many vents are needed for your roofing system as well as a proper vapor barrier if you haven’t installed one yet. We recommend installing one vent for every 300 square feet of roofing if you have a vapor barrier or every 150 feet if you don’t have one. And, depending on your ventilation system, your contractor will also determine whether you need an additional intake or exhaust vent.
Intake vents – These allow cool air to move into your attic. Any of the following will be installed depending on the design of your roofing system:
Gable vents – Which are installed at the roof’s highest point in the gable.
Rafter vents – Which work with under-eave vents to provide unobstructed air flow along the attic’s rafters.
Under-eave vents – Which is a continuous and perforated vent that’s installed under the home’s eaves.
Exhaust vents – These allow warm and moist air to exit through your attic. These consist mainly of the following:
Turbine vents – Which consists of a small fan that sucks warm air out of your attic.
Ridge vents – Which run along your roof’s ridge. You won’t immediately notice them; they’re often covered by the shingles.
You can also make use of mechanical power like attic ventilation fans to draw in cool, outside air and force out warm, moist air. As the exterior air gets drawn in through the attic fan, the warmer interior air is expelled through the roof vent system to keep your attic cooler and drier. This is very effective if you want to prevent ice and moisture issues throughout the winter season. Attic fans require electricity to operate, however, which may become costly to operate at times rather than relying on natural attic ventilation through vents.
AllPoint Construction is a family-owned business that’s committed to each job being completed correctly, on time and within budget. It’s because of this dedication to quality that more and more homeowners in the area trust us to take care of their home improvement needs. So, whether it’s a roofing or a remodeling project, you can trust our team to get the job done so you can be satisfied with the results! Call us today at (734) 526-4955 or by filling out our convenient online contact form.