One of the most important things you can do to keep your home cool in the summer and safe in the winter is to make sure you have proper attic ventilation.
Determining what’s right for you can be a challenge, however. Here are some things every homeowner should know about attic ventilation.
The purpose of attic ventilation is usually to remove hot, stale air and excess moisture from the attic space. To do that, you need intake air vents, outflow air vents and sometimes an attic fan.
In general, you need one square foot of venting for every 300 square feet of attic space, but wet climates could require more ventilation. Local building code requirements may dictate more ventilation as well.
The simplest ventilation is louver-covered holes. Wind-aided ventilation and power-aided vents are also available as well as gable attic fans, rooftop attic fans, wind turbines and even solar-powered attic fans.
Ventilation can be installed in a number of areas of the roof and attic, but you usually want to use only one type of ventilation so the effects don’t counteract themselves. This could include fans or it could mean soffit vents, eave vents, gable vents, continuous ridge vents or even custom site-built venting systems.
In Warmer Climates
In areas where it gets hot in the summer and stays that way, the most important reason for attic ventilation is to get the hot air out of your attic, lessening the amount of work your air conditioning system has to do to keep the house cool.
In addition to proper ventilation, you may want to consider some type of radiant barrier in warmer climates as well. These barriers are usually either foil linings for the underside of the roof or heat-reflecting paint that reduce the amount of radiant heat entering an attic so it doesn’t get as hot in the first place.
A radiant barrier combined with proper ventilation can reduce the strain on air conditioning systems in the summer and therefore reduce your electric bill.
In Colder Climates
In colder climates, attic ventilation is just as important in the winter as in the summer. If heat in the attic causes snow on the roof to melt in the daytime and then freeze later, packed ice can form under a snow layer and compromise the integrity of the roof. This could cause damage to the roofing material or even a roof collapse.
A well-ventilated attic stays cool throughout the day and night so that snow doesn’t melt against the roof. This allows the snow to melt from the top in the sunlight, a safer alternative that’s less likely to cause any damage.
If There’s an Attic, There Should Be Ventilation
Your home’s previous owner could have covered attic vents with insulations or they could have become blocked or otherwise non-functional, allowing heat to build up in your attic. It’s even possible the home was built without ventilation.
A yearly check of your attic’s ventilation is a simple and quickest way to make sure your overhead crawl space is staying the right temperature year-round.
If your home has an attic, it needs to be properly ventilated. The comfort and safety of your home and your family requires that you give you attic ventilation needs some thought every year.