Few things are more misunderstood about the home than attic ventilation. In essence, all ventilation is about circulating air to keep it fresh and to reduce moisture levels. The American Institute of Architects estimates that 90% of homes in the U.S. have unacceptably high levels of moisture. Understanding whether your home could benefit from some form of attic ventilation might just be, if not a life-saver, a roof-saver.
Attic Ventilation Myths
More Attic Ventilation is Good
Just like properly sizing your furnace and air conditioning unit, you want precisely the right amount of attic ventilation for your home. Insufficient ventilation can lead to moisture problems during the winter and decreased energy efficiency during the summer, but too much ventilation can be just as bad, if not worse. Roof vents create an additional roof penetration-essentially another place of vulnerability where leaks can occur. Some vents are necessary, but you don't want to needlessly increase the number of roof penetrations.
Less Attic Ventilation is Bad
Many people think that if the attic is sealed tightly from outside air, this would create the most energy-efficient attic. However, exactly the opposite is true. In order to meet building codes and to ensure that you have an energy-saving attic, proper air flow between the rafters is essential. Our team uses peak vents and gable vents to pull air through the attic roofline and soffits, which results in proper breathing for your home.
Roof Vents are for Warmer Climates
Too many people believe the importance of roof ventilation is to increase energy efficiency during the summer. Good roof ventilation can do this, but shingle color, sun exposure, and insulation are more important to overall energy efficiency than ventilation. Installing roof vents for older homes can reduce your energy bills and prevent the overuse of your HVAC system which can lower it's useful life.
Energy Efficient Money-Saving Ideas
Open the Soffits
Soffits are installed under the eaves of the house and let cool air into the attic. The force of air into the attic allows the hot air in the attic to be drawn out by attic vents (i.e. power vents, solar vents, attic fans ridge vents,) therefore you have consistent air circulation in the attic. consider our naturally turbocharged-effect of this process for the coolest attic in town!, no electricity needed! naturally, just call for details on our "chimney effect" installation.
Install Radiant Barrier Insulation
This creates natural convection pulling air out of the attic via the ridge vents and solar fans, which in turn brings in fresh air from the outside through the soffits. This continuous movement of air requires no moving parts or energy. During the hot summer months, proper ventilation prevents heat build-up in the attic and the living space below. This reduces the stress on air conditioners and helps cool your shingles, making your roof last longer. Cost is between $2.00-$3.00 per square foot.
Install Solar Attic Vents
Solar powered vents forcefully draw heat out of the attic, providing powerful ventilation. They help to draw out hot air in the summer and moisture in the winter. Roofers can install install two models of Solar airing Fans; a most popular fan is the Air Pro-1750. It offers the best performance of any attic fan on the market. It is perfect for most residential roofs and slopes. It has a 25 watt solar panel and provides 1750CFM (cubic feet of air moved per minute). It can lower your attic temperature by up to 40 degrees and has a 30 yr. manufacturer's warranty. They also install a smaller model 1000 CFM solar Fan. We can foil wrap around these fans to help them do their job better with our R15.79 value radiant barrier that works in winter also. Solar Vents are popular and are an in-demand attic ventilation product. Solar fans are very helpful in drawing hot air out of the attic in the summer months and moisture out of the attic in winter months. Solar vents are so popular here because they run on sun light, unlike the power vents which run on electricity and increase your energy bill. They keep the attic cool in the summer and dry in the winter. Proper ventilation enhances the performance of your insulation, extends the life of your HVAC unit and saves you even more money on energy bills.
Benefits of solar powered vents:
- Free to Operate-Runs on sunlight
- Operate without fuel, waste, or pollution
- Wind, hail, and impact resistant
- Works year round removing heat and excess moisture
- Maximizes indoor Air Quality
- Preserve the structure of your home
- Extends the life of your HVAC unit
- Can lower attic temperature by 40 degrees
- By installing a solar ventilation fan you are reducing your energy usage, cooling your home and saving money!
Install Power Attic Vents
While the most popular choice for most of our customers are Solar Vents, we do offer power vents as well. Power vents are attic fans that are installed on the roof to help draw hot air out of the attic and further cool your house on hot days. Power vents have built in thermostats that automatically turn the fan on when the temperature gets too high. A licensed electrician can install these for you.
During the winter months, it is important to remove and recycle the warm, moist air generated by laundry chutes, bathroom vents, dryer ductwork, kitchen vents and more. If your current system is not working or is not properly installed, it can cause the air to stop, potentially trapping poor quality air in the attic and causing extensive damage to the roof and insulation over time.
Proper attic ventilation contributes to the performance of attic insulation, spray foam insulation or radiant barrier foil. The reverse can be said about our radiant barrier foil installations on venting. The creation of a proper "chimney effect" provides correct venting from the soffits to the roof ridge or peak vents.
The results of the above mentioned ideas and suggestions are added comfort throughout all seasons, reduced energy consumption throughout the year, and the prevention of roof damage to your home.
How much ventilation should you have? Generally speaking, you need a ratio of 1:300, where for every 300 square feet of ceiling space, You need 1 square foot of attic ventilation. That said, air resistance and interference, such as vent grates, reduces the area of true ventilation. In other words, the entire vent opening doesn't count as vented space.
Doctor Energy Smart® would be happy to provide a personalized report covering your current ventilation as well as suggestions for improvement. Our recommendations are based on nationally recognized facts and reports. For further discussion or to arrange an appointment, please call Doctor Energy Smart® at (866) 788-3818.
5 thoughts on “Attic Ventilation Tips & Suggestions”
Hi Andre-The unfair practice of fiberglass R-Value testing "in a vacuum chamber" led me to look at products that does not allow air-infiltration to occur because controlling mother nature's entrance into the home especially during cold winter months( you certainly know what I mean) needed to be addressed on my jobs. We use a radiant barrier product in two areas of attics with the highest R-Value currently available. The roofline area is installed to the inner faces of the roof rafters from the soffits to the exit venting (peak, ridge, or gable side wall opening heights to contain the cooler air up up and away. This chimney effect allows a turbo-charged version that the original insulation contractors meant when installing those baffles which can only collect up 2 inches of the soffits 6-8 + inches of source air! The change of temperature in the attic is monumental and maintains the outside temperatures to a much better temperature all year round because mother nature's input is not so easily gathering in the general attic area.The R-16 foil we use has an aero-gel filling which is the highest form of R-Value. The lower side of the foil near soffits needs to be curled under the batt material on the attic floors cold cannot enter along the floor. This product is a full vapor barrier and air cannot move past it. There is a perforated (same company) foil that we use on attic floors over a batt material(no fiberglass) we like Roxul or anything else not glass which is actually a conductor. Think about me handing you a dinner glass filled with steamy hot water! what do you feel? Glass is glass. Anyway, adding this perforated barrier to the floor adds to the R-Value in a much more tolerable general attic space. The perforations are little circular flaps that are normally closed but open when a positive air force occurs underneath allowing vapors from the home to escape. We do not want to create a vapor lock in the living spaces below. This product is easy to install, has a much higher R-value than foam board (open cell) products, and easily fits through attic entrances-Its cost is 1/3 installed usually of spray foam insulation- our client's rave about it and we are Angie's List top5% Super Service Award winners multiple years now- Google Reviews Say it all- Google Reviews#1 Attic Insulation
Thank you for inquiring- if there is something I missed that you need let me know- I do not give out my product source to local insulators, but we will not likely compete of any future jobs based on our locations- LOL I would not be against giving it up to you through email! Thanks Again- JOHN
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