An attic is not something homeowners think about every day, but it is integral and plays a critical role in the day-to-day life of your house. It helps support the roof and regulates the temperatures of the house throughout the seasons. Attics allow for the continuous free flow of air through the intake vents or the soffits on the bottom of the roof and the flow of air out of the attic through the exhaust vents situated high up at either the roof ridge or the roof peak.
Science dictates that hot air rises, but in poorly ventilated attics, the hot air migrates. During the summer, the sun heats the roof that heats the air inside the attic. The hot air is pushed down into the living space. This means that the homeowners have to crank up their air conditioning, and their HVAC systems will have to overcompensate to cool off the house. During the winter, the warm air from inside the house is pushed up into the attic, causing moisture buildup and a host of other problems.
Attic ventilation is critical in every home, and it plays a vital role in extending the life span of your roof system. It reduces the cost of home repairs in the future and positively affects your cooling and heating bills. The right amount of attic ventilation creates the proper air balance, ultimately affecting your family’s well-being and comfort. The following provides a closer look at the importance of attic ventilation.
Reducing Heat and Humidity During the Summer
When properly ventilated, an attic supports the proper flow of fresh air into the home. In addition to helping with air quality, attic ventilation keeps temperatures well-regulated. During the summer, hot air escapes through the attic, making it easier for your AC to keep your home cool. It’s also easier to control humidity levels in your home if your attic is properly ventilated.
In addition to making your home more comfortable, temperature and humidity control helps protect your home’s structures. Excessive heat and humidity trapped inside an attic can lead to damage to your ceiling, wallpaper, paint, and siding. Ensuring that your attic is well-ventilated can save you money on home repair and maintenance costs.
Preventing Water Damage and the Formation of Ice Dams During the Winter
During the winter, humidity generated by your stove, clothes dryer, showers, and living areas finds its way into the attic. Here, it meets cool attic air and other cold surfaces and condenses. After condensation forms, drops of water can make their way into your insulation. Condensation in the attic also encourages the growth of mold and mildew on your insulation and other housing materials. This can negatively affect the health of those living in your house.
During winter, especially in areas where the temperatures go below the freezing point, warm air from the living area rises into the attic and warms the underside of the roof deck. As the deck warms, the bottom sheet of snow in contact with the roof’s top side begins to melt. Water trickles down the roof, and once it touches the colder side of the roof along the eaves, it freezes back to ice.
With time, this ice formation creates an ice dam that blocks the escape of further water runoff. Once this melting water cannot run off, it seeps back into the shingles and roof underlayment. In severe situations, this water can even get through the roof structure and into the attic. Once in the attic, the water saturates the floor and insulation, destroys the drywall, and can seep through and destroy the interior walls. Proper attic ventilation is crucial because it prevents condensation altogether, making it impossible for ice dams to form.
Reducing Cooling Costs During Summers
A poorly ventilated attic increases the amount of energy required to cool your home. During summers, a hot attic causes temperatures in the living spaces to increase. When the temperature goes up, you have to boost your AC to reach your desired temperature. By ensuring that air is flowing properly through your attic, hot air can escape, and it’s easier to keep your home cool.
Preventing Warping of Walls and Wooden Materials
During the summer, heat transferred from a hot attic does more than hike your cooling costs. The stress caused by the excess heat can warp wood framing, door frames, and wood paneling. Even wooden furniture can be warped by excessive heat and humidity in a home.
Lengthening the Life Span of Your Roof
Overheating of your attic due to poor ventilation can shorten the life span of your roof. If you are like most homeowners in the United States, you have asphalt shingles covering your roofing system. These shingles are susceptible to heat damage, but they will typically last around 20-25 years, even in hot environments. However, your attic plays a big role in the life span of your roof.
If the attic space is constantly overheated due to poor ventilation, it will make your shingles deteriorate much quicker than they would if the space was properly ventilated. Once shingles begin to lift and peel, roofing materials underneath them are exposed to the elements. Over time, this can lead to severe damage and require a total roof replacement, which is much more expensive than investing in ensuring that you have proper ventilation in the attic.
Signs That Your Attic Is Poorly Ventilated
As we have already seen, proper attic ventilation is critical. That’s why it’s important to know the signs of a poorly ventilated attic and the warning signs of a deteriorating roof. They include:
- Elevated heating and cooling bills
- Ice dams building up along the roof edges
- Rust and corrosion of metal materials in the attic
- Frost, dampness, and water stains in the attic
- Rippled or wavy shingles and roof line
Get Your Attic Properly Ventilated
A well-ventilated attic behaves like opening two windows on the opposite side of the room and allowing the free flow of air. If you close both windows, the room becomes warm and unbearable. When you open only one window and leave the other closed, air can come in, but it cannot go back out, disrupting proper ventilation.
The goal of having a properly ventilated house is to have a uniform or a balanced flow of air in and out of the attic all yearlong. Unbalanced airflow causes hot spots that negate the benefits of a sound ventilation system. A properly ventilated attic is the first step in keeping your home secure and comfortable.
If you live in Illinois, Florida, Texas, or Wisconsin and need to know more about attic ventilation, Pur360 is your go-to company. Our team is headquartered in Chicago, and we offer a range of home services, including those related to attic ventilation and insulation. Our team of specialists will advise you on the amount of attic ventilation that your house requires. Our other services include odor removal, mold testing, and painting and drywall work. To learn more about how we can help improve your home, contact us today.