We’ve talked about the importance of attic ventilation in the past. By removing the hot air that sits up above the insulation in the summer, you help to keep your house cooler and protect your shingles. And by allowing the warm air that makes it up there in the winter to escape, you prevent ice damming and the potential for moisture buildup in the attic.
Why not check out your attic to see just how well your ventilation’s working.
Ventilation relies on a continuous airflow, and that means you need a place for the air to come in. While some of the air will come from the house itself, creating a draw from outside is important. Often this is done with aluminum soffits, which have small holes to allow air in without letting bugs get through. If you have an older home with these soffit vents, you may not be as shipshape as you think. Often, people installed these for cosmetic purposes over top of the old wooden soffits, which usually had no ventilation. So look a little further. If you’re in this situation, in order to get the draw, you need to remove the old soffit boards or drill holes in them.
It should go without saying that you don’t want insulation sitting out over the eaves, blocking the intake, but check it out to make sure.
Balancing the intake and the exhaust is important. If a whole bunch of air’s getting in, but you only have one gable vent, you may not be allowing enough air out. The added pressure only makes for an increased potential for roof problems.
Add ridge vents, gable vents or passive roof vents, or install a wind-driven turbine, which helps increase the draw. You can also increase the circulation beyond passive ventilation by adding an attic fan. A thermostatically controlled power ventilator exhausts the air more quickly. These fans even come in solar-powered versions.
While you’re up there in the attic, check for this ventilation no-no. Some people may have vented the bathroom exhaust fan into the attic, rather than outside through ducts. As you can imagine, warm, moist air pumped into the attic is a recipe for disaster. If you find this flaw, fix it fast!