For decades, residential and commercial buildings worked to optimize the energy efficiency and insulation in buildings without ever considering it could be bad.
Indoor air quality was overlooked, with attic ventilation only added for practical reasons. It turns out that proper ventilation is essential for health and wellness as well as to ensure the longevity and integrity of buildings.
Here are 4 common myths that are told about attic and roof ventilation.
1. “I’m Losing Warm Air Through My Attic Vents”
While it’s true that heat rises, you shouldn’t blame general laws of thermodynamics on roof vents. If you’re losing heated air during the winter through your roof, you’ve got to boil it down to the real culprit. Having roof vents isn’t the reason you’ve got high heating bills.
How well insulated in your attic or upstairs space? If you have windows, direct sunlight could help to warm your attic space and allow you to retain heat better. If you make the effort to insulate that sunny upstairs space, you’ll keep the warm air in your home.
Your attic doesn’t need to be heated by your furnace. If you’ve got it insulated and are allowing sunlight in, it will stay warm on its own.
One reason to ensure your attic is well insulated is to keep out humid or moisture-laden air. That air could get into your roof, form condensation, and lead your insulation or even wood to deteriorate.
To be sure that you don’t have air leaking out, measure the temperature in your attic at night. It should be similar to the temperature outside.
2. “I Read That They’re Not Effective Online”
The internet gives us exceptional access to research that’s done around the world. There are lots of studies online that assess the effectiveness of roof ventilation and different types of roof vents. However, these laboratory or even real-world regional tests aren’t always applicable.
The regional differences between homes in the Massachusetts Bay area and the effectiveness of rooftop ventilation will be different if you measure in Phoenix. Heat, humidity, and precipitation differences mean that different roof ventilation tactics are needed in different regions.
Roof ventilation is both an art and a science, because of regional, landscaping, or even structural differences. Installing your own roof vents can be like treating your own illness based on something you saw online. Without a trusted and experienced specialist to look at your roof, you could be taking a shot in the dark.
Get some feedback from a roofing professional before you make any decisions about what the ideal set up is for your home.
3. “More Ventilation is Better”
This is a broad generalization that takes into account none of what makes your home and your region unique. When you’re first configuring your furnace or air conditioning, you need to ensure you have the right amount of ventilation. Otherwise, you could be allowing too much moisture during the winter or poor energy efficiency during the summer.
Your roof vents give your roof a point of penetration that could make it vulnerable to leakage. They’re a necessary part of your roof, but if you aren’t careful about how much ventilation you allow, you could end up leaving your home vulnerable.
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you could experience blowouts. In regions with wildfires, stray sparks could fly into your vents and set your house ablaze. While these might seem like extreme cases, as climate change upsets the condition of the environment around us, we need to consider extreme cases.
The best way to know how much attic ventilation to have is to speak to an attic ventilation specialist. If you talk to a professional, they can help you get that ration of about one vent per every 300 square feet. They can also help you to determine the best options to keep your attic pest and moisture free while giving you those necessary levels of true ventilation.
4. “Attic Ventilation is For Warmer Climates”
Energy efficiency can be improved with the right ventilation. This is a concept that, while true, is overemphasized in conversations about roof ventilation.
Other factors that could help determine how cool your attic is are your shingle color, the amount of sun exposure you get, and your insulation. There is a cocktail of complex intricacies that compose an energy efficient roof and attic. Installing attic vents can let out some hot air in the summer, but they aren’t always the most low-risk and cost-effective solutions for the job.
Attic ventilation is vital for year-round indoor air quality. Without ventilation, odors, stale air, and allergens will settle in your home with nowhere to go. In colder climates, you need natural airflow to complement your heated air.
Without new air to circulate with your furnace, you could end up with dry, stale air that leads to respiratory irritation.
The colder your climate is, the more your home could benefit from attic ventilation. The biggest challenge is to ensure that it’s well insulated so that you don’t deal with unnecessary condensation. Keep condensation from your roof sheathing by creating a thermal barrier along the line of your roof.
Attic Ventilation Is Good For Quality of Life
To ensure that your building is a comfortable and safe place for your family or your residents, you need to take attic ventilation seriously.
Ventilation can provide better quality air without doing any harm to the overall energy efficiency of your home. By speaking with a roof and attic ventilation professional, you’ll maintain clean, breathable air while controlling pests, moisture, and heated or cooled air.
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