Many homeowners rarely access their attic, usually, they only go for storage or in search of something. It is very important for the house and also for your health to think about the condition of the attic. The condition of the attic significantly affects the rest of your home and is an essential factor in supporting the roof structure. You’re probably aware that most attics are ventilated. Maybe you’ve seen the attic vents in the eaves, or you’re aware of the ridge vent at the peak of your roof. What you may not know, however, is that most homes don’t have enough attic ventilation and that this lack of adequate ventilation can be raising your energy bills and damaging your home. Proper attic ventilation is a very important part of overall property maintenance.
If your attic isn’t properly ventilated, it can lead to a wide range of issues and this is what we are going to talk about in the rest of this article.
What Does Attic Ventilation Do?
Attic ventilation is a system that creates airflow, designed to decrease the difference in temperature between the air inside of the attic and outside. Effective ventilation offers year-round benefits creating a cooler attic in the summer and a drier attic in the winter. The attic requires a specific type of airflow that needs to be ongoing and high volume.
“Proper ventilation removes excess moisture and heat, which ultimately places less strain on roofing materials and helps extend their lifespans.”
This specific type of air movement is designed to remove hot, humid air from your attic to keep your home cooler and more comfortable without increasing the cost of air conditioning in summer or without causing moisture problems in winter. Hot air rises up from lower levels of your home. If the air can't escape from the attic it can cause extensive damage. Attic ventilation is very important to keep the air flowing through your attic so the air won’t simply sit there. Ventilation essentially provides a passage for the outside air to pass through and out of your attic, removing excess heat and moisture from the air of your attic. Air is taken in areas like your soffits and eaves and is expelled through the ridge vent. This helps for the right air balance in your attic and it plays a very important role in keeping your home comfortable.
How does attic ventilation works
- In cold climates, the primary purpose of attic ventilation is to keep a cold roof temperature to control ice dams created by the snow melting and to vent moisture that is moving from the conditioned space to the attic. In this case, snow melts by heat loss from the conditioned space. The heat loss is usually a combination of air leakage and conductive losses. The air leakage is due to exfiltration from the conditioned space that is usually caused because a ceiling air barrier is not present. The conductive losses are mostly from supply ductwork and equipment located in the attic. Conductive losses also occur where insulation is missing or thin.
- In hot climates, the main purpose of attic ventilation is to expel hot air from the attic to lessen the building cooling load.
What Happens When There Is a Lack of Ventilation?
A lack of ventilation can cause a whole host of problems in and around your home. Depending on the climate that you live in, lack of proper ventilation can have a serious impact on your energy bills and the lifespan of materials in your roof.
- Ice dams: are formed, as mentioned, when the roof is warm enough during the winter to melt the snow on it. The melting snow goes down to the edge of the roof and into the gutters and re-freezes, forming a blockage. Buildup ice prevents water that is trying to escape from the roof from draining, forcing it to pool on the roof. Then, pooling water can easily lead to water damage to the roof as well as other areas of your home, such as ceilings and walls. Proper attic ventilation is a vital part by balancing the internal and external temperatures to prevent ice dams and water damage in the winter.
- Moisture buildup: Condensation happens when humid air is unable to escape from the attic. Moisture buildup in the attic may not be immediately obvious, and it can slowly cause extensive damage over time without you even noticing. An abundance of moisture in the attic is the habitat where mold grows best, and this produces a serious health hazard for you and your family. Certain species of mold can lead to health problems such as allergies, pneumonia, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.
Best options for attic insulation
Blow-in cellulose is the insulation that uses a loose-fill product that is usually applied in an existing wall or in the attic. With an attic, this type of insulation is the most common and one that property owners find more convenient. Loose-fill cellulose insulation is still by far the most practical and cost-effective method when applied to enclosed walls. The product we use is made up of paper fibers and is EcoLogo recognized.
Members of the spray foam industry consider it the most effective application because it effectively seals off and insulates the entire attic space from any air infiltration. An air barrier is created by applying foam directly in between the joists, and on the gable wall ends. The application of spray foam between the floor joists, where cellulose and fiberglass insulation is traditionally used, is a common service. With this method, there is no need to apply insulation to the rest of the attic. The attic, via ridge, soffit, and gable vents, remains highly vented. It is considered as an effective system and it is now a common engineered system used throughout Canada. In general, this is the method that your builder/architect subscribes to because building science and design principles find it effective to use spray foam in the attic. The method requires insulation to be used on the attic floor for insulating the ceiling from the seasonal cold and/or heat in a traditional vented attic setting. The practice of insulating the attic is highly supported by the building industry because design techniques and standard roofing require the attic to be ventilated in order to reduce moisture problems and heat build-up in during the summer months. Having your attic and roof proper ventilated is the first step in keeping your home more comfortable and secure. Call to find out if you have the right amount of ventilation, and what type to service suits your needs, and know that your attic and roof are in good shape.
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If you're looking for professionals who provide quality services, call Ecostar Insulation! We can help you determine what your attic system is missing and recommend a solution to help make your home healthier and more comfortable for you. Ask us for a free quote or give us a call for more information about your attic and home insulation in general.