Attic Ventilation: An Important Factor Throughout the Year
An attic can become both an energy liability and a source of diminished household comfort. What happens up in the attic has a direct impact on utility expenses and comfort in the living spaces. Homes built before energy costs spiraled often have insufficient attic ventilation. Passive venting that relies on the natural airflow into soffits and up and out of roof vents may not provide sufficient circulation to lower attic temperatures and exhaust moisture.
Here’s why proper attic ventilation is important in both summer and winter:
- During the hottest months, attic temperatures can soar to over 150 degrees. This concentrated heat energy conducts through the ceiling and raises temperatures in the rooms below. Your air conditioner runs extended cycles to meet thermostat settings and utility costs soar. In addition, excessive attic heat can damage wooden structural components and, where ductwork is routed through the attic, acute temperatures may cause thermal loss from ducts.
- In winter, your attic can become a humidity reservoir. Moist air entering through vents as well as humidity rising up from living spaces accumulates. As moisture condenses, insulation is soaked, reducing its capacity to resist heat transfer. Condensation also saturates wood framing, encouraging rot. Insufficient air circulation in the attic can heat the roof unevenly, melting snow at the peak while forming ice dams near the gutters. These cause standing water to back up on the roof, penetrating shingles and even leaking into rooms.
Passive attic ventilation can be augmented by enlarging vent openings or by increasing the upward flow of circulation. Turbine vents mounted on the roof peak and driven by wind remove more air and lower heat and humidity. For even greater air exchange, a solar-powered electric vent fan installed on the roof can lower attic temperatures to 100 degrees or less during summer and, when actuated by a humidistat, keep humidity low all winter.
Sobieski Services offers attic ventilation technology for optimum energy savings and comfort. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).