Attic Ventilation Is Important in Summer & Winter
You may have heard that it is important that your attic or crawlspace is well-ventilated. But why? Attic ventilation allows the flow of fresh air throughout the attic. This is important in both the summer and the winter and is crucial to maintaining the good condition of your roof. In the summer, attics and roofs can superheat, causing the roofing materials to degrade more quickly, leading to repair problems and premature roof replacements. This can also cause your HVAC system to work harder, costing you even more money.
In the winter, when your home tends to be warmer, attic ventilation reduces the attic's temperature, reducing the likelihood that ice will build up on the roof. Though we don't have the same problems with snow and ice here in Arizona as they do in other areas, keeping your roof at a more stable temperature can help preserve the integrity of roofing materials. They can also ensure that you don't have serious issues when we do get a cold snap.
Attic Ventilation & Moisture Problems
Another important function that attic ventilation serves is to keep excess moisture from building up in your attic or crawlspace. With the fresh flow of air, your attic is kept dry, and the overall humidity of the space is reduced. Proper attic ventilation will also help prevent condensation buildup. This is crucial to stopping mold and mildew growth in your attic and roof structure, both of which can damage roofing materials and your attic insulation, not to mention create a serious health hazard.
How Does Attic Venting Work?
To ensure an attic is properly vented, it should feature an intake vent and an exhaust vent. The intake vent is usually placed beneath your eaves, while your hot air exhaust vent is placed at the roof's highest point (peak). Because heat rises, the hot air moves up and escapes through the exhaust vent while cooler air from outside is pulled in to take its place via the intake vent. This is what is called passive venting, and provided vents are clear and placed correctly, occurs naturally.
Generally speaking, homes will have more than one intake vent or a large soffit vent that runs along under the eaves. Similarly, most houses will have several exhaust vents or a single ridge vent that runs the length of the roof along its ridge.
Boosting Your Roof's Ventilation with a Solar Attic Fan
While passive venting does a lot to keep your roof at a reasonable, stable temperature, it is not always enough. In climates like Arizona, where we see excessive heat, your roof may need additional help. This help can come in the form of a solar attic fan. These fans, powered by the sun, actively push the hot air out of your attic or crawlspace, encouraging more cool air to make its way into the attic.
Solar attic fans can often be set to turn on automatically when the attic reaches a certain temperature and then turn off once the temperature drops back down. And, because solar attic fans are powered by the sun (something we have an abundance of in Arizona), you will not see an increase in your utility costs.
To learn more about the benefits of solar attic fans, review our blog, "Can a Solar Attic Fan Save Me Money?"
How To Know If Your Attic Is Well-Ventilated
While you may know that your attic needs to be well-ventilated, how do you know that your current venting is enough? There are a few things you can check for. First of all, you should be able to find your intake and exhaust vents. While most homes already have these installed, if for some reason your home does not, you need to have some added. Additionally, your attic vents should be open and clear – if you notice that they are closed, or that leaves and debris are blocking them, you should clear and open them so that air can flow freely.
You can also install a thermometer in your attic and check it periodically. If your attic space is getting superheated, this is a sign that there is not adequate ventilation. Similarly, if your attic is excessively humid, there is a buildup of condensation, or you notice a musty smell, it may not have enough venting.
If you have issues with your attic venting or want more information on installing a solar attic fan, reach out to the professional roofers at Lyons Roofing, Inc. We are always here to help.