Attics are commonly used for storage of old clothes and luggage. But, the area above your living space is a big factor in the condition of your home. Over the past few decades people have begun to realize how important attic insulation is to room temperatures. Ventilation is needed as well, according to experts, as it also protects the area from moisture damage.
When deciding on the most effective attic ventilation system for your home, there are a few things you’ll need to know. First, climb up into the attic and assess your current situation. If you feel like you just stepped into a sauna, chances are you’ve got poor ventilation. Also check for signs of moisture, like mold, mildew, rust, damp insulation or rotted wood. Then, look for vents already in place in areas like ridges, gables, soffits and eaves.
To find out how much ventilation you will need, make an estimation of your attic’s square footage. Manufacturers suggest adding 20% more square footage to your calculation if your roof pitch is between 7/12 and 10/12. Add 30% if it’s steeper than that. With a figure established, plan to install one square foot of ventilation for every 150 square feet of space you have in your attic.
The options used for attic ventilation vary, but each one is useful and provides good air flow. Generally, one solution will not solve all problems. In order to have a balanced ventilation system you’ll want to have 50 percent of the ventilating area dedicated to exhaust vents in the upper portion of the attic and the other 50 percent to intake vents. Carefully comparing all the options before installing is highly recommended.
Along the peak of your roof is where the ridge vent goes. It is a ventilation strip. Cut a one inch wide strip of roof deck on both sides of the ridge line before installing the ridge vent. This should be done by a professional. Ridge vents, when installed properly, will help the hot air that has risen to escape while preventing rainwater from getting in.
The gable end of the home is where this particular vent is installed. The vent lets air flow out of the upper portion of your attic, but it blocks moisture so that rain and snow will not be an issue.
The soffit, or eave, is the surface area under your roof’s overhang, and it’s the perfect location to pull in cool air. With optimal air flow (intake and exhaust) you will be able to reduce heat and moisture buildup, prevent ice dams, reduce energy costs, and extend the life of your roof.
Fans installed in addition to ventilation can help homes handle this task of moving air. These fans are typically controlled by using the thermostat. When the device detects heat in the attic, it automatically exhausts the attic space. If a home is located in an area that gets good sunlight, a solar device can be used.
Depending on how your house was designed, other options may be available. These options consists of dormers and mushroom vents.
This article was written by Sara Thompson in collaboration with Pacific West Roofing, LLC [http://www.pacificwestroofing.com]. The experts at Pacific West Roofing have been serving satisfied customers in the Portland area since 1980. Sara has a B.A. in journalism and has published hundreds of articles relating to home improvement.