When most think of their attic, they probably think of a convenient space where they can store unused items – things that would otherwise take up unwanted space in the living area of their home. While everyone understands the need for insulation to retain heat within the home, many are not aware of the need for attic ventilation.
Ventilation is need to circulate airflow throughout the house and ultimately the attic.
There are many reasons why ventilating your attic is important. For one, “ice damming” can occur. This means that ice melts off an overheated or non-ventilated attic and then refreezes in the gutters. This creates an ice dam which can cause significant damage to the roof.
Another reason to ventilate your attic is that your shingle warranty can become void or significantly reduced without proper ventilation. Some shingle manufacturers require proper ventilation in order to have advantage of the full warranty.
In the winter, your attic also needs proper ventilation so that moisture, mold and mildew don’t build up (because hot air rises to the attic from the rest of the home), indoor air quality doesn’t deteriorate, wood doesn’t rot and insulation doesn’t lose its “R-value” (thermal resistance).
Allowing natural air to move throughout the attic via ventilation prevents these issues and allows moisture and heated air out of the home.
Best Ways to Ventilate the Attic
So now that you know the importance of having a ventilated attic, you may be unsure of the best, most cost efficient way of doing so.
First, make sure there are a sufficient number of vents, depending on the size and shape of your attic. Ideally, the vents should be spread throughout the free space in the attic and high up.
Second, there are several types of exhaust vents (wind turbines, ridge vents, roof mount fans, roof louvres) that can be implemented – experts suggest combining two or more of these. However, having an improper number and/or type of vents may actually be worse than not having any ventilation at all, so it is important to have a plan in place or hiring a professional before beginning the ventilation process.
Keep in mind that ventilating your attic can only do so much and that it is important to keep a close eye on moisture and heat issues that may be radiating from your home.
If you have moisture issues in the summer, installing a dehumidifier to pull moisture from the air may help to keep your home and attic a safer and healthier place to live. The dehumidifier prevents the expansion and contraction issues within the wood and even growth of dangerous mold. Likewise, weather stripping the windows, doors, and attic entrance in your home can also help to keep temperatures stable – and keep your utility bill lower!
If you are still unsure where to begin, contact a certified professional. And if you have a damaged roof due to improper attic ventilation, give us a call at 604-371-2505. We are happy to serve those in the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Lower Mainland area.