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Why Proper Attic Ventilation Solutions Could Make a Huge Difference

By Teri Dormer


When you go from renting to owning your own home, there are plenty of changes you may not have been expecting.

Suddenly you’re in charge of maintaining your own lawn and fixing the appliances yourself without a landlord or maintenance team at your beck and call. 

The learning curve as a homeowner can extend all the way up into your attic. Whether you realize it or not, proper attic ventilation is hugely important to maintaining the integrity of your roof and the amount of money you spend on your energy bill.

So what are the best roof ventilation methods, how do they work, and what are your options? Let’s take a look!  

How Does Attic Ventilation Work?

A properly functioning attic ventilation system works to help regulate the temperature throughout your home. As warm air naturally rises, the best attic ventilation takes advantage of two distinct vent types in your roof: intake vents and hot air exhaust vents.

  • Intake vents: Found at the lowest level of your roof, under the eaves, control the flow of cool air into your home. 
  • Hot air exhaust vents: Found at the highest level of your roof, control the flow of hot air out of your home. 

Together, these vents work in a synchronization referred to as passive ventilation, typically the most common way to vent an attic.

Depending on the way your home and roof have been constructed, you may be more familiar with mechanical or powered roof ventilation, which utilizes a power source to push air between vents. 

Roof ventilation isn’t just important in the summer, when you might be especially keen on pushing warm air out of your home and trapping cool air below. During the winter months, warm air trapped in your attic can work to melt snow settled on the roof, which then freezes again in the evening as temperatures fall.

Improving Your Roof Ventilation  

There are a variety of reasons why the best attic ventilation solutions matter in your home.

In addition to regulating the temperature across different seasons, ensuring you’ve maximized your roof ventilation can help to extend the life of your roof and keep your energy costs low when you might otherwise be running the air conditioning constantly. 

So how can you tell if your attic is ventilating properly? There are a few key indicators: 

  1. During the winter months, ice build-up on the eaves of your roof is traditionally a sign of faulty attic ventilation. This indicates warm air is being trapped in the attic, melting snow that then freezes into ice dams.
  2. In the winter, you can also look for moisture build-up on your rafters or roof sheathing. If you find frost or moisture in your attic while it’s cold outside, you likely don’t have the right number of vents to ventilate air properly.
  3. In the summer, a warm roof is a key indicator that your attic isn’t being ventilated properly. Not only is this bad for your roof, but it can cost you a fortune in energy bills.

Your Roof Ventilation Options 

If you discover that your roof ventilation may not be doing its job properly, your best bet is often to call in a professional to assess the situation.

While it’s often recommended to have one attic vent for every 300 square feet of attic flooring, the exact number of vents you need for proper attic ventilation solutions depends on the build of both your roof and home. 

Rafter vents, insulation baffles, or ridge vents may all offer solutions to help improve the ventilation in your attic, but you might need a professional to help differentiate them.

After all, paying for better ventilation in your attic will always be cheaper than having to install a new roof because something went wrong!

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