The Importance of Efficient
The Risks of an Improperly Ventilated Attic
The many homes in North America do not have proper attic ventilation systems. Why? Because most people are unaware that attic ventilation can impact the longevity of their entire roofing system and many other elements.
During summer, poor attic ventilation can lead to temperatures in your attic in excess of 150°F. This super-heated air eventually penetrates the ceiling insulation into the living area below causing your living space to be uncomfortable and causing your air conditioning to run excessively costing you hundreds of dollars in energy costs. High heat in the attic can also cause damage to your roof and wood structure including:
Types of damage that can result include:
Premature aging of your roofing system (“fried” shingles)
Warping, cracking, or breaking down of wood framing
Damage to siding, exterior or interior paint, and wallpaper
A properly ventilated attic can help reduce the load on your air conditioner by moving the super-heated air out of your attic before it builds up and causes damage.
In the winter, various household appliances, bathtubs, showers, and cooking vapors can contribute to excess moisture build-up. Improperly ventilated attics will allow this moisture to collect and cling to the underside of the roof. The moisture will condense and fall, soaking the attic insulation and reducing its efficiency. Moisture in an attic can also cause harmful mold to grow on the insulation and underside of the roof deck. This mold is harmful to your health and is very expensive to remediate.
Additional structural damage can include from moisture can include:
Roof deck warping and rotting of the wood frame
Rusting of the roofing fasteners on the underside of the roof deck which can lead to shingle blow-offs
Buckling of shingles and felt
Finally, attic ventilation systems help prevent ice dams. During the winter, ice and snow on a roof will melt and run down the deck to the cooler eaves. This run-off can re-freeze, creating an ice dam that may force water back up under the shingles and leak into your home — causing as much as hundreds or thousands of dollars of damage to your ceilings and walls. To add insult to injury these repairs may not be covered on your insurance policy. Adequate attic ventilation reduces the amount of initial melting that occurs on your roof, thereby reducing the chance that ice dams will form and in the long run saving you a great deal of headaches and costly repairs. Don’t underestimate the importance of proper attic ventilation.