Poor Attic Ventilation Can Ruin Your Insulation, Destroy Your Shingles, And Potentially Raise Your Energy Bills!
Proper attic ventilation systems allow a continual flow of outside air through the attic, protecting the efficiency of the insulation and helping to lower temperatures in the living space.
It consists of a balance between air intake (at your eaves or soffits) and air exhaust (at or near your roof ridge). The goal is to keep the air in your attic as close possible to the temperature and moisture content as the air outside.
The U.S. FHA (Federal Housing Administration) recommends a minimum of at least 1 square foot of attic ventilation (both intake and exhaust) for every 300 square feet of attic space. For example, if your attic is 900 square feet, you need a total of 3 square feet of ventilation. This amount should be divided equally between intake and exhaust ventilation (i.e., 1 1/2 feet of each) to insure proper air flow through the attic. To calculate the amount of ventilation you need for your home, visit GAF’s Ventilation Calculator.
Why Take Risks?
Many homes in North America do not have proper attic ventilation. Why? Because most people are unaware that attic ventilation can impact the longevity of their entire home.
In the summer, improper ventilation can cause attic heat to build in excess of 160°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, attics should be properly ventilated to help prevent ice dams in cold northern climates. 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.
For all your ventilation needs, contact us!
1-800-RITE-ROOF also offers professional services for residential roofing, commercial roofing, roof repair, roofing maintenance, and guarantee roofing warranty, as well as services for storm damage repair, storm damage prevention, insulation and gutters.
Since 1996, we have been serving Milwaukee, Waukesha, Brookfield, New Berlin, Franklin, Racine, Shorewood, Greenfield, Grafton, Pewaukee, Oconomowoc, West Allis ,and the surrounding communities in southeastern Wisconsin.