The Dangers of a Poorly Ventilated Attic
Depending on the climate you live in, it is important that your attic is properly ventilated. A poorly ventilated attic disrupts the flow of air from the lower portion of the attic through the upper portion of the attic.
In addition to badly regulated temperatures in the attic, the following are the dangers when an attic is not properly ventilated.
High Energy Costs
In summer, proper attic ventilation keeps the space cool. Thus, your air conditioning system will work twice as hard to cool the house.
However, keep in mind that having too much ventilation without properly sealing and insulating the attic is still wasteful. You should make sure that your attic is airtight. This keeps the ventilation from pulling out your cool conditioned air instead of the hot and humid air from the attic.
During winter, your heating system will also work harder to heat up your home.
Vulnerable structure and materials
Summer and winter air can build up in the attic, which puts stress on the roof. Major structural issues, due to mildew or warping from moisture, can also arise.
When the heat rises into the attic during the winter, snow will melt and refreeze as ice, leading to leaks and more damage.
Lack of proper ventilation can also cause a musty smell in the attic and an asphalt shingle.
Microbial growth in attic joists
Poor ventilation of the attic space can also make the underside of the roof sheathing prone to mold growth.
Warm moist air from the house could leak into the attic space and produce condensation of water vapor on cold attic surfaces, especially the roof rafters or trusses and roof sheathing. With resultant roof damage and water leaks, ice damming can also happen.
As much as possible, you should avoid mold growth on the underside of attic sheathing because it is one of the most difficult areas to clean—usually due to poor access, tight quarters, the presence of roofing nails, extreme temperatures, and lack of flooring.
Pests, especially insects and rodents, like dark, damp, and warm spaces. Those spaces are perfect spots set up a nest during winter. Silverfish, earwigs, and termites are the most common pests to infest those places.
From droppings or body waste to damage in the insulation and structure of your home, these pests are hazardous to health and can be a nuisance.
You’re preventing that kind of atmosphere from forming when you properly ventilate your attic.
Attic Space Ventilation Options
Do these problems sound familiar? Now that you know the dangers of a poorly ventilated attic, it’s time to explore some ventilation options available.
However, before that, it is vital that you are aware of how much ventilation is needed for your attic. You need one square foot of ventilation for every 300 cubic feet of airspace in your attic. To ensure that the airflow is good, you need to have a 1:1 ratio of intake and exhaust vents.
Poorly placed intake vents lead to an attic that is not insulated properly. Sometimes it is better to have too much intake ventilation than too little.
Before a roofer installs your roof vents, they will determine what type of vents your home needs and how many you require.
Intake vents will vary depending on the needs and architecture of your house, the geography and weather patterns in your region, and the structure of your roof.
Exhaust vents are equally important from intake vents because they allow hot air to escape, thus, cooling down the attic space.
Most roofers will ventilate an attic by taking advantage of buoyancy, or warm and moist air’s tendency to rise, especially when it is pushed by cold air beneath it. They will install intake roof vents for houses lower to the roof or closer to the eaves while placing exhaust vents higher or near the peak. They practice this to let the cold air push the hot air out more easily.
The right balance of intake and exhaust ventilation can help optimize the life of your roofing system, as well as your home’s energy efficiency.
These useful tips came from Masterpiece Roofing & Painting, a roofer serving Denver, Colorado. They offer all types of roofing and painting services. The company has been featured as best roofer several times on Denver Channel 2’s TV program, Colorado’s Best.