Save Money and Energy Through Attic Ventilation

There are four main reasons attic ventilation is important and can save you money:

  1. The first is energy savings. During warm summers, your attic could actually be heating your house, resulting in high, unnecessary energy costs coming out of your pocket. Proper attic ventilation gives that heat somewhere to go, resulting in a naturally cooler home.
  2. The second reason to pay attention to your attic ventilation is the effect poor ventilation has on your roof’s performance. Under vented attics get very hot in most summer climates and can bake the shingle from the inside out.
  3. The third reason for installing the correct number and placement of vents is so moisture does not get sucked in through some of the vents. Moisture can actually get caught in the attic that can results in damage to your ceiling and roof structure.
  4. The fourth reason is to reduce the probability of moisture build up in the attic from condensation.

The other day, I was inspecting a roof that had reported a leak. While looking in their attic, I found an actual blanket of snow covering the floor of the attic. This was the result of the attic being over ventilated at the ridge. Because there were too many turtle vents on the roof, the attic actually started to intake air, and moisture along with it. Snow was being pulled into their home during storms, causing obvious issues with moisture content. This is the first time I had ever seen anything like this. The problem could have easily been avoided if the roofing contractor had been more educated about attic ventilation principles.

Under ventilating your attic can be just as dangerous, and is much more common. If your attic does not allow air flow, your attic would stay unnaturally warm throughout the winter. This could cause snow on your roof to melt off and then refreeze in your gutters and at your eaves, which may force water to freeze up under your actual shingles. In the summer, your attic could reach temperatures above 160 degrees, heating your home as you are trying to cool it. The overwhelming heat of your attic could be prematurely aging your shingles or ‘frying’ them from the inside out. Not only this, but if your attic gets hot enough, you could even warp the framing on your home.

Proper ventilation is simple to enforce. The biggest mistake I have seen homeowners make is to build a roof with proper ventilation and then install insulation covering the soffits (the area adjacent to the eaves where the air enters the attic through the soffit vents). Another similar mistake is storing items that block the soffits. This makes the ventilation system worthless. Instead, be sure to install insulation clear of this area and store your items away from the vents to allow proper air flow.

By far, the best way to ventilate your attic is to use soffit vents at the eaves and ridge vents. These vents are installed by your roofing contractor. Soffit vents are installed on the bottom of the overhanging area of your roof, or the eave. These should be used to intake air, as they will not intake moisture along with it. Your outtake vents should be your ridge vents at the peak or highest points of your roof. These will help to cool your attic, and as they are covered with shingles, they will also avoid the intake of moisture. This system will keep the air in your attic moving and flowing, maintaining the health of your home.

How can you tell if you have proper ventilation in your attic? One way to monitor this is by keeping track of the temperature in your attic. An ideal temperature in the summer would be less than 20 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. It is ideal to have the winter temperature the same inside as outside the attic, as to avoid ice dams. The winter temperature is probably the most important to monitor in terms of up keeping your home and roof.

Another way to measure ventilation is by a floor space to ridge ratio. There should be 1 square foot of ventilation along your ridge for every 300 square feet of floor space in your attic. For example, if you have 1200 square feet in your attic, you should have 4 square feet of ventilation along your ridge.

Following these tips and precautions should save you money on your energy bill and in unnecessary repairs to your home.

Understanding Mechanical Ventilation on Your Own

Understanding mechanical ventilation is very important especially when you have a poorly ventilated attic and the non mechanical means won’t work. If the ventilation in your attic is not improving, it’s time to go for mechanical ventilation. Mechanical types of ventilation make use of fans or turbines, using pressure to remove the air that eventually causes moisture in your attic. Remember, having a well ventilated home helps us prevent any respiratory issues we may be faced with a poorly ventilated home. Attic ventilation is certainly an important concern for all homeowners.

Mechanical vents work hand in hand with other types of vents. They work together to help avoid moisture build-up in your attic and at the same time, lower temperatures as well. Let’s take a look at the different types of mechanical vents.

Let’s start with the gable mounted ventilators. It’s one of the popular types of mechanical vents to install. For one, it’s among the easiest ones to install and can dramatically increase air flow. This type of mechanical ventilator is installed inside an existing non-mechanical vent, which is also the gable vent. In fact, in most cases installing this requires no carpentry at all but make sure you have some electrical skills to connect them to an electrical outlet. Aside from this type of gable mounted ventilator, there is another one that has its own opening or shutter system. This does not have to be mounted on an existing non-mechanical gable vent. With this kind, you’ll have to do some carpentry skills. But the good thing about it is that it offers better ventilation than the previous one. Now let’s continue understanding mechanical ventilation with the next kind of mounted ventilator, the roof mounted ones.

Now if you’re weaning away from the mechanical ventilation, another way to go is with the roof-mounted ventilators. There are two types of roof mounted ventilation. There are the powered ones and the non-powered ones. You can also call the unpowered ones as turbine attic ventilators. They are effective in pumping out the heated air. This, together with insulating an attic will definitely make a well ventilated attic. Turbine attic ventilators come in various sizes in diameter. The larger the diameter of the turbine, the better. It’s almost as if it’s already a powered electric vent on its own. Make sure that if you are going for a roof mounted ventilator, avoid the steel material because rust will definitely build up on that. Go for the plastic ones or those made up of rust-proof aluminum.

Lastly, the other type of roof mounted ventilator is the powered ones. They are among the most effective types of ventilators. Imagine, these types can ventilate up to 2,500 square feet of floor space! Its high position allows it to suck out more heat than the gable mounted ones. It’s more appropriate and flexible for a more complex structure or architectural design in homes. Understanding mechanical ventilation on your own isn’t such a daunting task. It’s easy to know which type of mechanical ventilation is appropriate for your home after you’ve read about the different types.

Add Curb Appeal With Home Improvement Projects

There are several different ways to improve the aesthetic appeal of a home’s exterior. These design techniques, protective barriers and decorative products can give a home a style boost and sometimes make it more energy efficient. A homeowner can use one or many to change the look of a home’s exterior.

Decorative Stone
Decorative stone is currently one of the most popular trends in home exterior improvements. It is also one of the less expensive ways of increasing property value and giving the home a fresh look. It is available in a variety of styles and colors from various manufacturers and distributors. Decorative stone has a unique appearance on every different application. Textures can be smooth or rugged.

Shingles
Shingles provide visual appeal and protection to the roof. Shingles come in a wide selection of colors, blends, textures and styles that can coordinate with a home’s exterior. Different patterns, weight and materials are also available. Homeowners can choose what suits their climate, roof type and personal taste when deciding upon shingling. If they are unsure, they should consult roofing contractors or shingle and roofing materials websites for ideas and information.

Trim
Trim can add a splash of color to the home, especially around the windows, doors and under the eaves. Trim pieces can match or contrast with colors for siding, windows and doors for a finished look. Trim is available in several different materials, including wood and vinyl. It provides protection and style for the home.

Exhaust Vent
The appearance of exhaust vents on the roof of a home can add or detract from the home’s visual appeal, energy efficiency and longevity of its roofing system. Attic ventilation surfaces through the roof. It can help reduce build-up of moisture, excessive heat and certain types of mold.

Decorative Railings
Ornamental railings, posts and columns add a touch of style and class to a home’s exterior. As a barrier or purely for decoration, they are suitable on the front porch, along driveways and walkways. Ornamental iron also adds flair and character to decks and gardens.

Roof Accessory Paint
When everything on and around the roof does not match, roofing accessory paint can change that. Most commonly bought to match the shingle color, it is available in a wide array of choices. Homeowners can use this special paint on bare shingle spots and flashing. When coordinating exhaust vents and vent pipes are desired, they can be color matched to the shingles for a uniform look across the roof.