When a Ventilating Cupola Solves Moisture Problems in the Attic

“More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth.” By Napoleon Hill

The American Institute of Architects estimates 90 % of U.S. high levels of moisture in the homes.

Adding a cupola provides passive ventilation to the roof allowing trapped heat to escape with a natural flow in an upward direction through the sides of the cupola.

A roof saver, attic ventilation is all about circulating air to reduce moisture and bring in fresh air.

According to studies conducted by the U.S. Dept. of Energy and the heating and cooling engineers support the benefits of roof ventilation.

Insufficient ventilation can lead to moisture problems during the winter and decreased energy efficiency in the summer.

In an unventilated attic the roof sheathing may reach a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit when the outside temperature is in the 90’s.

The attic heats from direct sunlight on the roof that radiates heat. This is then transmitted through the roofing material to the attic floor or the top surface of the ceilings insulation, causing the attic air to become heated.

The attic floor then acts as a “hot plate,” radiating warm air in the rooms below, causing an increase in your air conditioning requirements.

A ridge vent, such as a functional cupola, helps provide air circulation in the attic and allows for excessive attic air to escape through its sides on the top of the roof.

Suffit vents found along the bottom perimeter of the attic space, work well when used in conjunction with ridge vents to promote the circulation of attic air.

Preventing moisture damage in colder climates is a larger benefit then in warmer climates.

Attic ventilation is required in colder climates to evacuate the warm, moist air that builds from the living space below. This air can condense causing the roof sheathing to rot.

Circulating air from ventilation helps prevent ice, dams, which form when warm air in the attic melts the snow and creates a run off that refreezes on the colder eave.

Suffit vents allow air to enter the attic at the lowest point of the roof. They are more effective when used in conjunction with a continuous ridge vent, such as a cupola.

Adding a cupola to the roof allows a way for trapped heat to escape, by providing a natural flow in an upward direction through the sides of a cupola. Cupolas provide passive ventilation by releasing the warm air while bringing in cool air.

Cupolas were originally designed for functionality, as a ventilating system. Today there has been a rebirth of interest in cupola for decorative architectural accent as well as the functional aspect of ventilation, and are placed on the roof tops of houses, garages, businesses.

Cupolas not only improves the attic ventilation they provide an eye-catching exterior focal point which adds warmth, tradition and a little country charm that will add value to your property for years to come.

Copyright (c) 2009 Elda Titus

Insulate and Ventilate Your Attic For Constant Comfort in Your Home

I’m not sure whether it’s preferable to be stifling hot in summer or freezing cold in winter. But then why should you have to choose? If you make intelligent choices, you’ll be cool in summer and snug in winter. You’ll have the best of both worlds, all year round.

If you can effectively block out excess heat from your home in summer (and you can, very easily) you’ll be a whole lot more comfortable. If you prevent heat loss in winter, you will not only be more comfortable at home when it’s icy outside, but you will also be making a giant step towards conserving energy.

While I have to admit that I’m really more concerned about insulation that will either keep heat in or out of the house, I mention ventilation because the movement of air is also important. It isn’t just that we all need fresh, healthy air to breathe; it’s also vital to have air flowing through our homes. But first let’s focus on insulation.

To get this right, you need to understand a bit about the 3 main ways in which energy (in the form of heat) moves or is transferred:

1. conduction – when heat is transferred quickly by contact through solids (and to a lesser extent liquids and gases);
2. convection – when heat is transferred through liquids and gases (for example in the form of wind); and
3. radiation – which doesn’t rely on any other medium to transfer the heat.

Now the heat from the sun reaches earth as radiant heat, and it is this heat that you are looking to escape from when you look for shade in the garden on an ultra-sunny day. When we insulate our homes, we minimize all this stuff by using double glazing, carpets on floors, cavity wall and timber frame insulation, and attic insulation.

Now, here’s an open secret. Your attic insulation isn’t going to be effective unless you get it right. Right! I say this because people are forever asking me whether to use traditional attic insulation materials – you know, the fiberglass and cellulose types – or whether to go for some type of radiant barrier.

I have two standard answers to these questions that don’t have anything to do with the type or size of house you want to insulate.

1. If you want to be cool in summer and warm in winter, you need to combine good quality fiberglass or cellulose attic insulation with a top quality radiant barrier.
2. “Some type” of radiant barrier isn’t going to cut it. You need the best and it must be double-sided.

Standard attic insulation materials reduce conductive heat flow. A radiant barrier isn’t meant to replace this type of insulation. Rather, it improves the way it works. Why? Well, simply because materials like cellulose and fiberglass also hold heat. That’s really cool – I mean hot – in winter. But in summer it can be hell.

Now, back to attic ventilation. Ideally, you want your attic to be as cool as the outside air. This will keep your insulation and ductwork cooler. When you install a radiant barrier just remember a few things:

o Holes or a gap at the bottom of the installed foil for air to enter the attic space,
o Spaces between the foil and the other insulation material, and
o Holes for the air to escape.

It’s that easy.

Proper Roof Ventilation Is a Must!

One of the most critical decisions to be made in a roofing project is choosing the proper ventilation system. Its importance simply cannot be stressed enough due to its impact on both the building and its occupants. Accordingly, many things may occur if the roof does not have a good means of air circulation.

Condensation, which is a naturally occurring phenomenon, could form that leads to moisture accumulation and cause damage to roofing components which could subsequently result in premature roof failure. An inadequate circulation system will also affect the overall health of the residents. Therefore, it is necessary to know and understand how these systems work, their importance, and the benefits provided in maintaining a safe and comfortable home.

Function

Ventilation is a technical term used to describe the movement of air inside a closed space. It is believed that the efficient exchange and circulation of attic air requires specific movement to deliver its full potential. There needs to be a constant flow of air to remove stagnant moisture or trapped air that has been sitting in an attic. These systems promote circulation and create a balance in airflow from inside the home to the outside, avoiding the build-up of condensation. In addition, when the attic has a good flow of moist air, the home can breathe and avoid damage caused by mildew and mold.

Importance

Many people would agree that the importance of attic ventilation is to improve energy efficiency during every season; however, there are other ways to improve energy efficiency other than this, such as insulation and roofing material that are designed to maximize energy performance. The application of an attic vent to thwart moisture build-up provides the greatest advantage to houses located in colder climates.

Where there is intense cold weather, it will be more beneficial to have these circulation systems to avert the formation of condensation on sheathing material and avoid dampness on other major components. It will help put a stop to any serious problems from developing in both the summer and winter. An inadequate system can result in increased moisture and cause damage to the roof decking. Proper ventilation promotes energy efficiency and hinders the development of condensation and moisture accumulation while extending the life of the roof.

Benefits

It is important to understand that ventilation is crucial in preventing moisture development in the attic during the cold season and reducing the effect of heat radiation during the summer. An excessive amount of moisture could lead to roof damage caused by dampness and mold or mildew formation. It could also: affect the health of family members; increase utility costs; and cause the need for unwanted repairs.

The benefits of a proper ventilation system could prevent all of these problems. Proper air circulation provides a comfortable living environment, decreases energy costs, ensures the welfare of household members, and could even decrease or eliminate the need for expensive repairs and maintenance.

The importance, function, and benefits of a good ventilation system should not be overlooked since they are engineered to eradicate moisture build-up by managing attic air circulation. While a good air circulation system is essential to help reduce utility bills and ensure that a home stays in good condition, it also helps to keep a home safe by avoiding structural damage or premature failure of the roofing structure. Therefore, to maintain efficiency in an overall building structure, adequate roofing ventilation is a must!