While you should seal up your home to prevent wasteful air leaks, there’s one area in your home that should remain open to airflow -- your attic. During the winter, attic ventilation can help prevent condensation and reduce the formation of ice dams. During the summer, airflow through your attic can remove excess heat, protect roofing shingles and reduce cooling costs.
With these benefits awaiting you, you might be wondering, “What’s the best way to ventilate my attic?” You have two primary options -- natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation.
A combination of soffit vents under the eaves and ridge vents at the peak of your roof lets air naturally flow in at the attic floor and exit through the top of your roof. This is the most common form of natural ventilation found today, although older homes may have louvered vents on gable end walls instead of ridge vents. Cupolas, a vented spire on top of the roof or wind-driven turbines that resemble spiraled mushrooms, are two additional options.
Building codes require your attic to have one square foot of ventilation for every 300 square feet of floor space. Half of your vents should be located at the soffits and the other half on the roof. It’s important to ensure soffit vents remain uncovered by insulation. You can install metal baffles between the rafters to provide an unobstructed path from soffit to ridge vent.
If your attic isn't receiving the ventilation it requires, consider installing powered attic fans. Modern attic fans have sophisticated sensors that automatically open louvered vents and power up the ventilator when heat and humidity inside your attic reach a certain level.While this is effective for removing humidity and keeping your attic cooler, you're unlikely to notice significant, if any, energy savings. This is because the cost to run your fan will outweigh the decreased home cooling costs.
Now that you know the answer to the question, “How should I ventilate my attic,” it’s time to put your knowledge to good use. Contact Air Assurance in Broken Arrow for the help you need.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Enrique Ramos/Shutterstock”