Most homes contain attic space with an insulated floor and vents leading outside. Generally, the attic is not heated or cooled by the home’s HVAC system and is at the mercy of outside temperatures. The insulation in the floor keeps the attic’s temperature from having too great an effect on the rest of the home. A roof vent, which allows trapped air to escape, will keep attics at a moderate temperature.
The Basic Theory of Roof Venting
When outside temperatures are high and the sun is beaming down, proper ventilation allows solar-heated air to escape the attic rather than being trapped inside, growing hotter and warming the rest of the house. Since hot air rises, relieving that area of the trapped air is crucial to the comfort of your home. In cold temperatures, roof vents allow an attic to stay almost as cool as the outside air, preventing the formation of dangerous ice dams.
While a properly ventilated roof will help slightly to maximize the efficiency of air conditioning during the summer, it has little affect when heating the home. It may do little to improve energy efficiency, but it is crucial for preventing ice dams and mold.
When Roof Venting Goes Wrong
The worst mistake homeowners can make regarding roof venting is improperly insulating their attic or roof space. If this area is not properly insulated from the rest of the house, the temperatures in the attic will have a terrible effect on the entire structure and make the HVAC work harder than it should.
Putting down enough insulation material in the attic floor is the most important step to insulating the attic, but there are other things to look for as well. These include:
- Frequent attic entry. Any entry into the attic allows air between the attic and the room below to mingle. Each successive entry also makes the attic entryway less airtight, creating a leak between the attic and the rest of the house.
- Holes in the ceiling. Recessed lights and anything else which requires putting a hole in the ceiling presents an opportunity for air to leak between the attic and other rooms. This is especially problematic when construction workers put many holes in the ceiling to run ducts and cables through to the attic. These holes are the major cause of ice dams in cold climates and humidity and mold in hot climates.
- Stuff in the attic. While it is acceptable to store items in the attic, this can only be done if the attic has a proper floor, not bare insulation as in many homes. When insulation is bare, absolutely nothing should be kept in the attic, as it will disrupt the insulation and make it less effective.
Roof venting is a necessary part of keeping safe from environmental damages such as ice buildups and mold, and it helps keep a home’s HVAC system operating at maximum efficiency. However, all this is only true when the venting is done correctly. If you need professional help with your roof venting, call the HVAC experts at Allison HVAC.