Because what goes on up there can affect efficiency and comfort in the entire home, sorting out the facts from the myths of attic ventilation is important. While many homeowners consider the attic a separate, uninhabited zone, the attic is as much a part of the whole-house system as the living spaces below.
Consider these myths about attic ventilation when evaluating your home environment.
- MYTH: More is always better.
FACT: While an under-ventilated attic can be a damaging heat source in summer, it’s also entirely possible to have too much open vent space. Over-ventilating allows wind currents to infiltrate the attic, creating possible structural damage in storm scenarios. Wind-blown rain can also cause water damage and sparks from a nearby fire of any origin might enter the attic and result in fire.
- MYTH: Roof vents are useful for heat control only.
FACT: While it’s true that preventing excess attic heat aids efficiency downstairs, a more important, all-season function of attic roof vents in any climate is to exhaust moisture that may damage structural components, ruin insulation and trigger mold.
- MYTH: Roof vents let warm house air escape in winter.
FACT: If it happens, it’s not because of roof vents. Inadequate air sealing between the attic and living spaces is a major cause of energy loss whether attic roof vents are involved or not. Poor insulation also allows heat energy to conduct from rooms below into the attic.
- MYTH: One approach fits all.
FACT: No single formula for attic ventilation applies to every locale. In quantifying adequate ventilation, the first-hand knowledge of qualified, established HVAC contractors experienced in local building methods and climate is as important as laboratory research.
- MYTH: Roof vents = adequate attic ventilation.
FACT: Not necessarily so. Passive ventilation in an attic may be insufficient to fully activate circulation through roof vents. Ridge vents may be affected by external air currents, soffit vents easily become obstructed by loose-fill insulation and gable vents typically don’t circulate much air.
For more information about proper attic ventilation, contact Rodehiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts.
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