4 Common Misconceptions about Attic Ventilation

Keeping the airflow in a home functioning properly impacts the temperature, comfort level, and air quality inside the home. If there’s moisture or fluctuations in temperature, it usually has something to do with the ventilation. 

Attic ventilation is an overlooked part of the roofing system. Good attic ventilation not only helps maintain good indoor air quality, but it also plays an important role in your roof’s health. Unfortunately, many homeowners have misconceptions about how attic ventilation works.

attic ventilation

What Is Attic Ventilation?

The principle that heated air naturally rises is the foundation of attic ventilation.  There are two main types of vents that are responsible for airflow. Intake vents allow cool air to enter the attic. These are located at the lowest part of the roof under the eaves. Exhaust vents, located at the top of the roof, allow hot air to escape.

This process of hot air in, hot air out, or passive ventilation, is one way to vent an attic. Attic ventilation helps fight heat buildup in the summer, moisture buildup in the winter, and ice dams in climates with snow and ice. Building materials such as roof shingles remain healthy due to attic ventilation. It also improves the comfort level inside a home and lowers utility bills.

roof vents

Attic Ventilation Myths

Ventilation is about circulating air to reduce moisture levels. Most homes have high levels of moisture.  Understanding whether your home could benefit from some form of attic ventilation might just be a roof-saver. Here are some common misconceptions you need to understand about attic ventilation.

1. More Vents Equals Better Ventilation

Too much ventilation does not necessarily mean your home will have less moisture and better airflow. More vents add more places where leaks can occur. Many roof leaks begin near roof vents and chimneys. Insufficient ventilation can lead to moisture problems and decreased energy efficiency, but too much ventilation can be just as bad for your home.

Every home is designed and constructed differently. What works for one home, may not work for the home across the street.  The appropriate layout for vents in the attic depends on the size of the attic.  It is recommended for every 300 square feet of attic floor, you need one square foot of ventilation.

Other considerations to install more vents include the location of the home, the amount of sun exposure, and whether the attic is finished.

2. Roof Vents Always Provide the Best Ventilation

Applying roof vents to help with attic ventilation is not a one size fits all solution. An effective ventilation system makes use of different types of vents that varies from roof to roof. A professional roofing contractor can help you implement the best ventilation system for your home. They can tell you what your home requires.

mold in attic

3. Vents Aren’t Needed on Homes in Cold Climates

Many homeowners believe that vents are only good for the summertime to keep air flowing and prevent warm air from accumulating in an attic.  The main function of an attic ventilation system is to prevent moisture damage. Temperature fluctuations can cause moisture problems. Homes in colder climates tend to have more daily temperature fluctuations.

Sun exposure during the day can warm up a roof and change the moisture level inside the attic. During the evening hours, the temperature drops and alters the moisture level again. This process can cause moisture to accumulate unless the attic ventilation system allows moisture to dissipate properly.

4. Attic Ventilation Is Only Good for Homes in Warmer Climates

Ventilation is important in all climates. Too many people believe the importance of roof ventilation is to increase energy efficiency during the summer. Installing roof vents for older homes can reduce your hot air during the summer; however, there are other ways to increase a home’s energy-efficiency.

Again, preventing moisture damage is a much greater benefit. In warmer climates, you don’t need to worry about condensation. Think about how often dew forms on your grass. In these climates, hot attic spaces are eliminated by installing a thermal barrier along the roofline, instead of the attic floor.

Vents or No Vents?

If you don’t know how your roof vents work, or if you’re unsure about your attic ventilation in general, you should talk to a professional roofing contractor about your current system.

Brian Dawson Roofing can inspect your attic ventilation system and make adjustments if needed. Our team has the experience to make your home more comfortable with the proper ventilation. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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