Last Updated on March 8, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
Today’s homes are more airtight than in the past because of the increased use of insulation, more energy-efficient windows and doors, and house wraps. Consequently, homes don’t breathe as easily, making attic ventilations more important than ever.
In the summer, heat from the sun builds in the attic and radiates into the living space; your home can become uncomfortable. Air conditioning usage increases and roof shingles can deteriorate prematurely.
In the winter, moisture generated inside the home rises to the attic where it can condense and cause mold and mildew.
Mold spores produce allergens that affect air quality, wood rots and if the insulation gets wet it loses its R-value. Lack of attic vents is one of the main contributors to winter ice dams that cause extensive damage to homes every year.
Another important reason to ventilate your attic is your shingle warranty can become void or significantly reduced without it and almost all building codes require attic ventilation; the goal is to create an airflow through an entire attic.
Air enters through the intake vent and flows out of the exhaust vent places high in the attic. Intake vents are crucial to the system they provide fresh air to the attic.
Unfortunately, not every roof ventilator system is favorable for homes, which is why it takes a careful inspection before installation. Here are the pros and cons of ventilating your attic.
Table of Contents
Pros of Attic Ventilation
While there is a prevailing belief that attic ventilation is for warmer climates, it is equally if not more likely that your home will benefit from attic ventilation in the colder the climate. Let’s take a look at some of the pros of installing attic ventilation.
1. Moisture control
Just as moisture in the attic is drawn to your windows, it is drawn to cold surfaces. When those surfaces get wet, they rot and mold starts forming. Rot affects the framing and the roof decking, which could result in a sagging roof.
Sagging roofs leak, which worsens the moisture problem in the attic eventually creating big problems in the living areas below. Attic ventilation gives that moisture a place to escape before molds and mildews appear, stopping further damage.
2. Temperature Control
In cooler climates, attic ventilation is necessary for the maintenance of warmer room temperature. Interestingly, in hot climates, ventilation is just as important for the opposite reason; keeping the attic space cool. So, they help regulate the overall temperature levels within the house.
3. Reduced Energy Costs
Proper attic ventilation removes hot air from houses through air circulation. This reduces the workload on your air conditioner, and an air conditioner that’s running less means a lower electric bill. Besides, the reduced temperature in the attic will also benefit the air conditioner by keeping internal air and ductwork cooler.
4. Extended Roof Life
When heat from inside your attic combines with heat from the sun, ice damming happens. This eventually leads to causing damage to your whole roof system, your attic and even inside the walls of your home.
Also, when your attic heats up, the underlayment beneath the roof shingles warm up as well. Over time this will cause them to become brittle and ineffective.
This is when proper ventilation can prove to be a boon. It helps escape the warm air before it can melt the snow and ice on your roof. It doesn’t let roofs turn brittle.
5. Comfortable Home
If the attic is too hot, this trapped heat pushes back down into the living space, creating warm humid environments that make it particularly difficult to sleep during night time. And If the attic is too humid, the damp air becomes trapped in the insulation and it becomes a lot less effective. Since attic ventilation can help regulate the overall temperature levels within the home, you will feel much comfortable.
Cons of Attic Ventilation
Unfortunately, most homes are improperly ventilated, which can result in mold, wasted energy, ice dams, premature roof system degradation, rotting decks, peeling paint, and ceiling stains. Some cons of attic ventilation are explained below.
1. Carbon Monoxide Risk
In case you have natural gas or propane burning appliances like a furnace or water heaters, powered attic ventilation could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Powered attic fans can create negative air pressure in the home’s interior. However, this doesn’t apply to solar-powered or turbine attic fans.
2. Roof Leak Risk
According to FloridaDisaster.org, most attic ventilation is not designed to prevent water intrusion during hurricanes. It is only designed to keep out “normal” rainfall which means the power of the wind can push water up the roof in sheets in case of rainstorms.
Of the ventilations aren’t properly installed, the probability of roof leaks further increases.
3. Not Always Energy Efficient
Poorly sealed attics lead to fans pulling conditioned air from inside the home into the attic making your AC unit work harder and is counterproductive.
Moreover, powered attic ventilators use more energy than they save even with a perfectly tight ceiling. In response to this, the production of solar-powered attic ventilators that are supposedly off the grid has begun.
The right attic ventilation system will protect your attic and roof provide better comfort inside the home and help save energy. It is one of the crucial elements when installing a new roof. However, it is better to work with a roofing professional before jumping to a conclusion.