If you’ve spent any time in an unfinished attic during the summer, you know just how hot that space can get. Because attics rarely have air conditioning vents, temperatures rise quickly, especially with the hot summer sun beating down directly on the roof right overhead. It isn’t uncommon for attic temperatures to reach 150 degrees or more in the middle of summer.
What are the Benefits of Good Attic Ventilation?
The benefits of proper attic ventilation extend beyond cooler attic temperatures. Here are just a few of the surprising advantages to having good ventilation.
Cooling Efficiency and Lower Utility Bills
Properly balanced attic ventilation will help your HVAC system run more efficiently all year long.
In the hot summer months, attic ventilation helps your home to breathe. Without proper air circulation, the air inside your attic rises like an oven, causing your air conditioner to work harder to remove the hot air that accumulates there.
Circulating air will lower attic temperatures by cooling your roof deck (the underside or base of your roof). This simple act will allow your air conditioner to cool the inside of your home more quickly and efficiently.
During the cold winter months, a balanced ventilation system in the attic will keep humidity levels in check. By minimizing condensation in the attic spaces, you also reduce the risk of developing potentially dangerous mold and mildew.
Condensation in the attic will also dampen your insulation and cause it to compress. This reduces the efficiency of the insulation and can cause your heating system to work harder to heat the inside of your home and raising your utility costs.
Preserving Structural Integrity
As proper attic air flow reduces the accumulation of condensation and maintains proper humidity levels, it helps prevent wood rot and moisture damage.
How to Achieve Proper Attic Ventilation
Unless you plan to turn your home’s attic into a usable living space, it isn’t cost effective to install HVAC vents. If your attic is only used for storage, installing an attic fan is the more practical solution.
Attic fans work continuously to circulate air, replacing stagnant air with fresh air from outside. This help keep your attic space from turning into an oven.
There are two types of attic fans you can have installed to ensure proper attic ventilation.
Rooftop Attic Fans
Rooftop fans are installed right on top of your home’s roof. Solar powered rooftop fans are a popular choice. The sun is already there, beating down on your roof. Harnessing that power to help ventilate your attic space just makes sense. And since these fans run on solar power, they won’t add to your energy bills.
Gable fans are also designed to circulate air. Unlike rooftop fans, this ventilation system is composed of two separate fans. They are mounted on the gables of your home, each on opposite sides. One fan works to blow out stagnant attic air, while the other blows in fresh air from outside.
Make Sure to Seal It
In order for an attic fan to work properly, it is important have a tight seal between your attic space and living space. If this tight seal doesn’t exist, your attic fan could actually have a detrimental effect on energy efficiency. The circulation created by your newly installed attic fans could suck the cooler air from your living space through small cracks and gaps in your ceiling.
Have your home properly inspected before your attic fans are installed. If there are any significant cracks in the barrier between these spaces, have them properly sealed. This will prevent the air conditioned air in your home’s upper level from escaping through your attic.
If you have any questions about attic ventilation or how to make your home more energy efficient, contact your local HVAC professionals.