You know proper ventilation is important to air quality, temperature control, and the general health of your house. But did you know that it’s equally important to monitor the ventilation of your attic? Yes, indeed. It’s best to be proactive about your attic’s ventilation. Rather than never give your attic a moment’s thought and find yourself with mounting structural problems down the road, take the first step and assess then address the ventilation of your attic.
Lack Of Proper Ventilation Leads To
Problems. That’s the easy answer. When there isn’t any air flow in your attic a few things happen. First, in hot weather, the heat gets trapped inside your attic and begins to permeate through the house. This, consequently, causes your air conditioning to work overtime, which costs you money in the end.
Another delightful side effect you’ve got to look forward to with poor attic ventilation is mold. When the air is static, doesn’t move, that plus some humidity provides the perfect breeding ground for it. Mold can spread through a house and lead to health problems if not treated quickly.
From mold it only gets worse. Where mold has been, rot is sure to follow. Once rot has entered the picture, the integrity of the entire structure is now at risk. Rot can affect the wood of your floors, walls and roof.
What To Do About It
Okay, now that we’ve sufficiently scared you into investigating your own attic’s ventilation, let’s talk about what to look for and what you can do. As you might expect, the first thing you want to do is head on up into the great unknown. You’ll be able to feel instantly whether it’s stuffy or has sufficient air flow the second you open the door. Bring your flashlight. If there’s no ventilation there’s likely no electricity or lights in there either. Scan the walls and surfaces for loose insulation, mold, or spots of rot.
If any such issues exist, fix them. There’s nothing more to say about it, really. Especially in terms of rot, you need a sound structure, replace the wood and reinforce it.
Ventilation: The Works
In case you were wondering, yes. It seems completely counterproductive to spend money insulating your attic, and then turn right back around and add a ventilation system, thus allowing air back in. But it’s important. In cold climates with ice, a natural vent (built into the wall) let’s cold air into the warmer air which prevents ice damming. If the attic gets warm, the unmoving heat will warm the snow enough to melt but cold enough to refreeze by the time it reaches the gutter, creating a dam, backing up moisture on the roof, then damaging it.
You can build ventilation into the wall or the soffit (under the eaves) to provide air flow. Attic fans will help move air around without working against your heating/AC unit. Rafter vents allow you to maximize the efficiency of your insulation without stagnation in the air. You can insulate the entire floor of your attic, even out to the eaves, and the rafter vents provide an airway for your soffit vents to work and move the air.
To get the most out of your insulation and your home in general, check your ventilation status. They go hand in hand: symbiotic. Helping each other to help you.