Attic Ventilation Problems & Mistakes
houses can benefit from increased attic ventilation.
Even new homes often don't have adequate ventilation!!
#1 Problem - Blocked, Clogged or Dirty Soffit
FREE ADVICE!! CLEAN YOUR SOFFIT
|Watch This Video -
VIRTUALLY EVERY HOME HAS ONE OF THE FOLLOWING PROBLEMS:
#1 Dirty Soffit Vents - They once worked and let air through,
but now they are so dirty they are blocked and are effectively useless
#2 Blocked Soffit Vents - Something
is blocking the soffit vents from inside the attic. Usually old wood shingles
after a roof replacement,
or insulation was blown over the soffit vents (especially on newer homes).
#3 Inadequate Soffit Vents - Most homes simply does not have
enough soffit (intake vents) to properly ventilate the attic.
#4 Soffit Vents Holes Cut Too Small -
You may have vents, but the holes behind them are cut very small (see picture
at right). You have to get close and look through the vent to see the actual
size of the hole. Some houses have vents, but NO HOLES cut behind them.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO ONE THING.
CLEAN YOUR SOFFIT VENTS!!!!
Has anyone ever told you to "clean your soffit vent"?
Probably not. If air is flowing through the vents, the vents will
eventually get dirty
or clogged, they restrict the air flow and will
not be effective. Cleaning should be done every couple of years. Clean
with dry nylon brush. DO NOT USE A WATER HOSE!!
If you have an electric attic fan, the soffit vents should
be cleaned every year. Otherwise, the soffit vents will get clogged making
your electric attic fan useless and the motors will burnout quickly.
Soffit vents that are blocked due to multiple layers of paint
should be replaced.
If your house is more than a few years
old and the soffit vents are NOT dirty this is another concern. See "Tray Ceilings" or "Mixed
Exhaust Ventilation" below.
Another problem is that many soffit vents are cut too small,
even on new homes. You cannot assume that a soffit vent is providing the correct
amount of intake ventilation. If the soffit vents are cut too small, this disrupts
the balance of NFA (net free area) needed for proper air flow.
The Problem - Tray Ceilings
Does Your House Have Tray Ceilings? A Tray ceiling
is like a mini vaulted ceiling in the corner of the room. Generally
the wall goes up about 8 feet then at an angle to the ceiling
for a few feet. See pictures
on the right.
Many homes built before about 1997 have
tray ceilings with NO air channel for attic ventilation. The insulation
is "sandwiched" between
the sheetrock and the roof deck. The result is that the soffit vents are effectively
useless, the air flow is blocked
vents. This can contribute to hot rooms, especially upstairs where interior
walls face the attic space.
The Problem - Electric Attic Fans
Electric Attic Fans themselves are not the big problem.
It's how they affect the rest of the ventilation system.
An electric fan acts as though you just put
Vaccum Cleaner Hose In Your Attic! Are you starting to get the picture?
The fan is going to pull from ALL OPENINGS INTO THE ATTIC. And, since air will
travel the path of least
resistance the following can happen:
All other "Exhaust
be blocked. - If you install an electric fan
next to a wind turbine, the turbine will now act as an "intake vent". The result? Air is
being "sucked" in
a few feet away and going out the electric fan. This can actually DECREASE
the amout of air
flow moving through the attic.
More Soffit Vents Are Needed!! -
With electric attic fans more intake ventilation is needed.
Actually you should OVER-COMPENSATE with more
soffit vents to provide unrestricted air-flow. If there are not enough soffit
vents, this is what happens: Air will be "pulled" from
INSIDE the house through light fixtures, switches, vents and other passages
into the attic. Ironically,
the attic might be cooler, but this might be because your cool air conditioned
air is now being pulled into the attic. Finally, without enough soffit vents
the motors tend to burn out quickly.
Ideally ridge vent or wind
turbines are the best exhaust methods.
The Problem - Mixed Exhaust Ventilation
Mixing wind turbines, ridge vents & electric fans
can often cause unwanted effects. The theory that "More
Is Better" is not
necessarily true. Read
this article. By mixing different types
of exhaust vents "Windwashing" can occur. Windwashing is air moving IN
and OUT of the same vent. If ventilation is done properly,
through the bottom soffit vents and OUT through the top vents.
Your house may have several "attic cavities". In this
case, we may suggest a different type of exhaust vent for each
cavities. This is OK because each attic cavity is separate from
The Problem - Gable Vents
Gable vents were originally designed for wood roofs.
If your roof has been converted to a deck and composition
vents should be blocked. And, more intake ventilation (soffit
vents) should be added. This will
the cool air to enter from the bottom and exit through the
top of the attic. This eliminates windwashing through the
vents. By not blocking the gable vents, the air in the bottom
part of the attic can become stagnant. This creates hot zones
during the summer, and during the winter the underventilated
areas can lead to condensation, mold and mildew.
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