Attic Ventilation: Does My Home Need It?



Roof or attic ventilation may not be at the top of your priorities as a homeowner, but it should be! Attic ventilation is actually incredibly important for the health of your home and everyone in it. Inadequate ventilation can allow toxins to build up in the air, decreasing indoor air quality and creating health risks for your family. Proper attic ventilation not only keeps indoor air cleaner but also helps keep a home comfortable while keeping energy costs down.

What is attic ventilation? 

In a nutshell, attic ventilation is a system that pulls fresh air through the attic, allowing heat to escape through vents. There are two common types of attic ventilation: active and passive. Active attic ventilation pulls air from outside and pushes it out from the inside, while passive ventilation moves the air in the attic around using natural means like wind. A typical home has intake vents down low along roof soffits and exhaust vents high up at the peak or roof ridge. This allows air to flow continuously through the attic, with cooler outdoor air coming in through the intake soffit vents and warm air rising to the highest point and escaping outside through the peak or ridge vents.  

Why is attic ventilation important? 

Properly designed attic ventilation is key to protecting indoor air quality, preventing damage to the home, and keeping energy bills low.

Roof & Home Health

Attic ventilation supports the health of your roof and helps extend its life. Proper ventilation prevents warm air from being trapped in the attic and heating up the roof. In warm weather, adhesives in the decking, seals or waterproofing, and shingles can become damaged, cracked, or curled as a roof’s temperature rises. In the winter, a warm roof can cause ice dam formation, which can lead to water infiltration and roof damage. A good ventilation system allows air and moisture to escape, helping prevent leaks, condensation, and associated problems like mold, mildew, and structural damage.

Energy Efficiency

Proper attic ventilation goes a long way in keeping a home cool during the hot summer months, reducing energy bills and wear on the air conditioning system. During the summer, the vents should be pulling in fresh air and allowing the hot air in the attic to escape outside. Without the right ventilation, hot air becomes trapped and begins to heat the rooms below. The air conditioner then works overtime to keep the house cool.

What are signs of inadequate attic ventilation? 

Several different signs can indicate the need for improved attic ventilation:

  • Unusually high energy bills
  • A need for frequent HVAC repairs
  • Ice buildup along the roof edge during winter
  • A wavy or rippled appearance to the roofline and shingles
  • Rust or corrosion on any metal within the attic (think nail heads, electrical boxes, light fixtures) indicates condensation
  • Increase in allergy symptoms or respiratory illness

How do you fix improper attic ventilation? 

If you’ve noticed any of the signs above, it is time to call a roofing professional to assess your home’s attic ventilation. They’ll be able to address any issues they see and recommend solutions, such as installing new attic vents, and repair any problems.

Hedrick Construction is a trusted and reliable provider of roofing and construction services in central Iowa. We’re committed to providing the best solution possible to keep your home and family safe and comfortable. The experts at Hedrick can provide high quality installation and products such as roof or soffit vents, solar-powered vents, or ridge vents.

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