Attic ventilation offers year-round benefits that help homeowners save energy & prevent problems.
During the summer, adequate ventilation can help prevent heat from building up inside the home’s upper reaches, where warm air tends to collect and stagnate. In the winter, attic ventilation helps prevent excessive indoor moisture and humidity, helping guard against potential problems like mildew and mold.
Specific to roofing, it’s also important to remember that some shingle manufacturers list suitable attic ventilation as a warranty requirement, so it’s especially important to perform a thorough check in advance of any roof upgrades.
An Attic Ventilation Checklist Used by Home Inspectors
Professional home inspectors use the following 8-point checklist when evaluating the suitability of a home’s attic ventilation strategy:
- Does the system follow the principles of balance? Exhaust vents, located near roof ridges, and the intake vents near the soffits need to be balanced one-for-one. Many homes have inadequate intake venting, a problem best relieved by adding continuous intake vents.
- Are the vent holes properly sized? It isn’t enough to simply balance the number of vents; they also need to have holes that facilitate adequate airflow relative to the size of the space being ventilated.
- Does the system feature insulation baffles? Baffles prevent soffit vents from getting blocked off, which essentially renders them inoperable.
- Is there any evidence of moisture problems? Warped or degraded wooden framing and the presence of mold and/or mildew indicate problems with excess humidity, which itself is a sign that the ventilation system isn’t performing the way it should.
- Are the vents free of obstructions? Over time, leaves, dirt and other debris can clog vents, limiting or even eliminating their efficiency. They also get painted over sometimes, a problem that should be remedied immediately if detected.
- Do all vents use the same system? There are various attic ventilation systems, including gable louvers, power vents and others. These systems can’t be mixed and matched in a single home; all vents should use a single system to ensure operational viability.
- Are there cathedral ceilings? If so, you’ll need to take a different approach to inspection, physically checking for signs of moisture penetration like cracked or chipped paint, stains and evidence of condensation, mildew and/or mold.
- Does the vent meet code standards? There are two main types of code requirements: 1/300 and 1/150. Consult the International Building Code (2000) for specifics on how to calculate the standards to achieve specific airflow rates, guided by the principle that 1/150 ventilation is needed if the attic has no vapor inhibitor or has an uncorrectable imbalance, and 1/300 ventilation is needed if it does, or if the system is already balanced.
Have Your Attic Ventilation Checked
If you’re unsure whether or not you have adequate attic ventilation, consult a professional roofing contractor. Achieving proper ventilation can be a technical undertaking, so you’ll need to eliminate any possible guesswork from the equation to achieve optimal results. A small investment today can save you thousands of dollars down the road in unnecessary repairs, not to mention hours of inconvenience.
If you want a healthy and efficient roof system, you need to find a quality installer who won’t cut corners.
Contact All Roofing Solutions, a local Delaware roofing installation contractor with a team of skilled, loyal and hardworking crewmen. We serve customers throughout Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania, and are happy to offer advice about attic ventilation or other roofing issues.
Call 302-725-ROOF (7663) in Delaware or 610-551-ROOF (7663) in Pennsylvania to request your FREE ESTIMATE.