While it may seem counterintuitive to put holes in the one thing keeping your house covered, the importance of attic ventilation can’t be understated.
Many homes are far less efficient than they could be, to begin with, but having an unventilated or poorly ventilated attic can cause problems beyond just high energy bills.
Ideally, attics should have some form of attic ventilation for every 300 square feet. Using this golden ratio, you can ensure your house and roof get all the airflow they need.
But why, you ask, is it so important to bring air into the very space that protects the house from outside elements?
To explain the reason for attic vents in detail, here are five of the most consequential benefits of proper venting.
1. Increases Your Roof’s Lifespan
An improperly ventilated roof will never last as long as a well-ventilated one. When the conditions are right, a roof will last 25 years or so and usually only needs to be reshingled when it’s time rolls around. An improperly vented roof, on the other hand, can suffer far more extensive damage.
When hot air gets trapped in the roof in summer, the temperature can rise so drastically that the adhesive in the decking can melt, and the shingles can curl and crack.
A hot roof in the winter leads to condensation which will sap into the beams and cause them to swell and warp.
The result is that even one year without proper attic ventilation can damage the entire roof to such an extent that the shape and structure skew dangerously. Not only will this force you to replace the roof much sooner, but it can also put you at risk for even worse things and eventual roof collapse.
2. Helps with Temperature Regulation
As mentioned already, a key responsibility of the attic ventilation system is to regulate temperature. By properly ventilating your attic, the entire house reaps the benefits.
As we all know, heat rises, so in the summer when the mercury is climbing, and you try to avoid the upstairs rooms, just imagine how much hotter it is in the attic. Proper attic ventilation allows the rising hot air to escape and helps to bring in outside air. The circulation of air helps to keep the house dry and less humid.
In the winter months, the same principles apply. Stale air is allowed to escape, and the attic doesn’t get too hot. When you have the heat on in the winter, though the house is drier, a build-up of hot air in the attic creates the perfect environment for mould growth.
Venting the attic in winter also prevents condensation from forming and helps you avoid ice dams. Ice dams can damage the entire roof structure over time.
3. Reduces Health Risks
One of the most dangerous effects of extreme temperature fluctuations in the attic is that it creates the perfect environment for mould, fungus, and rot. Not only can these substances damage your roof, but they also pose a risk to your health.
Between the wood and the insulation, there’re a lot more surfaces for dampness to collect than you may think. Mould and mildew are only some of the things you might attract. Even without attic ventilation, your roof is open to small critters, bees, bugs, mice, and even bats that might take up residence in your attic if it provides a safe warm space in the winter.
Animal excrement can expedite mold growth and spread disease. To prevent mildew and mould from spreading into the rest of your house, or the timbers in your roof from rotting, it’s vital to get proper venting.
4. Improves Energy Efficiency
Not only does proper attic insulation prevent structural damage and health risks, but it also saves you money.
Believe it or not, having a ventilated attic makes your house far more energy efficient. Basically, if you have extra heat trapped in your attic in summer, your air conditioning has to work a lot harder to keep your house cool.
When the hot air is allowed to escape, the air in the house starts at a cooler temperature and has more overall circulation. This allows the AC to cool the whole house and not just the spots near the roof vents.
Similarly, in winter, the heating system can pull in fresh air to warm up and push out existing cold air better. Since heat rises, a closed attic would trap the heat that rises from lower floors and skew the temperature of the house.
For even and efficient heating there needs to be airflow at both ends.
5. Maintains Material Warranties
The last aspect of the importance of attic ventilation that you may not know about is the legal side of things.
When it comes to roofing, there are two vital warranties to be aware of: the contractor’s workmanship warranty and the manufacturer’s materials warranty. The material warranty states that if the materials used in your roof fail before an expected date, the manufacturer will cover the cost of replacement.
However, if your attic doesn’t have proper attic ventilation, the warranty is void, and you’ll have to pay for new materials from your own pocket.
So, not only does a lack of attic ventilation in your attic mean that the roof will fail faster, but also that when it does, you can’t pawn the costs off on anyone else.
Final Thoughts – Why You Need Proper Attic Ventilation?
To sum it all up, while there are several reasons to ventilate your attic, it comes down to making life easier for yourself.
A well-ventilated roof will last longer, help regulate the temperature in the house, reduce the risk of mould growth and other health risks, lower energy costs, and keep your warranty safe and valid.
If you’d like to know more about attic ventilation, check out this article on the types of roof vents on the market and how each one suits different homes.