Attic Ventilation and Why It's Important

Unless you’re a longtime homeowner, you may have never thought about the airflow in your attic. There’s a lot of factors to consider when you need a new roof, but have you considered what’s happening directly under your roof? The attic area is one of the most important aspects of a properly installed roofing system. Attic ventilation is the balance of air flow between the soffit (intake) and vents (exhaust); how this air flow is vented can greatly influence your roof system. Whether you are installing a new roof system or want to extend the life of an existing roof, learning about attic ventilation is a great first step.

What Is Attic Ventilation?

Ventilation is the action of moving air, releasing heat and taking in cold. Proper ventilation provides consistent air flow. Home ventilation is a complex system that must provide a high volume of air flow. The same goes for the attic -- are there components working to release heat and allow cool air to enter? A balanced system will include intake at the soffits of the roof, and exhaust vents near the ridge. The primary function of this system is to allow fresh air into the attic, while allowing hot, moist air to escape. Now that you’ve got an understanding of how attic ventilation should function -- let’s cover what happens when it doesn’t.

Why Does Attic Ventilation Matter?

Lack of attic ventilation can cause a variety of complications for a homeowner. In Western New York, things get pretty cold. During winter, improper ventilation can add to the formation of ice dams. This happens when snow on your roof melts because your attic is too warm; the melted snow refreezes at the gutters and builds up alongside the eaves forming an ice dam. When the temperature warms back up enough, the ice dams will melt and pool on your roof, seep into your shingles -- even into your home, leading to ceiling and wall damage. With proper ventilation, cold air mixes with warm air that has escaped from your home and slows down snow melting. This will help prevent the formation of ice dams that damage your home.

What about when winter ends and things warm up? Attic ventilation is very important during the hot summer months. We love the sun -- but when it beats down on the roof and causes your attic to heat up, you’ll want to ensure it’s got a good air flow. Ventilation protects your home and roof from heat and moisture buildup. Without it, excessive heat and moisture will damage shingles, framing, ceiling, siding, paint -- you name it. Energy bills may also become a problem in the summer. With a lack of ventilation, an attic can get pretty hot -- causing a home’s temperature to rise. Proper ventilation will ease your cooling costs from skyrocketing in the summer by letting all that hot air out. When roofing, ventilation and insulation work together, a home will perform at its absolute best in any climate. 

How to Improve Your Attic Ventilation

To achieve proper attic ventilation, multiple factors need to be addressed. Roofing, ventilation and insulation must work cohesively to improve air flow. If you are unsure about your attic ventilation, experiencing expensive heating/cooling bills, or wan’t to know what can be done to help alleviate large ice dams from forming on your roof system next winter -- Stockmohr has got your back. We provide free in-home estimates where one of our experts will inspect your roof and attic to ensure you have the proper amount of ventilation and insulation, along with the next steps to take if you don’t.