If you’re like many other homeowners, you probably don’t think about conditions in your unfinished attic very often. Paying attention to details like attic ventilation is vital though because proper ventilation directly impacts your home’s energy efficiency and is essential to prevent a host of unpleasant issues.
Why Having Sufficient Attic Ventilation Matters
The climate in our area produces some radical seasonal temperature swings, and this can cause serious problems in your attic if it doesn’t have enough ventilation:
- During our hot, humid summers, the temperature in your attic can reach 120 to 150 degrees or more, and that heat can radiate down through the ceilings. This means it will take extra energy and cost you more to keep your home comfortably cool, and your A/C or heat pump will have to work harder, which can shorten its service life.
- In the winter, heated air that escapes and rises from your finished living spaces can stay trapped in your attic if it lacks sufficient ventilation. When it’s cold outdoors, excess heat can cause condensation that encourages mold growth, ruins your attic insulation and corrodes wiring and other metal building and equipment components. Warm temperatures in the attic can also melt rooftop snow, which can then refreeze and form an ice dam when it reaches the eaves, leading to damaging water backups.
- Excess heat, moisture problems and ice dams that stem from a lack of adequate attic ventilation can also cause premature deterioration of your roofing material, the underlying sheathing, as well as the rafters and other structural components.
What Kind and How Much Ventilation Does Your Attic Need?
According to Keep Warm Illinois, an attic needs two types of ventilation to allow ample air circulation and remove excess heat and moisture:
- Soffit vents installed down low on the underside of the roof overhang where outdoor air can enter.
- Ridge, box or power vents placed up high at or near the peak of the roof to allow air to exit.
Having the right amount of ventilation is equally important, so it’s wise to have an experienced attic ventilation contractor check that you have one square foot of vent area per 150 square feet of attic ceiling, or per 300 square feet if there’s a ceiling vapor retarder installed.
For help determining if your home’s attic has sufficient ventilation, contact us at Adams Roofing Professionals, your expert attic ventilation contractors in Chicagoland.