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Homeowners are often interested in projects to improve the aesthetic appeal of their homes, particularly those that may increase the curb appeal of their properties. But some projects, including improving attic ventilation, can benefit a home even when they aren't especially eye-catching.
Attic venting preserves the life of a roof while improving the energy efficiency of a home. Although it may seem counterproductive to let air into the attic when you are sealing drafts elsewhere in the home, there is rhyme and reason to venting an attic throughout the year.
What is attic ventilation?
Attic ventilation is a system of air intake and exhaust that creates a flow of air through the attic. In the summertime, air flowing through the attic will cool temperatures within the attic, preventing damage to the underside of roofing shingles and preventing ambient heat from traveling inside of a home. In the winter, air flow helps to keep the attic cool and dry. This prevents moisture that can lead to mold and rot issues from building up inside of the attic. Attic ventilation also prevents warm indoor temperatures and rising heat from warming up roofs during the winter, creating the freeze-thaw pattern that results in ice dams.
Improving attic air flow
Many attics already contain passive ventilation in the form of vents or ventilation strips built into the edge of the roof. Other vents may appear in gables or eaves. Some homeowners prefer the addition of an attic fan to work in concert with existing venting. The spring season is an ideal time to have an attic fan installed because the weather is temperate, making it easier to work up in the attic.
According to Natural Light Energy Systems, attic temperatures can exceed 160 F on hot summer days. Proper attic ventilation can reduce those
temperatures by up to 40 F, prolonging the life of the roof. Attic ventilation also reduces the load on heating and cooling systems. No matter how much insulation is in an attic, some transfer of attic air will occur between the home and the attic, and that transfer makes heating and air conditioning systems run longer and harder to compensate.
Homeowners who notice their HVAC systems running endlessly to keep the home comfortable can benefit from improved attic ventilation, as can those homeowners whose attics feature moisture damage in the way of rusty nails or moldy wood framing. An attic fan is often an effective remedy to these issues.
Attic fan 101
The installation of an attic fan is best left to a professional, as it requires running wiring to the fan and it may necessitate cutting into the roof for venting. Many fans work with a thermostat and will turn on when the air temperature in the attic reaches a certain temperature. The fan will circulate the air, helping to keep the attic cooler and dryer. Also, the fan can help expel fumes from cooking or appliances from the home.
Canada Go Green notes that attic fans can reduce energy bills considerably by making HVAC systems work more efficiently. Keeping attics cool and dry may also reduce how frequently HVAC systems need to be turned on or at which temperatures thermostats in the home are set.
Improving attic ventilation may not add much to a home's curb appeal, but such a project can save homeowners money and provide year-round benefits.