Modern homes are tightly-sealed environments that minimize air exchange between indoor living spaces and the outside world beyond your doors and windows. While better air sealing improves HVAC efficiency for lower-cost home heating and cooling, completely sealing your home off from the outdoor environment can actually have negative effects. Some air exchange is needed to maintain the quality of the air you breathe and prevent the accumulation of heat and moisture in your attic, which can, in turn, increase the cost of cooling your home and lead to mold or water damage that affects your attic, your roof, and other areas of your home. Attic ventilation can be achieved through a variety of techniques, including both passive and active ventilation solutions to manage airflow through your attic space for better air quality and HVAC performance. Even if your home has some existing ventilation installed, it may not be sufficient to achieve the best results—your home comfort expert can help you determine whether additional attic ventilation is needed to keep your home cool, comfortable, and healthy throughout the year.
Determining Your Attic Ventilation Needs
The key to properly ventilating your attic is calculating exactly how much ventilation will benefit your home. Too little or too much attic ventilation will reduce the efficacy of your HVAC system and allow problems such as moisture and mold to develop. Each home is unique, and the right amount of attic ventilation for your property will depend on factors such as the size and style of your home, as well as your HVAC system and the quality and placement of features such as weatherstripping and insulation. In most cases, your home should have one square foot of attic ventilation for every 300 square feet of ceiling space; together with your home comfort expert, you can evaluate your existing ventilation to determine whether additional ventilation can offer benefits.
Adding Attic Ventilation and Fans
Because there is no one-size-fits-all ventilation solution, if your home comfort expert determines that additional attic ventilation can benefit your home, you’ll have several options to consider. Natural or passive ventilation consists of vents that allow warm air to rise and escape from your attic, coupled with vents that draw cooler air into the attic during this process. This type of ventilation system typically combines ridge vents, which are installed at the peak of a sloped roof section, with soffit vents, which are located beneath your eaves. Rafter vents are used in cases where you want to completely insulate the floor of your attic, and keep the soffit vents clear so cooler air can be drawn into the attic. If passive attic ventilation is insufficient or inefficient for your needs, attic fans can be added to actively draw cool air in and push hot air out to increase the efficiency of your ventilation system. Attic fans may be powered via your home’s electrical system, draw power from a solar cell, or turn via wind power for completely power-free function. The best attic fan design for your home will depend on your existing ventilation and the amount of additional ventilation needed.
Would you like to learn more about attic ventilation and attic fans in Manassas, VA? Our home comfort experts have extensive experience in the fields of ventilation, indoor air quality, insulation, and HVAC function; we’ll work with you to find the ventilation solution that is right for your home. You can find more information about maintaining a comfortable and energy-efficient home on our website, as well as further tips and news on our monthly blog.