Is Your Home Adequately Ventilated?

How to Adequately Ventilate your Home to Prevent Ice Dams and Roof Shingle Damage

By Mark J. Donovan

It is critical to keep your home adequately ventilated to protect it from damaging heat. In addition, providing adequate ventilation within the main living area of the home allows chemicals that have out gassed from carpeting and other building materials to escape the home. Attic ventilation, however, is the most vital type of ventilation you need to think about when building a home or even maintaining an existing home.

Inadequate attic ventilation is one of the two main causes of ice damming and roof shingle damage. If moist warm air seeps up into an attic and the attic is not ventilated properly, the warm moist air stays trapped in the attic.

The warm moist air then melts the underside of the snow pack on your roof which then causes the snow melt water to run down the roof and refreeze at the roof eaves.

This is how ice dams form. When ice dams form water can back up underneath the shingles and work its way into the attic area. From there the water finds a way down onto the drywall ceilings within your home causing water damage. In addition, as the water refreezes up under the shingles they can become damaged.

Adequate attic ventilation is also necessary during the summer months to keep your home comfortable, to reduce air conditioning energy costs, and to prevent roof shingles from a shortened life span.

Individual Soffit Vents are one of the components in a adequately ventilated home.

If an attic is not adequately ventilated it is possible for the attic to reach 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. This intense attic heat causes the air conditioning system to work much harder, thus leading to higher energy costs. And even with the best of air conditioners, it can be nearly impossible to keep an upper level room cool when it has high temperatures sitting just above it.

Key to adequate ventilation is the proper amount of soffit vents in the roof eaves and a ridge vent along the peak of the roof. Gable vents are also often used in providing adequate attic ventilation.

Also, attic fans are often used for attic ventilation.As a general rule of thumb there should be 1 square foot of attic ventilation for every 300 square feet of finished ceiling surface. In addition, the attic ventilation should be split evenly between soffit vents and ridge vents.

So check out your attic ventilation system to see if it’s adequate for your home. In addition, make sure attic insulation is not blocking the soffit vents.

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For help on Attic Conversion and Attic Renovation Projects, see’s Attic Conversion Bid Sheet. The Attic Conversion Bid sheet will help to ensure that you hire the right contractor so that your attic conversion project is built correctly, on time and budget.

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