Question: Why is attic venting important? Don’t I want to keep air out of the unused attic?
Attic venting provides an avenue of escape for warm, moist air created in the home. This moisture, if allowed to condense on insulation or structural components, can cause mold, rot and possible damage. Attic venting, when installed properly, reduces attic temperatures in the summer and winter. In the summer, this helps reduce the cost of cooling the home. In the winter, it helps prevent ice dams and damage to gutters. As the sun beats down on the exposed roof in warmer months, temperatures in an improperly vented attic can climb much higher than temperatures in the air conditioned spaces of the home. The hotter air in the space directly above the living space can make the air conditioner work harder. In the winter, ice dams can block gutters and other drainage areas. The blockage prevents water from flowing away from the roof, leading to possible leakage. Venting the roof keeps the attic cooler, helping to prevent the freeze and thaw action causing ice dams.
Providing access is available, a home inspector will look at both the interior and exterior of the venting system, reviewing the condition of the vents, possible moisture leakage, the adequacy of the system for the space being vented and the type of vents. Generally, combinations of high and low vents allow the air to continuously move in to the attic along the soffit and out through the top of the roof.
By inspecting the attic, your GPI professional can also look for spots where insulation may be covering the vents, preventing air flow. A temperature gauge is another way for the inspector to check attic ventilation. A well-vented attic should be about the same temperature as the outdoor air.
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