Attic ventilation and attic fans can seem like complicated additions to a home. Many homeowners may wonder if it’s actually necessary to have attic ventilation and if it will save them money. The bottom line is that most homes built in Phoenix don’t have enough or adequate ventilation in the attic. If you live in a hot climate like Arizona’s sonoran desert, adding attic ventilation to your home can be a huge benefit in more ways than one.
What Is Attic Ventilation?
It’s a well known fact that heat rises, so when your house heats up in the summer sun, any trapped heat is going to head straight for your attic. And with Phoenix summers frequently heating up into the triple digits for days on end, if the heat in your attic has no place to go, it can be like the equivalent of you wearing a wool hat; it’s going to keep the entire house warmer than it would be otherwise.
Attic ventilation helps to give that heat a place to go. There are several different types of ventilation, from attic fans that actively move the air around, to vents just beneath the ridge caps that work in conjunction with fans to circulate more air. In general, attic ventilation will help lower the air temperature in your attic, which in turn will help prevent heat from building up inside your home on hot summer days.
Why Attic Ventilation Is So Important
You may be thinking to yourself, but I never go up into or even use my attic! We have air conditioning that keeps the rest of the house comfortable; why would I want to invest in added ventilation for a space I never use?
The simple answer is that by keeping your attic cooler, you’re helping to lower the temperature in the rest of the house as well. This in turn means that your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard or use as much energy. In the long run, this translates into both lower energy bills and lower maintenance costs for your air conditioning unit.
But lower energy bills aren’t the only reason why you may want to consider investing in some attic ventilation.
What Attic Vents Do or Don’t Do
The air inside your attic can reach temperatures upwards of 180 degrees—far hotter than it actually gets outdoors. During the summer, it is like having an oven on top of your home that continues to work against your air conditioning’s efforts to cool your home. The result is excessive wear on your AC unit along with increased utility costs. While some roof vents allow a portion of the desert heat to escape by letting it rise, the hot air escape is minimal. You may think that insulation below the deck will stop any further heat transfer, but unfortunately, this just isn’t true. The heated surfaces will just transfer the heat to the insulation itself, plus the walls, beams, and any other surfaces they touch. This in turn heats up the air in your attic, and drives that heat down to places to escape which is the inside of your home. Remember, the rule of heat conductivity is that heat will always look for a cooler place to go. While heat rises, it’s still making its way into your cooler living spaces at the same time.
The ultimate solution is to relieve the heat load in your attic and the air pressure at the same time. The result is a more comfortable home, and an air conditioning unit that doesn’t have to work as hard. In turn, you also get lower energy bills because the passive vents have no moving parts and require no energy to work.
Watch How the Precision Home Performance package can drastically reduce the heat in your attic, to a temperature point that is only a few degrees warmer than your home. In addition to the significant energy cost savings, your home is also more comfortable in the high heat of summer.
Attic Ventilation Gives Your Roof a Longer Life
With the sun constantly beating down on the roof of your home, and your attic heating up, your roof and shingles are being scorched on a daily basis. By adding extra attic ventilation, you help cool down the area beneath the shingles. This in turn lowers their temperature and extends their lifespan, meaning that you won’t have to replace your roof as soon as you would otherwise.
And while the valley of the sun isn’t well known for cold winters, the temperatures can and do reach freezing or below at some points during the winter. When this happens, warm air and humidity escaping your home can build up on your roof, causing the shingles to frost over and freeze. If this happens often enough, it can produce an ice dam that damages your roof and makes it susceptible to leaks and other water damage when the rain finally comes.
Attic ventilation introduces cooler air into your attic where it mixes with the warm air on its way out. This lowers the probability that frost will form on your roof, which helps to extend the life of your roof.
Ventilate Your Attic
Adding additional ventilation to your attic is actually a fairly simple and straightforward process that we have a lot of experience in. Soffit vents and ridge caps can be installed in a very short amount of time, and when they’re combined with an attic fan, they can help to remove that super heated desert air from your attic that can create so many unnecessary bills. Make sure your attic is well ventilated before the next summer heat wave and keep cool.