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What Makes A Great Ventilation System?

Proper attic ventilation systems allow a continual flow of outside air through the attic, protecting the efficiency of the insulation and helping to lower temperatures in the living space.  

Gregor Roofing Company realizes ventilation is an important component to your roofing system.  You can trust us to make sure proper ventilation is in place on your new roof, protecting your investment for the long term.

Proper roof ventilation consists of a balance between air intake (at your eaves or soffits) and air exhaust (at or near your roof ridge).

The U.S. FHA (Federal Housing Administration) recommends a minimum of at least 1 square foot of attic ventilation (both intake and exhaust) for every 300 square feet of attic space. 

Why Take Risks?

It is estimated that 9 out of 10 homes in North America do not have proper attic ventilation. Why? Because most people are unaware that attic ventilation can impact the longevity of their entire home!

In the summer, improper ventilation can cause attic heat to build in excess of 160°F. This super-heated air eventually penetrates the ceiling insulation into the living area below.

Types of damage that can result include:

  • Premature aging of your roofing system (“fried” shingles)
  • Warping, cracking, or breaking down of wood framing
  • Damage to siding, exterior or interior paint, and wallpaper

A properly ventilated attic can help reduce the load on your air conditioner by moving the super-heated air out of your attic before it builds up and causes damage.

In the winter, various household appliances, bathtubs, showers, and cooking vapors can contribute to excess moisture build-up. Improperly ventilated attics will allow this moisture to collect and cling to the underside of the roof. The moisture will condense and fall, soaking the attic insulation and reducing its efficiency.

Additional structural damage can include:

  • Roof deck warping and rotting of the wood frame
  • Mildew growth
  • Buckling of shingles and felt

Preventing Ice Dams

Finally, attics should be properly ventilated to help prevent ice dams in cold northern climates. During our tough Pittsburgh winters, ice and snow on a roof will melt and run down the deck to the cooler eaves. This run-off can re-freeze, creating an ice dam that may force water back up under the shingles and leak into your home — causing hundreds or thousands of dollars of damage to your ceilings and walls. Adequate attic ventilation reduces the amount of initial melting that occurs on your roof, thereby reducing the chance that ice dams will form.

Roof Ventilation Problems

Just like water, trapped air can cause problems for homes. The difference is, it can be a lot harder to see whether or not you have poor ventilation — it’s pretty obvious if your basement is flooding, for example, but it’s not always readily apparent if your attic airflow is constricted.

Today’s homes are more airtight than ever, and while this can be beneficial from an energy consumption standpoint, it can also cause serious issues if ventilation isn’t properly managed.

Without the right kind of ventilation system, your home can trap pollutants like carbon monoxide and potentially damaging moisture.  Moisture produced in the home from normal activities like showering and cooking needs to be effectively handled before it can cause mold, water damage, and potential structural issues.

How Much Does it Cost to Add Home Ventilation Systems

There are a variety of ways you can add or improve the ventilation systems throughout your house, and there’s generally a solution for just about every budget. For example, if you need more air circulation in the kitchen or dining room, you might be able to replace the oven’s exhaust hood for a higher-powered fan.

Similarly, upgrading bathroom fans can encourage healthier airflow. Roof and attic fans are a common choice to help ventilate a stifling attic, and home, by extension.  Roof ventilation is another effective way to manage your home’s humidity, and these can often be installed for a cost between $300 and $600 depending on the type of roof fan and the installation requirements.

Installation costs for home ventilation systems can cost between $300 and $600 depending on the fan model and installation specifications. It may be that a simple ceiling fan could improve your home’s ventilation system, and these can generally be installed for around $500. Adding a whole house fan can be a very efficient way to increase home ventilation, and are typically between $700 and $1000 to install.

Should I Repair or Replace Home or Roof Ventilation Systems?

Like so many home-related questions, this one depends on factors like the home’s age, the type and condition of the existing ventilation system, and the degree of problems you’re currently experiencing related to poor air circulation.

What to Look For:

There are a few signs that can indicate it’s time to replace your home’s ventilation system:

  • Excessive mold, mildew, window condensation, general moisture throughout the home
  • Expensive or rising utility bills
  • Residents experiencing respiratory symptoms like cough, asthma, or irritation
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper

If you’re noticing some of these issues at home, but not all, you may be able to update your home’s existing ventilation infrastructure.  Adding an attic or roof fan, for example, or having your furnace and air conditioner serviced can sometimes resolve minor ventilation issues and prevent too much moisture being trapped inside to cause trouble.

If you’re seeing signs around your home that it’s not properly ventilated but you’re not sure what to do next, it’s always a good idea to get a professional opinion. 

The right airflow and ventilation balance in your home helps prevent both minor home headaches and major, costly repairs. If you have any questions about home ventilation, roof and attic fans, moisture problems, and more, our roofing and ventilation professionals can help you navigate the process of home ventilation system maintenance. Call 724-969-4145 or send us a message: info@gregorroofing.com