It may seem counter-intuitive to add insulation to keep out the air then install vents to let it in, but the proper combination of insulation and attic ventilation is key. Energy Star explains why: “In the winter, allowing a natural flow of outdoor air to ventilate the attic helps keep it cold, which reduces the potential for ice damming (snow that melts off a roof from an attic that is too warm and then re-freezes at the gutters, causing an ice dam that can damage the roof). Proper insulation and air sealing also keeps attics cold in winter by blocking the entry of heat and moist air from below. In the summer, natural air flow in a well-vented attic moves super-heated air out of the attic, protecting roof shingles and removing moisture. The insulation will resist heat transfer into the house.”
Our Energy Report Card will tell you the type and quantity of ventilation present in the attic of your home. There are several different types of vents and fans. The best vent style will depend on the design and layout of your home. Here are some of the types of vents:
Box Vents are static vents that are installed over a hole in the roof. They can be made out of metal or plastic and use natural convection to allow hot air and moisture to escape.
Wind Turbines or “Whirly Birds” have fans that turn when the wind is blowing. The movement of the fan pulls air and moisture from the attic.
Power Vents have motorized fans that drive out air and moisture. Some of these have thermostats that trigger the fan to turn on when the attic hits a certain tempertature.
Ridge Vents are another type of static vent that run over the entire horizontal ridge of the roof. Combined with soffit vents, these form a very efficient ventilation system.
Soffit Vents run along the soffit, or lowest edge of the roof and allow air flow into the attic, forming a flowing system with upper vents.
Gable Vents are unlike other types of attic vents, as they are meant to be seen, installed in the gable of the roof for both function and form.
Solar Attic Fans are power vents that use solar power instead of electric.