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Westerville Roofing: Article About Attic Ventilation

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The amount of ventilation that an attic has is important to the longevity, performance and effectiveness of the roofing system. Most attics have an extensive passive ventilation setup comprised of a variety of intake and exhaust vents that allow air to circulate without the need for electricity. These systems avoid common problems with mechanical vents like backdrafting and loss of energy efficiency. Experienced Westerville roofing contractors can help homeowners to determine if their attics have enough passive ventilation, and they can check if all of the vents are performing up to standard.

Attics have two sets of vents. The first is for the intake of fresh outdoor air. These openings are located low on the roof's sloped surfaces. In most cases, they are placed along the soffits, which are horizontal boards that make the exterior bottom portion of the triangular shape of a rooftop. Soffit vents can be individual openings or continuous strips. If they are single openings, there is usually one per rafter bay.

Exhaust fans are placed along the roof's peak so that the naturally rising hot air can escape to the outdoors. The attic generates its own currents as cooler air comes up through the intake vents and displaces the exiting hot air. Many homes are also outfitted with box or turtle vents, which are placed along the sloped surfaces of the rooftop.

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The roof may also have gable vents, which are situated in the corners of the roofing system. Because these vents are attractive to birds and other animals, they should be covered with wire mesh screening. A bird's nest between the vent's slats would obstruct essential air movements.

Another potential problem with passive vents is blocking due to misplaced insulation. This is most common with loose-fill insulation, which can easily be disturbed by the air currents in the attic or if someone goes up into the attic space. To prevent insulation from blocking the soffit vents, roofers often install baffles. The baffles are made of metal or plastic and extend through the exterior, though they are hidden upon completion of the roof's construction.

These two vent types must be in balance in order to achieve proper airflow in the attic space. To measure whether or not the movement of air is balanced, roofers can check the attic's humidity level, the condition of the sheathing and the air pressure. If there is an imbalance, it is better for it to be in favor of more soffit vents for intake of new air than for the exhaust vents.

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