Do I Need to Ventilate a Sealed Attic?

At some point or another, you may have taken some time to properly seal your windows and doors (if they weren’t already). While doing so costs some money, you know that sealing your home will save you money in the long run. When air leaks through drafty windows and doors, your air conditioner or heater has to work extra hard to keep up, costing you money and wasting energy.

The same goes for your attic, preventing air leakage in your attic is exactly what you want. In fact, many new builds often feature attics that are like Alcatraz — nothing is getting in or out.

 The problem occurs when a sealed attic isn’t ventilated….

The Sealing Myth
The sealing myth isn’t exactly a myth, it’s more like a misinterpretation. Recently, people have become obsessed with energy efficiency, because it reduces your environmental impact and saves you money. Therefore, it’s no wonder sealing and insulation has become so popular.

When it comes to improving energy insulation, you can’t ignore your attic. The rest of your home can be airtight, but without sealing your attic, there will still be loads of air leakage. Naturally, people began stressing the importance of sealing your attic.

What people forget to mention is that the attic should be sealed and ventilated. An airtight attic with no ventilation may work against you. Rather than improving energy efficiency, it can make it even worse.

Why Your Sealed Attic Needs to Be Ventilated
Even the most sealed and insulated attics are not immune to huge temperature fluctuations due to outside conditions. If you have an unventilated, but sealed attic, go up there during a hot summer day and you’ll feel just how poorly your sealed attic is at maintaining a more temperate temperature.

  • Excessive heat during the summer: When your attic gets hot, this heat leaks into the rest of your home, raising temperatures. When this happens it hampers your comfort and forces your air conditioner to work even harder, driving up your electricity bill.
  • Heat during the winter: During the winter there’s another problem — ice dams. Even during the cold season heat will rise and accumulate in your sealed attic, warming the ceiling of your attic and patches of the roof, causing snow to melt and then refreeze. This is known as an ice dam. Ice dams can wreak havoc on your roof resulting in costly repairs.
  • Moisture: Moisture buildup will happen quickly in your sealed attic. Once this occurs, it’s only a matter of time before, mold, mildew, and rot set in.

The Solution
The solution is an easy and effective one: attic fans. Attic fans create active ventilation in your attic to exhaust the buildup of warm, moist air, keeping your attic dry and healthy year-round.