Unventilated Attic Vs. Ventilated Attic Comparison
Attics are responsible for many of the air leaks in a house, causing it to use too much energy for heating and cooling. There are a variety of causes, but the results are the same: uncontrolled air coming in and going out, causes wasted money and reduces your comfort level.
Air in the Attic
The reason air can make such a big difference in the attic is due to a simple scientific fact: warm air rises. The result is warmer air in the attic and at a higher pressure than other parts of the house.
When the weather gets cold, the air indoors is continually being driven up and then out from the top of the house, through the attic. In summer when the weather gets warmer, colder air, which is denser, sinks to the lower levels and filters outside. This pulls hot air from above.
The effect of these scientific processes both in summer and winter on your attic is that it directly affects your comfort level and the amount of energy you use. Dealing with these drawbacks can save you money and keep the temperature pleasant year round.
Vented or Unvented?
When you decide to improve your attic, you have two choices: to leave the attic unvented or to install vents. Here is a look at both.
Vented attics have planned openings for air circulation. These can be as simple as holes under the eaves, slot vents beneath an overhang or louvered apertures at the end of gables. The goal is to move air through the attic to keep it cooler in summer and stop moisture buildup throughout the year. Its drawback is that air that has been warmed or cooled can escape, which uses up energy inefficiently.
Unvented attics have no openings. Instead connections with the outside are sealed and the roof underneath is thoroughly insulated. The air flows freely between your attic and the rest of the house. Uncontrolled air movement with the outside is controlled, saving energy. One big drawback is that air can become stagnant.
The Benefit of Ventilated Attics
With a ventilated attic, you need to be sure the sealing is professionally done. This involves the investment of hiring a contractor, a cost-effective method of saving money long term. There are many areas in an attic that are complicated to properly seal, like knee walls, odd angles and gaps and cracks in difficult-to-get-at areas. Contractors have the expertise to handle these.
It is important to have an attic fan installed for proper ventilation. This moves the air, prevents moisture buildup and helps spread heating and cooled air efficiently.
Talk to a contractor about the pros and cons of working on your attic. The expense of proper insulation and sealing can save you many dollars each money from improved energy efficiency.
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