How your attic ventilation affects your utility bills and roofing system.


One of the most overlooked areas for most homeowners is ensuring they have the correct ventilation and airflow in their attic.  When living in Northern Colorado, specifically Greeley, roofing companies and homeowners need to pay attention to attic ventilation as it especially affects the efficiency of the roofing system.

It’s important that your roof has the ability to breathe correctly, which is the process of allowing for airflow in and out of the attic.  Your attic temperature should stabilize as close to the outside temperature as possible.  Trouble can arise in all months of the year, but typically the hot, summer and cold, winter seasons bring out the most issues with improper ventilation.

Excessive heat in the summer will increase the attic temperature from the sun beating on the roof during the long days.  That additional heat underneath the roof can cause premature aging of the shingles and can cause the sheathing to warp as well.  Also, if your attic doesn’t have proper insulation and ventilation, the hot air can leak into your home which could cause your air conditioning bill to skyrocket.

In the winter months, the opposite happens.  The warm air escaping from the home causes the underlayment and decking of the roof to heat up, melting the snow above.  As the bottom layer of snow turns to water it runs down to the gutters and will pool up under the existing snow, forming ice dams.  These dams will cause additional melted snow to run back up, underneath the shingles because the water has nowhere else to go.  This can cause major issues for the homeowner.

In both conditions, additional humidity is created in the attic space, which is never a good thing.  The humid air will condense into a liquid, which then can enter the home through vents or other metal surfaces.

So, how can you tell if you have an issue with your roofing ventilation system?  The easiest thing to do is to visually inspect your roof from the ground.  If you see anything that looks out of sorts, then you may have an issue.  Some common things to look for are:

–       A buildup of ice along the edge of your roof

–       Frost buildup near your gutters

–       Wavy or rippled shingles on your roof


Additionally, unexplained increases in your HVAC costs could be a sign that you have a ventilation problem.

Ventilation technology is constantly changing and positive advancements are making it much easier to ensure that your roof is breathing correctly.  The benefits of proper ventilation have been known in the roofing industry for decades.  However, there has been a recent increase in awareness as more research comes out as to the detrimental effects that improper ventilation can have on a roofing system.

If you think you may have a problem, any reputable roofing company will be able to help you determine the severity of the issue.  At a minimum, a contractor can perform a simple calculation that can be used to make sure your ventilation system meets the required code for your area.  If the ventilation is insufficient, sometimes there are simple fixes like cleaning a clogged vent or possibly adding an additional intake vent.  In the case of a complex repair is needed, your homeowner’s insurance may be able to cover some more major changes. 

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