What Type Of Attic Ventilation Is Best?

attic ventilationWhat might feel like a normal, balmy Los Angeles area day to you, can cause sweltering temperatures in your attic. Good attic ventilation controls the temperature to keep your home comfortable as well as protect it from damage.

Ridge-and-Soffit Systems

A ridge-and-soffit system is one of the most common methods for ventilating an attic because it works well with most attic designs. A ridge vent is installed along the peak, or ridge, of the roof to let out rising hot air. Soffit vents are installed in the undersides of the eaves, spaces called soffits, to take in cool outdoor air. This system allows for a continuous flow of air, which keeps the attic at an acceptable temperature and removes excess humidity. If your attic has either ridge or soffit vents, but not both, your ventilation won’t be as effective.

Gable Vents and Other Options

Gable vents, which are installed on opposite ends of the attic walls and usually in the gables, are another common choice. These allow air to flow through the attic whenever the wind is blowing. They’re often a better choice for particularly steep roofs. Because they require at least some wind to work, though, they’re not as effective as a ridge-and-soffit attic ventilation system.

Box (turtle) and dome vents are similar to ridge vents in that they’re installed near the roof peak to allow rising hot air to escape. With these, you’ll still need soffit vents for fresh air intake.

Power vents include motorized fans that draw air out of the attic. They run on your home’s electricity or solar power, depending on the model. Some are equipped with a thermostat and humidistat, so they turn on only when needed. These are often a good choice for an attic with a complex shape, but you’ll need to monitor the system regularly to ensure it’s still working.

Because no two houses are exactly the same, attic ventilation design is something of an art. For the best results, work with a professional who understands the pros and cons of every ventilation option.