Ventilation isn’t something that many homeowners think about during the winter. After all, most of us are trying to keep as much heat inside the house as possible, not create ways to let the cold air indoors. But that’s the tricky thing about ventilation—it’s absolutely critical to the prevent other problems, water problems in particular, from popping up.
No house is perfectly airtight. During the winter, moist, warm air from inside the home makes its way up into the attic through the small cracks and gaps found around light fixtures, outlets and attic access panels. Without sufficient ventilation in the attic, that moist air becomes trapped and starts to condense on the cold walls and roof. The resulting moisture can cause wood rot on boards and attic joists, and can encourage mold growth on dampened insulation.
A potentially much larger problem caused by poor ventilation is that of ice dams. When the attic is too warm (a direct result of insufficient ventilation), the roof heats up everywhere except along its edge, where air circulation tends to remain more constant. An ice dam occurs when melting snow on the roof refreezes along this cold edge. Then, as the snow continues to melt, the resulting water gets backed up behind the ice dam, and tends to leak inside the home, damaging ceilings and walls.
There are, of course, solutions to your home-ventilation issues. Some are easy do-it-yourself projects, while others require professional attention. Try these for starters:
- Make your ceiling as airtight as possible. Prevent air from entering your attic by sealing gaps around light fixtures and attic access panels.
- Increase the amount of insulation in your attic. This will keep warm air from entering the space.
- Have a roofing company determine if you need to add vents to your roof. This can help keep air circulating properly.
Since 1974, Jackson and Sons, Inc. has been helping customers throughout eastern North Carolina keep their homes safe and comfortable. If you think ventilation might be an issue in your home, contact our team of experts today. We’re on call and ready to help!
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ventilation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.