Tuesday, July 26th, 2022 by Cassie Saines
Growing up, the house I lived in had a finished attic. It was always too hot or too cold up there. I just figured it was based on a lack of airflow from the HVAC system. So, when my husband and I purchased our first house in 2019, we didn’t think much about the temperature upstairs. The HVAC unit was old, so we figured when it died we’d just buy a better one and that would improve the upstairs temperature.
On top of that, it was spring when we walked through the house with our inspector. He did warn us that it would get hotter, but we couldn’t really gauge just how hot the 2nd floor would get in the summer. Three years and one child later, the summer temperature is very apparent.
Upstairs we have bedrooms and an unfinished portion of the attic where I store my crafting supplies. We always keep that room closed off from the rest of the upstairs because the temperature differential is easily 5-10 degrees colder or hotter. One day this past summer, I went into the unfinished portion of our attic to get something. The heat hit me in the face like a brick wall. As I walked across the room, I noticed some outside light entering. I knew that couldn’t be good. When I looked to see where the light was coming from, I found that the decking of my roof had come apart from the rest of the house.
I knew right then and there I would need a roof repair contractor. My first choice was, of course, Klaus Roofing of Cincinnati. For training purposes, my husband and I met with Kent and Jeff. They found many things on my roof that the previous roof installers had done wrong, but the one that struck me most was the lack of proper ventilation. Then Jeff explained to me that the temperature differential was so great because my attic was improperly ventilated.
During our presentation, Kent explained to us that there are multiple types of ventilation systems a roof can have. Klaus Roofing of Cincinnati uses passive systems, meaning those that don’t use electricity to remove warm air from the house. Some of these systems we use, others we do not. The most common types of passive ventilation systems are ridge vents, box vents, off ridge vents, gable-end vents, and soffit vents.
I’ll start with soffit vents because they're a bit different than the others. Soffit vent grilles are located parallel to the eaves. They work as an inlet vent to bring fresh air in. This helps push the warm air up so it can escape through higher ventilation systems. They work in tandem with all of the passive ventilation systems.
This is the type of system my roof has. It is fitted with six box vents altogether. This type of ventilation system is installed just below the ridge vent of the roof. When roofers install it, they cut a circular hole in the decking. A metal box is installed over the hole. The box prevents bugs, animals, and rain from getting in.
Box vents work but, since they aren’t at the peak of the roof, they aren’t the most efficient system. As Jeff pointed out during the inspection, my vents, in particular, are worse than average because the builders blocked the vent with styrofoam, so even less air can escape. No wonder it’s so hot upstairs!
Off Ridge Vents
Off ridge vents are very similar to box vents. The biggest difference here is that they are used primarily on commercial roofs and metal roofs. They can be used on residential properties as well.
These vents are installed just below the peak of your gable. To prevent critters from entering, the vent is closed off with a mesh screen. These vents act as an intake and output for air. The amount of air that enters is based on the wind and temperature.
Last, but certainly not least, is our champion, the ridge vent. Ridge vents are installed at the very peak of the roof. Because it’s at the very top of your roof, it maximizes the amount of hot air that escapes. Ridge caps are placed over the vent to allow the air to escape. Our sleek design is made to blend in with the rest of the roof.
In the very near future, I am proud to say that I will be putting a Klaus on my house. During the inspection, multiple nail pops were found. Thankfully, Jeff was able to nail them back down and prevent further leakage until the roof is replaced. My estimate includes replacing the damaged decking in at least four places. They’ll also improve my ventilation. Their plans include replacing my box vents with ridge vents. They predict that my temperatures should stabilize and that I won’t have drastic differences upstairs. That will ease the pressure on my HVAC unit making it more energy efficient. Who wouldn’t be excited about that?
If your house is anything like mine, this July's heat has been rough on your energy bill. Do yourself a favor and call us. We’ll provide you with a free estimate and a solution to your sweltering attic.
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