Inadequate attic ventilation leads to extreme hot and cold differences that can distract from the comfort of your entire home, increase utility bills, shorten the lifespan of your HVAC system, and destroy your attic and roofing materials. Proper attic ventilation provides a continuous, high volume of air movement, which improves air circulation and prevents extreme temperature differences. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of attic fans, the cost attached to them, and what fan models you can choose from.

What Is Attic Ventilation?

Attic ventilation permits air flow to circulate throughout your attic, which in turn sustains the desired temperatures of your building.  In the summer, it enables moisture and heat to escape, thus reducing heat buildup and cooling costs. In the winter, it keeps moist air out, which helps prevent water leaks and material damage caused by ice formations.

In colder weather, attic ventilation releases moisture that travels from the conditioned space to the attic, and it maintains a cold roof temperature, which prevents ice dams created by melting snow. Melted snow is caused by heat loss from the conditioned space, and when this moisture drips onto the eaves, it can refreeze as ridges of ice that allows water to back up on the underside of the roof.

In warmer weather, the main purpose of attic ventilation is to divert sun-generated heat from the attic to decrease the building cooling load.

Installing an attic fan or a few vents makes sure your attic is well-ventilated, which helps decrease your building’s cooling load and in turn, increases your building’s energy efficiency.

The Benefits of Attic Ventilation

A well-ventilated attic provides numerous benefits, including increases your whole house energy efficiency.

Improved climate

Improved air ventilation in the summer months will help prevent hot, standing air from flooding through, which will reduce the temperatures in your attic and in turn improve the overall climate in your living space. It will also reduce the temperatures of your interior ceilings and attic floor, which helps reduce energy costs.

Cooler air flow

Another benefit of attic ventilation is the reduced temperature in your attic will also help your air condition unit by keeping the ductwork and the air inside cooler, resulting in cooler air flow through your HVAC system and reduce strain on your unit.

Without proper air circulation, each time it snows, the heated air in the attic will warm the roof and melt the snow. The melted snow will eventually drip onto the eaves where it can refreeze as ice slabs under the overhang. When this occurs, it can cause water to flood under the shingles into the attic and down to the ceiling and cause leaking into your home.

exhaust vent

Prevents moisture and condensation

Proper ventilation also prevents warm, moist air from accumulating inside your building during the winter months. When the warm air in your attic comes in contact with cooler air beneath the roof, it enables moisture and condensation to build up in your attic, which can eventually lead to mold and mildew.

Prolongs the life of your roof

Lastly, good attic ventilation helps prolong the life of your roof. When your attic gets hot, the shingles beneath your roof can overheat and, in time, become fragile and ineffective. By decreasing your attic temperatures, you can prolong the life of your roof and save on repair and replacement costs.

How Much Does Attic Ventilation Cost?

Installing an attic fan can reduce the accumulation of heat in your attic, which can get intense during warmer months and damage your roof materials as well as the contents stored in your attic. It can also increase your energy bills.

When installing an attic fan, installation costs vary depending on the location, quality of the system, and if you require add-ons. However, reports show that the average cost to install an attic fan typically ranges between $545-$1,200 for quality materials.

Your attic condition will also contribute to your installation cost. For example, if it is challenging to access an area in your attic, it could increase your costs. If moisture has succumbed to the floorboards in your attic, it could be dangerous to manoeuver around your attic, which means your installation technician will have to be cautious, which could make your project take longer, and thus cost more.

Your attic fan can either be installed on the gallery wall or on the roof. Since installing a fan on the roof involves cutting a hole in the roof in addition to installing shingles and other materials in incomparable positions, it typically generates higher installation costs. Your costs will also depend on if you’re choosing to install attic fans in place of an existing vent, in which case you will only need to widen that opening to fit the fan, as opposed to cutting a hole in the wall, which can increase your costs.

Choosing Your Attic Fan

Drawing of different types of attic ventilation

There are a wide range of fan models available for both wall and roof installations, but you must also consider the caulking and plywood needed for your installation. You will also require a few electrical items, which will also contribute to your cost. Some models include a humidistat, which helps to control excess attic humidity, in your attic, which can cause peeling paint, mildew, mold, decaying shingles, and warped floor boards and beams. Most models also include a thermostat, which controls when the fan turns on and off.

Soffit vents or ridge vents provide non-mechanical ventilation with relative effectiveness. They are installed at the tallest part of the roof and provide openings that can help remove hot air out of the attic. A turbine vent, which is a pipe that extends above the top of the roof and is capped with a turbine that rotates when the wind blows, can also be installed to assist with ventilation. The average cost to install these vents costs about $8 to purchase at the warehouse and around $35-$50 each to install professionally.

Installing proper attic ventilation can greatly decrease your energy costs. However, be sure to employ a professional that understands the requirements of your attic space as well as the local building codes, regulations, and rules in your area, for best results.