Bob Vila Radio: Does Attic Ventilation Help or Hurt?

Confusion reigns over the question of whether attic ventilation promotes, works against, or makes no difference in terms of energy efficiency. As is the case in so many questions relating to homes, the answer depends.

By Bob Vila | Updated Feb 2, 2015 12:27 PM

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Does ventilating your attic make sense? To a large extent, the answer to that question depends on the climate where you live.

Attic Ventilation


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Listen to BOB VILA ON ATTIC VENTILATION or read the text below:

In cold climates, attic vents help get rid of the warm, moist air that rises from living space below. If you don’t give it a way out, it can condense on the underside of roof sheathing, causing rot. Vents that keep attic air cooler also guard against ice dams. That’s when warm attic air heats the underside of the sheathing and melts any snow that’s above. As the snow melts, the water trickles down to the colder eaves where it refreezes, forming a dam that backs up water under your shingles. Bad news for your roof!

In warmer climates, of course, none of that’s a problem. Even so, attic ventilation does allow hot air to escape, helping to keep your home cooler. Most roofing professionals agree that, regardless of where you live, at least some attic ventilation is a good idea. If you’re still unsure, though, ask around for a couple of trusted contractors in your area and get their advice.

Bob Vila Radio is a daily radio spot carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.