Most of us keep our attics empty. Besides the occasional Christmas tree and random junk that you have forgotten about by now (seriously, it’s time to throw away those old rugs), the only item you should keep in your attic is the proper amount of insulation like we discussed on the last blog post.
After all, your attic is the thermometer of your home. It keeps the temperature steady. Once it starts to act up, the rest of the home is at risk due to the fluctuating temperatures and damage that can be caused from not paying attention to what’s going on upstairs.
Here’s something to consider: Even though you add insulation to your home to keep it warm in the winter, you want that cold air circulating up there to have somewhere to go. You want to keep it flowing to keep the home energy-efficient. By letting the cold air pass through that empty space, you allow your home to breathe, which can prevent ice damming in the winter.
What is ice damming?
Ice damming is snow that melts off of the roof of a warm attic and then re-freezes above the gutters, which causes the ice dam. When an ice dam gets big enough, it begins to melt and the water can seep underneath the shingles. If you let it go, it will drip into the insulation, ceiling, and exterior walls, causing a lot of damage.
Remember when we said insulation could last forever? That’s contingent upon no water leaking down into the insulation, like when an ice dam forms.
Of course, while you can handle ice dams when they form by chipping away at them, nobody wants to risk an injury in the winter, or spend more time out in the cold than what is absolutely necessary. So the only true measure of prevention is to ensure your attic is properly ventilated.
An easy way to do this is to install attic vents near the roof’s peak and soffit vents in the eaves. If your roof is still in relatively good shape and you just want to add some venting, there are numerous sites on the web that will show you how to add venting to your roof. It’s not a difficult project, but it will take a full day. (Make sure you remove any insulation that might be inside this new vent.)
Another option is to add a ventilation fan. While the jury is out on whether or not these make a difference, their purpose is to take warm or humid air out of the house and suck in fresh air from somewhere else, thus, replacing that stagnant air. Combined with proper ventilation in your attic, they really do a number on the air you don’t want in your house.
Of course, if you are in the market for a new roof, we will make sure your roof and attic work in tandem to keep the house warm or cool, depending upon the season, as well as ensure your insulation is up to snuff. The roof and the attic are not the sexiest parts of the home, but upkeep is essential to keep your house in good working order.