What is a soffit vent?
Almost all homes have some sort of roof ventilation device installed on the roof. There are a variety of roof ventilation devices. Such devices include wind turbines, attic fans, ridge vents and boxed vents just to name a few. Soffit vents are roof ventilation devices installed underneath the eaves of a roof that extend past the warm wall line. When properly combined with other roof ventilation devices, soffit vents allow fresh air to enter into an attic creating air flow. They also reduce energy consumption and prolong the life span of the roof, A/C unit and building structure components.
There are two types of soffit vents: Continuous or individual. Continuous soffit vents have recently become the most popular choice because they allow the most fresh air into your attic. These devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, the common type is generally long and narrow. They can be easily combined together to create a continuous run.
Although continuous soffit vents have recently become popular, individual soffit vents remain the most common vent. They are a good choice to install in problematic areas such as a hot bedroom, kitchen or partitioned attics.
At first it may seem odd to add insulation for warmth then purposely allow cold air to enter the attic through vents. On the contrary, attic ventilation is the key to a durable and energy-efficient home. In the winter, allowing a natural flow of outdoor air to ventilate the attic helps the attic properly ventilate moisture caused by cooking, showering and general heating. If these elements are left unattended, you may end up with black mold which can spread throughout your attic. In the summer, natural air flow in a well-vented attic moves hot air out of the attic, protecting roof shingles and removing moisture. The attic insulation will resist heat transfer into the house during the summer and prevent warm air from leaking into the attic during the winter. This highly-effective system is called Four Seasonal Ventilation.
When installing attic insulation, it’s important not to cover the soffit vents. Doing so will block the air flow, defeating the purpose of your vents.
Attic fans cool hot attics by drawing in cooler outside air through soffit vents and pushing hot air outside. If you have a blocked soffit vents that is not well-sealed from the rest of the house, it will suck cool air up out of the house and into the attic. This will use more energy and make your air conditioner work harder, which will increase your summer utility bill. You don’t want your unfinished attic cooled by your air conditioner. During the winter, ventilation devices will similarly cause a draft that will pull warm air from the home into the attic. Almost all attic fans come equipped with a thermostat so they will not run as the temperature outside drops.
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