What are soffit vents?
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 lifespan of the roof, A/C unit and building structural components. 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.
There are two types of soffit vents: Continuous and individual. Continuous soffit vents have recently become the most popular choice because they allow the most amount of fresh air to enter your attic. These devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, the most 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 widely used soffit vents on the market. 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 soffit 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. We call this highly-effective attic ventilation system 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 any kind of roof vents.
Attic fans cool hot attics by drawing in cooler outside air through soffit vents and pushing hot air outside. If you have blocked soffit vents that are 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 shut off automatically as the temperature outside drops. To remedy this issue, we recommend investing in an attic tent also known as an attic stairway insulator.
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