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atticdan 06-17-2012 02:51 PM

Attic venting
Hello all. I'm from Buffalo NY and have question about attic temperature and proper ventilation. I live in a ranch style home with all soffit vents and a ridge vent across 3/4 of my roof line. I recently noticed that the temperature in my attic was very hot. I checked my soffits to make sure they are vented correctly and noticed that the previous home owner had just put vinyl soffits over top of the old wood soffits with no vents cut in.

I then purchased 12 - 4 inch disc style vents and drilled directly through the vinyl and wood so I could insert them equally around the entire perimeter of the house. After a few days I still noticed it was still hot in my attic. I placed a thermometer in the attic and on an 85 degree day my attic temperature is between 100 and 110 degrees.

Is this normal?

gregzoll 06-17-2012 04:04 PM

A 100 to 110 is fine. Your venting is doing its job. Now of course, it does not hurt to make sure there is enough insulation up there, and the soffit vents are clear, to allow for proper airflow.

Adding any other vents, can cause problems.

shazapple 06-17-2012 06:20 PM

Those discs don't flow very much air, less than 1/4 of their area because of the mesh and whatnot. You'd be better off with a continuous soffit vent.

Knucklez 06-17-2012 09:16 PM

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huh.. i have same issue, but no soffit vents at all. house is 125yrs old, so been like that for a while. only 2 roof vents which is probably not enough. i was thinking of doing some vents all around soffit and then adding 2 more roof vents. then replace all the old style wool insulation with new style pink. i want to lower the temp of the attic because it makes the 2nd floor really hot and its hard to sleep at night.

gregzoll 06-17-2012 09:30 PM

Knucklez, mine gets about 105, but it is insulated to keep the living area on the main floor cool. If your second floor is not getting enough airflow, it may be that you either need a duct booster along with better return venting, or possibly may need to look into a second hvac system or mini-split to serve the second floor.

As long as you have proper venting on the roof, and a way for it to pull air, it will work. Not very many old homes, especially at 125 have soffits, unless they had large overhangs. Usually old homes leak enough air, that you only need a way to pull air out of the attic space, either through ridge venting, or vents placed along the long axis of the roof, close to the ridge.

Knucklez 06-17-2012 09:38 PM

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it must basically work somehow to survive this many years.. so maybe the air flow in the attic is not the problem. i do have soffits though so i can add venting there if needed.

i think the air flow is good because i put my hand over the 2 vents i have on 2nd floor (wish there were more) and the flow is decent. i would say 50% the power i feel when same test but on the first floor of house. but still there is a MAJOR temp difference between 1st and 2nd floor. feels like 10 degrees or more, never measured. i think it is from heat from attic .. just a guess. like a heated ceiling. with the old insulation maybe it is time to upgrade?

i think adding some duct boosting is a great idea!! need one that auto turns on when air flow is detected (only needed in summer time to help air conditioning).

there is no cold air return on second floor.. that's what the stairs are for (cold air return is "near" bottom of stairs on main floor)

gregzoll 06-17-2012 09:43 PM

Do like I did, and get one of the Weather Forecasters from radioshack that uses remote module sensors, so that you can measure three points, along with where the main unit is sitting. As for the duct booster, it is also possible that your duct work originally was undersized for the main trunk going upstairs, if your hvac sits in the basement.

There are also thermostats that are out there, that allow you to place a remote unit in a upstairs, or another room, and control the system from there. Problem is, downstairs could be freezing, and upstairs could be taking forever to cool.

There are other tricks out there. Like placing UV film over all of the windows, along with keeping drapes closed. Getting more insulation in the attic, sealing any air leaks to the living spaces. Insulating the walls, installing a attic ventilator to help pull hot air quicker out of the attic, etc.

Knucklez 06-17-2012 09:46 PM

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sorry, i don't understand what you are trying to do with your weather station?

Gary in WA 06-17-2012 10:25 PM

atticdan, have you figured your required NFVA yet?

The 4" round vents need to be installed 2 per foot of soffit to meet the each side to equal the of ridge vent. Only of NFVA:

Did you air seal the attic?

How much/what type insulation is there now?


Knuklez, you may want to start your own thread rather than hi-jack this one.

gregzoll 06-18-2012 07:29 AM


Originally Posted by Knucklez (Post 945793)
sorry, i don't understand what you are trying to do with your weather station?

Get an idea of the temp and humidity up in my attic, to make sure that it is not getting overly hot up there. The hotter it is, the more uncomfortable the house gets.

atticdan 06-18-2012 08:20 PM

They sell the grate style vents for wood soffits. Would I be able to use those on my vinyl soffit?

Duckweather 06-18-2012 08:37 PM

If you want to cool the attic, Agent Orange and the other blue box sell thermostatically controlled fans you can install high in an attic wall. since heat rises it will also pull cooler air up from a lower floor as it warms and rises. They have them in several CFM sizes for under a hundred to about two hundred dollars depending on size, It doesn't cure the problem, it just helps the symptoms.

Gary in WA 06-19-2012 11:27 PM

Best to use continuous intake soffit venting installed right next to the fascia board for optimum air pressures. A powered exhaust fan may pull air from the closest/easiest source- the ridge vents. Air seal and insulate to control the heat.


JetSwet 06-20-2012 05:08 AM


Originally Posted by GBR in WA
Best to use continuous intake soffit venting installed right next to the fascia board for optimum air pressures. A powered exhaust fan may pull air from the closest/easiest source- the ridge vents. Air seal and insulate to control the heat.


A powered exhaust fan with no soffit vents can or will pull the air from inside the home if not insulated properly.

gregzoll 06-20-2012 07:35 AM

Tell me about it duckweather. Without one, my attic would have been around 130 yesterday. At 5 last night, it was 95 and the fan was still doing its job.

I do not get any air pull from the conditioned part of the home, since I have sealed the attic hatch, and any other places that air used to move up to the attic. You just have to think proactive when approaching this stuff, and take it a bit at a time. Do something, sit back and see what it does, then go for the next part.

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