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Old 08-21-2010, 11:54 PM   #1
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No soffit vents needed?


Hello all. I recently bought a Victorian cottage (built in 1905) in upstate New York (colder winter, relatively mild summers). The area of the attic is approximately 500 sq ft, and it only has two opposing gable vents (about 1 sq ft each). There is a gable vent fan on one end (in the appropriate direction) set to 100 degrees fahrenheit. I am looking to add about a foot of blown-in insulation to bring me up to an r value of 49; however, I am not sure what I should do with the soffits. Right now, there is blown-in insulation in the soffits (which are not vented). I though of installing soffit vents, but the shape of the roof leaves very little overhang. A contractor said that we can only put 3" circular vents between every rafter. This would not look good at all on this old house. Also, I've read conflicting advice about using soffit and gable vents together.

The attic gets warm during the day (in the summer), but the fan seems to cool things off when it kicks on. Also, the attic is cool when the sun goes down. It seems like the current ventilation might be good enough for this small attic. Any thoughts?

Should I remove the insulation in the soffit area even though there are no vents there?

Thanks for your help.

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Old 08-22-2010, 12:50 AM   #2
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No soffit vents needed?


No need to mess with the soffits if the existing gable vents are adequate. You are correct, it's one or the other. The premise of gable vents is one acts as intake, the other as exhaust.

If it ain't broke...

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Old 08-22-2010, 12:56 PM   #3
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No soffit vents needed?


Thanks for the reply. This is my inclination: to leave it be. The house is over 100 yrs old, and there is no mold, water damage, rot, etc in the attic (all original wood - except the sheathing). I am in a cooler climate, and the sq. footage of the attic is small (500 sq ft), so I think I'm better off not tinckering with things. I'll see what happens after I add the foot of insulation.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:24 PM   #4
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No soffit vents needed?


If it makes you feel more confident, I just added insulation to my parents house this last year. Same climate as you, Eastern Washington. Same setup, built in 1903, gable vents, no soffit or roof vents. Added 12" insulation and they were amazed at how much more comfortable the house was. The venting has been working just fine for the last 100 years so didn't see any reason to modify it. If I were you I would only possibly be concerned about the size of the existing gable vents. 12x12 seems awful small.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:30 PM   #5
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No soffit vents needed?


I would install a product by attic vent called the edge vent. your main concern if doing any soffit venting would be to install insulation chutes so you don't block the airflow coming from the eaves. You would then also need to install a ridge vent or some turle vents on the ridge and close up the attic vents.
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