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mcfarton 04-16-2012 03:25 PM

(noob) attic ventalation
I would like to say hi and I am new here. I am a member on other forums and know how annoying it can be when a noob starts with a stupid question. I am an avid DIYer and have found some helpful info on this site. i did search for my answer but could not find it so....

Here is my situation, I have a very very hot attic, I live in Maryland just outside DC. I have a 3 level town home. The floor of the attic is going to be ruffly 27 x 17ish (i am close) I have a suffit and ridge vent system. I have replaced the soffit and facia in the rear of the home when we first purchased it. I installed the same number of vents that were there before. I know that my soffit vents are not blocked. The ridge vent is probably 3/4 of the length of the house. It gets well above 120 degrees in the attic, and makes it hard to keep the upper level of my home comfortable.

I have read on here and from other sources that it is taboo to add fan (electric or solar) when there is a ridge vent. Is this a firm rule? Do I need to add more soffit vents? I know that a gable vent is out of the question cause I have a center unit. Should I just sell my house? Or maybe I should sleep in the basement? I am open to all suggestions, thanks for your time

I will post pics as soon as i figure out how to

mcfarton 04-16-2012 03:39 PM

4 Attachment(s)
sorry for the weird cropping but i had to do it so i could upload the pics

mcfarton 04-16-2012 03:39 PM

our lovely birch tree is in the way of some better pics

gregzoll 04-16-2012 04:00 PM

From hot, what is the average temperature and humidity levels in there? You really need some kind of monitoring device up there to allow you to see the temps, than just go up there and feel the temp with your body.

I use a Radioshack Weather Forecaster with remote sensors, so that I can see my attic temp at any time. Before we installed our power roof vent, it would get up to over 100 easily on a hot day. The warmest I have seen it get up there now in ours, is 98, then within a couple of hours it cools down below 90 and continues to drop after the sun goes down. Only reason we installed one, is because our attic has poor ventilation, because it is a older home.

With yours, I would be checking to make sure that there is no insulation material blocking the soffit areas, and that the ridge vent has had the sheathing cut underneath to allow it to work properly. Also, there should be enough insulating material across the ceiling area, vents, electrical entrance points sealed in the attic space. Make sure that bath vents have a flapper to not allow outside air to enter the home when the fan is not running, along with not allowing Stack Effect. That right there can cause the upper living area to become warm, along with improper HVAC returns from the bedrooms and hallways in the home for all floors, including basement.

mcfarton 04-16-2012 05:30 PM

I dont know exact temps in there, but upon entering the attic i will sweat buckets in less than a minute, and we have not even hit our highs around here. I like the idea of the remote thermo and remote attic fan could be effective for monitoring whats going on. so do you have a power attic fan and a ridge vent? I do need to take a good look at my bathroom fan it sucks and not in a good way, It doesn't go all the way out the roof and never looked right to me. I will take more pics. The soffit areas are clear of insulation, and there is about 7-8 inchs of blown in insulation and the holes around the lights have been addressed. Can you describe how the ridge vent sheathing should be cut? Is it easy to see from inside or do I need to get on the roof?

seeyou 04-16-2012 05:39 PM

Attic venting is primarily to remove moisture. If the upper floor is getting too hot, you have inadequate insulation. Start looking into methods to add insulation.

gregzoll 04-16-2012 05:41 PM

I have the standard metal vents along the ridge line, not a ridge vent, and the power vent was just added this past October, due to air temps up there can get around 130 farenheit. If it is 80 degrees with 30% humidity up there, yes you can start sweating. It happened when I was up there putting in the electrical for the fan, this March.

If you do a search on here, you can find some recent posts & threads regarding attic venting. The rights and wrongs. Even with convection venting, it can still stay warm up there, even though in theory it is supposed to be at the same temp as it would if you were outside standing on a platform at the same height.

The sheathing should be cut, to allow for a clear path for the air to vent. That said, it should not be removed to the point that the ridge vent material barely covers the cut edges.

gregzoll 04-16-2012 05:47 PM


Originally Posted by seeyou (Post 900408)
Attic venting is primarily to remove moisture. If the upper floor is getting too hot, you have inadequate insulation. Start looking into methods to add insulation.

They could have two feet of insulation in the attic space, but with heat gain on the windows and walls, and improper air movement through the HVAC can be another problem. You have to address everything together. BTW seeyou, I have aprx 7-8 inches of blown in as the OP has, and because we have addressed the venting issues, along with using UV film on all of our windows, we now keep that space cooler along with the rest of the house.

seeyou 04-16-2012 05:54 PM

I missed the OP's 2nd post. But 7"-8"may not be adequate or there may be installation mistakes.

mcfarton 04-16-2012 05:58 PM

my hvac is ok but old according to the tech (close friend). UV film is another good idea, i noticed how hot the attic was this weekend while installing wiring for new ceiling fans. I refuse to sweat in my bed room this summer. I don't want the window ac unit that my neighbors use. I realize that my upper level is going to be warmer than my basement, but i don't think my attic should be any where near as hot as it is.

mcfarton 04-16-2012 06:00 PM

my home inspector said the insulation was enough but if i noticed a problem add more. In the winter my bedroom is nice and warm also. My issue is that it was over 100 in my attic when it was 72ish outside

mcfarton 04-16-2012 06:02 PM

more insulation wouldn't hurt

gregzoll 04-16-2012 06:13 PM

100 is fine, 130 is not. Depends on where you live, and average temps you get during warm days. For your hvac system, how are the returns laid out on the two floors? Can you post a drawing of the vents and returns, along with model# of the furnace & ac or heat pump.

mcfarton 04-16-2012 06:35 PM

let me see if i can paint this for you... Its a heat pump
inside- bryant 1/4 hp model 517en024010
outside- lennox hp29-018-6p

upper level- 5 vents, 4 on the outer corners of the house, 1 in the bathroom all on the floor, 1 large return in the middle of the floor plan on the wall up towards the ceiling
main level- 4 vents, 3 on the outer corner, 1 close to the other corner (counter tops in the way) 1 return towards the middle of the floor plan on the wall colse to the floor
basement- 2 vents on ceiling no returns (why it never gets warm, don't care)

mcfarton 04-16-2012 06:38 PM

i think i am getting staining on my ceilings from humidity :(, i cant see any leaks from the roof. The house was built in 83 but the shingles and wood sheeting have been replaced in the last 5-10 years. I bought a foreclosure so the history is a mystery.....

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