What does attic ventilation mean to you?

Picture of the outside of a home with a round gable vent

Attic ventilation means different things to different people. Interpretations definitely vary. With such broad usage, information about attic ventilation can be confusing or misleading. Let’s clarify what it means to ATMOX and in turn for your home. Ventilation with ATMOX means using fresh air from outside pulled through the attic by fans.

The goal of attic ventilation is to reduce heat and moisture. Heat issues are most common during summer months. Alternatively, moisture issues tend to surface during cold winter months.

Why should you care about heat and moisture in the attic?

Proper ventilation is key in reducing the negative side effects of attic heat and moisture.

Attic Heat

Reducing heat in the attic is all about energy efficiency and protecting your home.

When you reduce the temperature in the attic, it limits the temperature transfer to the living space. That excessive heat can create a heavy workload on your AC unit. In turn, the air conditioning is either going to run more than it would otherwise or it may not not be able to keep up with the heat. This problem is often evident in a two-story house with one AC unit. Ever been in a house with a hot upstairs? Attic heat can definitely be a contributing factor. Obviously, overuse of an HVAC system is never efficient and can be very pricey when you get the electric bill.

As a homeowner, you want to protect the investments that you have made in your house. Your roof is a big part of that investment. As the heat in the attic increases, the potential for damage to your roof also goes up. Asphalt shingles will deteriorate in extreme heat generated directly from the sun and from below in the attic. HVAC equipment is another large investment. These and other electrical and mechanical components in the attic can have issues under extreme heat. And, of course you want to protect the items that you may be storing in the attic. You don’t want to melt or destroy your childhood mementos or holiday decorations that inevitably get thrown in an attic for safekeeping.

Attic Moisture

Reducing moisture in the attic is all about preventing condensation on attic surfaces that can lead to mold or wood rot.

Most moisture issues start from within the living space from normal everyday activities such as cooking, showering, cleaning or using a humidifier. This moisture rises with warmer air and can escape into the attic. Once it is in the attic, it sometimes gets trapped. Therefore, this moisture needs to be ventilated to the outdoors. If the attic is at a cold temperature, the air can’t hold a lot of moisture. It will quickly start to condense on any cold surface just like a glass of ice water outside on a hot day. That condensation is dangerous if it sits there for too long. Removing the wetter air prevents mold growth within the attic.

Active vs. Passive Attic Ventilation

It is well established that an attic needs ventilation with fresh outside air to increase energy efficiency, protect your home, and improve air quality.

There are two types of attic ventilation: active and passive. Active ventilation, sometimes referred to as mechanical, is the process of assisting air movement and circulation from soffits or another intake points and exhausting out at the highest points of the attic. Passive ventilation is simply open intake and exhaust points with no mechanical assistance to increase air circulation or air exchange.

Although the passive ventilation option may seem simple and energy efficient, there may not be enough ventilation. According to the Department of Energy, “In warmer climates, natural ventilation can’t circulate enough air through a home to provide sufficient cooling at night to remove the day’s heat.”

The benefit of active ventilation is the increased rate in which fans can move air. Therefore, the faster turnover keeps heat and moisture from building up in the attic.

Installing soffits on a house for attic ventilation

Attic Smoke Test Comparison

Watch this video showing a comparison of air movement using smoke.

The Left Side with Blue Smoke is the Passive Ventilation Side. The Right Side with Green Smoke shows Active Ventilation using ATMOX fans underneath the ridge vent to supplement the natural movement of air.

The difference in air turnover within the attic is significant. Consequently, that slower air movement with passive ventilation allows for more significant heat buildup.

How do ATMOX products create attic ventilation?

The ATMOX products work together to create an energy efficient system consisting of a controller, sensors and fans. ATMOX is a comprehensive solution for both cold and hot climates with the simple goal of heat and moisture reduction in the attic.

The ATMOX Attic Controller brings the whole setup together. The controller uses sensors measuring temperature and humidity to gather important information on conditions in the attic. Based on this information, the logic direct fans to operate when it will improve conditions in the attic to reduce heat or moisture. Furthermore, the display on the controller provides important notifications and alerts.

ATMOX example of an attic ridge vent exhaust fan layout

Balanced Airflow

Most attics have several ATMOX fans spread out across the space. The goal is twofold. Firstly, air needs to blow across all areas of an attic, especially in situations of moisture buildup and potential condensation. Secondly, the exhaust fans should not overpower the ventilation. It is important for the air to be coming through intake points to the outside and not from air within the living space.

Energy Efficiency

At the core of all product design, the focus is on energy efficiency. The goal is always on reducing overall energy usage within a home. Therefore, a key component is to make the fans themselves very energy efficient. For example, each ATMOX fan only uses 15 watts of power when running!

Learn more about an attic ATMOXsphere for your home. Talk to your installer about setup for your attic and geographic area.

Learn more about other Attic Issues and Solutions