Texas Heat & Rising Electrical Costs
Houston Texas is one HOT City from June to early October every year and we all manage to get through the heat one way or the other! Many of us are concerned with our increasing utility bills during these months of high heat and evaluating good solutions to decrease these expenditures is time well spent. Did you know that in October of 2021, the average price of electricity for Houston residents rose by 50% form the year prior?
Attic ventilation is the most overlooked area for savings when it comes to energy efficiency in a home. A common remark is “we need more ” in our attic, but this is not always the case. Many times, it does not have anything to do with insulation and adding too much insulation can even block critical air intake, thereby stifling your attic. Ventilation is all about Balance and Air Exchanges.
How do you save money and become cooler?
First, we need to do an inspection of the attic and outside perimeter of the house to measure intake and exhaust vent capacity. From this we can do a calculation and develop a Ventilation Plan. This plan will increase the air flow through the attic bringing the attic closer to the outside ambient temperature.
Proper ventilation decreases the potential for moisture damage due to condensation, energy use due to an overheated attic (attics can reach temperatures of 150-160 degrees F on a summer day), and most importantly premature shingle deterioration due to an inability for shingles to dissipate heat into the attic. This is a major source for blistering shingles and decreasing the life of shingles. Even though blistering is often perceived as a manufacturing defect, it’s usually caused by poor ventilation of the roof system.
The three types of heat to be concerned with in your attic are Conduction, Convection and Radiant. The extreme heat from the attic transfers through insulation (once saturated) and at some point (Depending on R-Value), will be felt in the air below the ceiling and especially around any pull down-stairs. This will make your AC run more and work harder to cool the living space and cost you $$$.
The key to dissipating the stifling air in the attic is to increase the air exchanges per hour to the largest amount and making sure you have sufficient intake. We cannot emphasize the importance of air exchanges enough; the more air you can move, the more heat that can be dissipated or exhausted out of your attic!
Attic Vent Types: Pros and Cons
To exhaust this attic heat, there are multiple product types available. The two categories of attic vents are passive vents and active vents. Passive vents depend on the natural rise of heat and allow this heat to push itself out of the attic. Common types of passive vents include ridge vents and slant back vents. Alternatively, active vents force heat out of the attic space mechanically. Common types of active vents include wind turbines, power fans, and solar power fans. So which vent is best?
The problem with passive vents lies in their dependence on heat to do the work. In our experience, the heat we receive in Texas is too much for passive vents to keep up with, even when the attics are ventilated to proper building code, which most are not. Furthermore, these passive ventilation systems do little in the winter when moisture control is a concern. Active vents on the other hand, force the air out of the attic. However, just like passive vents, some active vents are too reliant on inputs which cannot be controlled, namely wind turbines. These turbines can have a fivefold difference in air exchanges per hour based on the outside wind speed! Alternatively, regulated active vents such as power fans and solar power fans can maintain a consistent, high rate of air exchanges balanced to your homes intake capacity.
Republic Roof Systems is standing by to aid you with proper ventilation as a retrofit or with any new replacement roof. Please call us to set up an appointment to learn more about a terrific way to make you home more efficient and create a Ventilation Plan!