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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Ventilation Options: Why An Attic Fan Should Get Your Attention

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Tue, Sep 04, 2012 @ 01:31 PM

It’s a hot summer day in Cleveland. Your air conditioner's set at 78 degrees. That should mean your home's reasonably comfortable, right? If your home isn't comfortable, don't be too quick to blame your cooling system. The excess heat in your attic could be the problem.

Here's why:

home ventilation systemOn a hot day, temperatures in a poorly insulated and poorly ventilated attic can reach 150 degrees. That heat radiates through the ceiling below, making your living space too warm and forcing your air conditioner to work harder. Unfortunately, passive ventilation via ridge vents, soffit vents or dormer vents usually does a poor job of getting the hot air out of your attic. It is not uncommon for this ventilation system to be undersized or even blocked.

If you're aiming for optimal energy efficiency and home comfort, you'll also need to seal air leaks in your attic and upgrade the insulation. It is best to have this area of your home thoroughly evaluated as part of a Home Performance Assessment by using high tech diagnostic tools such as negative air testing and infrared cameras. Problems can be identified and solutions suggested.

Even well-ventilated attics will always be a lot warmer than the living portion of the house. Insulation—either loose fill or batts—serves as a barrier between your living space and the attic, but only if you seal all air leaks, such as those around exhaust fans, recessed lights and the chimney. Interestingly, people will sometimes install an attic fan in an attempt to suck the heat out of the attic. If you haven't made sure that the leaks between the attic and the house are sealed, this can actually cause more harm than good because the attic fan can cause more of the house air to be pulled up in to the attic, causing more energy use and comfort problems!

Since 1936, P.K. Wadsworth has kept Cleveland cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Give us a call for more tips on home ventilation and energy savings.


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Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: home comfort tips, home performance assessment, ventilation, air conditioner

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