What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Shave And A Haircut - Two Vents

Roof venting is essential.  It moves heat and moisture out.  Ideally as much air as goes in can come out.  Flow.

Ventilation can take many forms - a passive system like the one pictured to the left.

That is a soffit and ridge venting system, and very effective.

It is pure physics.  Air is attracted in, gets hot, rises and is encouraged out.

Ideally, again, as much as gets in also gets out.

Venting can be more aggressive too, with an electric attic fan.   When the fan is on it also is very effective.

A more common form of passive venting on an older house might include gable vents.

They are usually large, rectangular vents up near the apex of the roof, and air passively flows from the attic space out through the vents on each side.

It's very passive, but heat can get out.

Well, heat can get out when air can get out!

Can I vent a little bit here?

When air can't flow through the vents they are NOT very effective.

Both gable vents on this house needed a shave and a haircut.

They were nearly entirely clogged with dust!

How effectively can air flow through vents this dusty?

Obviously it can't.

I sometimes see the grills on bathroom vents similarly clogged so much with dust that air cannot get out.

The poor fan is trying to extract air, but can't.

Well, in this attic, which was very hot from the lack of ventilation I might add(!), air, and therefore heat, simply can't move.

Rather than cleaning these, it might be easier simply to replace them with a newer grilled vent.  Anything that can air can flow through!

To wax Shakespearean - a vent by any other name moves air just as sweet.

Or something like that.

My recommendation:  it isn't a bad idea to pop your head into the attic space once or twice a decade to see how the gable vents are doing!  If they are clogged, get up there an clean them!  If they are really clogged, replace them!  Your roof will really appreciate your allowing the attic space to vent.

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 42 commentsJay Markanich • August 26 2013 04:10AM

Comments

My goodness Jay that is one dirty vent.  Can't say I've seen one any dirtier.  :)

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 5 years ago

Light hardly made its way through James!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay, poke your head up in the attic every decade? Come on.... that's a bit overkill... LOL.

I need those tiny scouts to do that..

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 5 years ago

While a bit faseeeshus Andrea, my comment did make the point!  Scouts would be great attic spybots!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Hi Jay,

Sure it was dirty? :-) Or was it shot with cellulose and left for dead. That is the worst vent I have even seen. I have seen a lot of them over the decades of building and inspecting homes. But never one that bad.

Have a great day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 5 years ago

There were two Clint, both the same.  I wondered if at some time during the house's 45 year life span a dryer did not blow directly into the attic (for a bunch of years...).

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Bet it was hotter than blue blazes up there. Same as this one last week.clogged gable ventSome genius wanted to warm up the attic in the winter. 

Not so good either. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) about 5 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Speaking of bathroom vents; which is easier to clean once in a while or keep replacing when the motor burns out.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 5 years ago

I see that from time to time too Scott.  Really smart.  Why do they call it a "vent?"

Raymond - the motor will definitely burn out and on older houses that is a problem because the new fans have larger carcasses that don't fit into the older space!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

I thought people only checked vents when they were getting ready to sell! I've seen some people I know blocking off their attic vents in an effort to keep stink bugs out. Thye don't realize that they would be better off with the stink bugs!

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) about 5 years ago

Once again, your excellent title drew me in Jay.  You are the master at that!                                                         

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) about 5 years ago

Once a stink bug got on the straw of my drink Jeff, and I didn't realize he was there.  You know what happened.  Bummer I didn't have a gable vent to plug up because I was not better off with the stink bug...

Thanks A&J.  We try.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay you always seem to make every subject simple and logical, this one is no different.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) about 5 years ago

Jay, great blog. It's an area that for most folks 'out of sight, out of mind'. Here in Florida, attic venting is SOOOO inportant! Thanks!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National) about 5 years ago

We try to have fun Chuck!

Norman - it's important everywhere, except when the attic is filled with Icynene.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay, out of sight, out of mind. That clogged gable vent has been out of sight a long time.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 5 years ago

Jay, Another great post, If I wasn't already following you, I would subscribe again.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Brian Sharkey, SharkeyRE - #SouthFloridaBroker (SharkeyRE LLC) about 5 years ago

Good post and you can have a home or it can have you...

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 5 years ago

So you're saying you broke a sweat up there? Maybe the Billy Jays vent cleaning service should be called!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 5 years ago

I really appreciate your posts. I would rather read post here from inspectors and mortgage bankers than anything because the content is so valuable. This is a new one for me and after 24 years in the business it is great for an old dog to learn new tricks.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) about 5 years ago

Clever title for your blog. Thanks for sharing the good information with us.

Betty

Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) about 5 years ago
Thank you Jay for sharing.... people don't think to do that so good to pass along.
Posted by Gay E. Rosen, As Real as Real Estate Gets! (Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty) about 5 years ago

Enjoyed reading it Jay. I guess that's where all the hot air hangs out.

Posted by Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR, Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations (AZuRE Team - Realty ONE Group) about 5 years ago

I think most people forget that their attic even still exists.  It's not a fun place to hang out but you should still check it out.

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) about 5 years ago

Jay, a great reminder and a great informative blog as usual. I love the way you word things but Jay, you are not Shakespear, but a very food inspector.

Posted by Jimmy Faulkner, The Best Of St. Augustine (Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage) about 5 years ago

I never thought a vent like that would get cloged but the dust we get it stands to reason they would need to be cleaned.

Posted by David Opoka about 5 years ago

That is disgusting. I don't have an attic, but I routinely clean the vents in my bathrooms.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) about 5 years ago

Wow! I haven't seen any vents that dirty. Good catch man.

Posted by Juan Jimenez, The Richmond Home Inspector (A House on a Rock Home Inspections LLC) about 5 years ago

Love the title of your post. It really sucked me in. Love the images you used as well. Really gets your point across. Thanks for venting/sharing.

Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, Lead Associate Broker (Hollish Hill Group, Keller William Capital Properties) about 5 years ago

Jay -- that is a very congested vent.  Amazing that it could get that solidly filled and still build up depth.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 5 years ago

Mike - a place few venture, unless they store stuff up there.

Thanks Brian.  Glad you're on board!

Richie - this is the home having its way, for sure!

Fred - I came down with a different color shirt, and appreciating how cool and comfy 90 degree temps are!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

See the vent Joe, see the vent!  Good Joe.  New tricks are always good!

Thank you Betty.  Stop by again!

Pass away Gay.  It's useful info!

It does Richard, except when I am talking.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

It pays to look from time to time Marc.  And if you want to hang, do it early in the morning!

Who could be Shakespeare Jimmy?  Not I, forsooth.

David - over time all things get dirty!

That is something some people never pay attention to Suzanne.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Juan - not hard to see, once you Tarzan swing over that far.

Dana - sometimes you have to vent.  I know I do!

Steven - indicating I guess that the particles there are very small.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Great title! Of course we know that what we can't see wont hurt us right? Oh I know that's wrong but many homeowners don't ever look at the hidden parts of the house. we should at least give a home an annual physical.

Posted by Corinne Guest, New Homes Specialist (Barrington Realty Company) about 5 years ago

Jay,

Thanks for the information. I was very pleased to learn about this issue that most people don't talk about and it's hard to understand what you don't know. I really like how you explain things.

Thanks again!

Posted by Patricia Feager, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) about 5 years ago

I've been saying that for a while Corinne, but few will see any benefit in having a home inspector over.

Patricia - instruction is the key to learning!  I hope this post helps.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

It is always a treat to read your blog posts. Very informative, and I can never finish them without at least one giggle. Thanks!

Posted by Trisha Bush-LeFore, Providing Realtor Services in the Walla Walla Area (Preferred Properties Land & Homes) about 5 years ago
I really enjoy reading posts from inspectors. Very informative blog about roof ventilation.. The other day I read about the importance of cleaning out air filters.
Posted by Rosie Moore (Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City) about 5 years ago

Jay, this post makes me want to go check out the garage vent right now-- dirt be gone!

Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) about 5 years ago

Love learning new things from Active Rain blog posts! I'm passing it on to home owner friends.

Posted by Paul Collier, Paul Collier (Patriot Home Mortgage) about 5 years ago

Thanks Trisha.  You look to be giggling now!

Clean or replace them every month Rosie!  Glad you enjoyed this one!

Gotta see it to know Ralph!

Pass away Paul.  It's info to benefit others.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments