What I'm Seeing Now

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How Much Air Can A Soffit Vent Vent If A Soffit Vent Could Vent Air?

If you asked a a wood chuck, "How much air can a soffit vent vent if a soffit vent could vent air?

What would the answer be?

The concept is simple.

Air comes in, air goes out.

It's pure physics - it never fails.

Unless, that is, no air gets in.

That concept is simple too.

No air in, no air out.

Air has to move. 

And when warm air is involved, and high and low pressures, convection happens.

Air moves.

So, pulling into the parking lot in front of a group of townhouses, I begin evaluating things from the car.  I can't help it.  It's a curse.  It really is...

Looking up at the subject house, the one I'm there to inspect, I see this:

Looking at the other houses you would see something like this:

Noticing a difference?  This wood chuck did.

Years ago these houses all experienced a bad hail storm and the original aluminum siding and roofing was replaced.

The subject house had a different contractor than all the other houses apparently.  The subject house was the only one that looked like the upper photo.

What did this contractor not understand?

See the diagram above! 

Air in, air out.  Air no in, air no out.

The upstairs in this house was uncomfortably hot.  The attic was extremely hot!

For how many years people had been living like this I don't know, but they did!

My recommendation:  if your house looks different from all the others (if homeowners even notice something like this) there is likely a reason!  The reason in this case is that the wrong material was used during the siding/roof replacement.  This is the second such soffit I have seen in a month!  And the second such resulting uncomfortably hot upper level.  Physics works!  Both ways.  Air in, air out.  Air no in, air no out.  So, did you check with the wood chuck for the answer?

 

 

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 18 commentsJay Markanich • August 15 2015 03:51AM

Comments

Good morning Jay. Your post today prompted me to check out my home.  The wood chuck would like my home.  

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 3 years ago

It's amazing what a big impact a bad contractor can have on a house.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 3 years ago

Good morning. I bet most homeowners would not notice the difference, but I am sure they wondered why the house was so hot.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 3 years ago

Not many look like the subject house in this post James, and I'm glad yours doesn't!

Debbie - it is.  And the bad is becoming more and more pervasive.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

And live with it for years Kat!  Once I opened an attic space to a million bats and many inches of guano on the insulation.  The people were "sick all the time" and didn't know why.  Some things amaze me.

It might have been two million...  not kidding.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay, amazing no one thought to look! And, that contractor should lose his license if he has one! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 3 years ago

Wayne - it is dumb, to say the least.  But I don't know how old this job was, a couple of years anyway.  Is the contractor still around?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay Markanich Definitely a correctable error, but it will cost  a bit. Add to what you posted, many contractors will plug the flow of air from the soffits in the attic by not installing air channels to prevent insulation from blocking the air flow.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National) over 3 years ago

Gasp... I can't breathe, says the wooden chuck. You hit it right on the head... 

Air in, air out.  Air no in, air no out.

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 3 years ago

My attic had insulation covering the soffit vents, which blocked the air flow.  I removed the obstruction.

Posted by Jerry Lucas, Mobile Notary Colorado Springs, CO Notary Training (ABC Legal Docs LLC) over 3 years ago

S&N - this is a simple concept so misunderstood.  I don't understand the misunderstanding!

Like those little pop up heads at Chuckie Cheese, Fred?  I was good at smacking those.

That was another problem in this house Jerry.  But I didn't include it in the post so as not to mix metaphors.  Or something like that...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

I would like to have one of those with my selection of heads that pop up.... yeah!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 3 years ago

I really disliked going to Chuckie Cheese, Fred, but did find that game fun.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay,  I am assuming that the lack of airflow would have a negative impact on the life of the roof itself.   Not to mention additional heating and cooling costs.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 3 years ago

All of that, Stephen!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

So much to know as a homeowner!  Makes complete sense, I'm going to look up more. 

Posted by Martina Boeger, Your Real Estate Virtual Assistant (My REVA Time, LLC) over 3 years ago

Martina - there is!  I will publish my Fall/Winter maintenance list again soon.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Great tips Jay! 

Dean Berlin- Alexandria Home Inspector 

Posted by Dean Berlin over 3 years ago

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