As short as Dallas winters are, they can still do a number on your attic. Should attic vents be closed in winter to help protect your attic?
Rumors have been that attic vents should be closed (particularly gable vents in winter) to keep moisture from getting into your attic and your energy bills low. While this idea may sound sensible, it will cause the exact opposite to occur.
Let's bust this myth right at the onset.
Attic vents must remain open year-round to avoid spending thousands of dollars on home repairs and electricity bills.
Keeping your attic vents open even in winter may sound counterintuitive if you want to save on heating bills or if you want to keep your home safe during winter. But attic vents exist for a reason.
Attic vents or roof vents allow air circulation through the intake and exhaust vents in your attic space. In the summer, the vents help release warm air and allow cooler air from outside to flow in. During the winter, the vents do the exact opposite by providing proper attic ventilation and allowing heating to remain in the attic in winter.
Without sufficient attic ventilation, your home can encounter rising electricity bills, mold and mildew growth, wood rot, ice dams between your roof shingles, and uncomfortable temperature inside the house.
Contrary to popular misconception, your attic vents do not leak out all the heat from your house when you leave them open during the winter. If your attic space is properly insulated, the amount of heat loss from your home is too insignificant to make any notable effect on your heating bills.
On the contrary, closing your attic vents in winter can lead to a host of serious problems that you could otherwise avoid.
For instance, condensation is a common cause of concern in the winter. During this season, the amount of moisture in your house rises into the attic, inviting mold and mildew to grow. If left unaddressed, this leads to several other issues like wood rot. It can also gravely affect the structural integrity of your house and the air quality within your living spaces during the winter season.
Moisture makes mold and mildew thrive. To reduce the likelihood of mildew and mold from growing, keep your vents open to avoid moisture from getting trapped in your attic.
Aside from keeping moisture out of your attic space, opening vents also allows cold air to flow into your attic and prevent water damage or the formation of ice dams. Without cold attic air, your attic space becomes too warm, melting the ice on your roof and creating potential damage to your roof and gutters.
Should I cover my attic fan in the winter? A warm attic during winter also invites not just mold but pests to take shelter. For this reason, it’s best not to cover attic fans in winter. Keep your vents open and save yourself from dealing with mounting costs and trouble.
Don't worry about heat escaping. A well-insulated, well-sealed attic means that heat isn't going up to your attic in the first place. If you're concerned about heat escaping through your attic, check or upgrade your attic insulation to solve the problem and ensure that it is properly and sufficiently insulated.
When winter storms hit, heavy snow and ice can quickly accumulate on your roof and block your vent opening. When this happens, it reduces your roof ventilation's ability to ventilate your attic and can create problems if not addressed quickly.
After heavy winter precipitation, immediately check your attic vents to ensure that nothing is covering your roof vents. Periodically check for ice buildup or any other debris blocking your vent openings.
A word of caution: removing snow or ice from your roof is dangerous and requires proper tools and safety equipment. Therefore, it is best to seek the help of certified attic specialists to safely remove snow or ice from your roof.
In summary, if you want to keep your home safe and warm during winter, don't close attic vents in winter! Don't believe the lie that your heating bills will go through the roof if you keep your vents open.
The best way to save money is by keeping them open to avoid problems created by enclosing the space during the winter.