Soffits: How can you check and clean them?


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Old 06-17-09, 07:03 AM
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Question Soffits: How can you check and clean them?

Hello,

I have a hip style roof, there are vynil soffits on all sides, and a ridge vent along the top. There is also a single lone square vent on one of the sides.

We have just purchased the house. It is our understanding from the previous owners that they had insulation blown into the attic, which is good. It's actually pretty thick (over a foot deep).

Our home inspector said that since it is an older home (1950) the soffits outside may or may not be 'real'. He said that often when people put vynil siding on a house they'll put the soffit panels in under the eves but don't actuall cut channels to let air up into the attic. He thought in this case they might be real, because up in the attic you can see the air chutes that are supose to keep the air channel clear from the insulation. However, when the stairs to the attic are closed and there are no lights, no daylight could be seen coming up anywhere. He thought that it was possible that when the insulation was blown in, the soffits got blocked.

So, I have a couple questions. Are you supose to be able to see daylight? If not, how can you check to see if they are working?

How can you tell if the soffits are real? I'm not sure if I have the know how to remove a section of the vynil panels to see if there are any holes into the attic ... or is this easy?

If they are real, how do you clean them out?

Thanks!

Here is a picture of the outside ... I have a couple I took when I was up in the attic during the inspection, but none of them show the bottom edge. If needed, I can go back up there and take one.

 
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Old 06-17-09, 08:19 AM
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Soffits

We need a closer outside view of the under side of the soffits.
 
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Old 06-17-09, 04:37 PM
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More pictures

Sure, here are a few more pictures.

This is the outside looking up at the soffits.



Air chutes.



Close up of air chutes.



Ridge vent, such that it is.

 
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Old 06-18-09, 05:42 AM
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Soffit

The soffit panels are alternating solid and perferated. You will need to remove some of the soffit panels to determine whether the area immediately above the soffit panels is open to allow air circulation up into the attic. The air baffles pictured from the attic appear to be clear.

The soffit panels are installed beginning at one end an working toward the other. Each panel has a "hooked" edge which locks onto the previous panel. You should be able to give a slight tug on the edge of a panel to determine which direction the "hooked" edge is pointing. Go to that end of the run and try to figure out how the last panel is secured. Once you remove the last installed panel, then each of the others can be unhooked from the previous one. Sometimes the last panel is not secured. I personally use silicone caulk to "glue" the edge of the last panel to hold it in the J-channel. Hope this makes sense. Good luck with your project.
 
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Old 06-18-09, 07:29 AM
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On a calm windless day burn some incense! Really, take an incense stick and light it and put it near the soffit where the holes are. See if the smoke from the stick flows into the attic.
You can use anything that smokes to see the air flow into the attic from outside.
 
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Old 06-20-09, 07:10 AM
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Your home inspector could be right. Alot of siding guys will not cut holes before putting on the vented panels. Idiots.

What you can do is to send someone into the attic and from the outside hold a high power flashing light. Another thing you can do is a high power leaf blower, and again smoeone inside the attic. Short of removing the panels, which is pretty easy with vinyl and terribly difficult with aluminum. The insence idea is a great idea, which I had not thought of. Just be carful of fire since that cellulose insulation is flammable.


Did I understand you correctly, that you only have ONE roof vent?! National standard is one square foot of net free area per 150 square feet of attic floor space. Therefore if you have no intake you take the square footage of the foot print, let's say 1000, and fivide by 150 1000/150=6.7 Therefore you'd need SEVEN roof vents, not one. If you do have an air intake then you'd need 1000/300=3.4 or 4 roof vents. Your roof is ah ip roof and therefore not suitable for ridge vent.

You have rafter baffles which is a good thing.
 
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Old 06-22-09, 04:20 PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll give the light idea a try first since it is the easiest. I don't own any incense, so if the light doesn't work I'll have to explore removing a panel.

There IS a ridge vent. It's not as big as a gable style roof would have, but it does exist (pictured above) and I can see light coming through it so it's real.

Yes, there is only a single other vent up there. Regardless of if the soffits are real or not, I probably need more for proper ventallation.

Would more of the squat square ones be good, or are the turbine ones better?
 
 

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