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Do I need a roof vent? Should I have one with no insulation in attic?

Do I need a roof vent? Should I have one with no insulation in attic?

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  #1  
Old 06-04-13, 06:22 PM
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Do I need a roof vent? Should I have one with no insulation in attic?

I live in a 100+ year old home, that by all accounts, has never had any kind of ventilation in the attic. The problem now is we have a modern roof with modern airtight materials and the attic is hotter than the blazes of hell in the summer. Adding to the confusion, we have no insulation in this very large attic but we do have barnboard floors and some old knob and tube in the ceilings below so we can't just blow in some insulation (at this point).

So my question is... if we do install a ridge vent to save on cooling and extend the life of our roof, will we be significantly adding to our heating costs in the winter? Is there a better venting system that allows for seasonal use? For instance, open in the summer but, closed in the winter? BTW, we have never had issues with ice dams, rot, or mildew.

Thanks in advance for the advice.
 
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Old 06-04-13, 06:27 PM
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Without proper insulation all your cooling and heating is worthless. Yes, you should have a ridge vent, continuous, and soffit vents to compliment it and allow air to move from the lower area and discharge hotter air out the ridge vent. Not having insulation to separate your living areas from the lower region heat, as well as the cold can be very expensive. I would do something about the insulation and add both ridge and soffit venting.
 
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Old 06-05-13, 02:56 AM
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Hi chaz,
You have started a project that may need several more steps. One of the reasons your home has never experienced ice dams is the heat escaping into the attic has always melted everything off of the roof. If you now insulate the attic floor and ventilate the attic to keep it cool, that snow on top will no longer melt. That is normally desirable, but the 100+ year old structure may not be ready for the required snow load. Even if the design looks good, the 100 year old structure may need some help.

Next is, ice dams may still occur because snow melt can come from solar warming. They usually aren't as bad, but the soffit area may not be prepared for even a small amount of ice damming.

Once the above concerns are resolved, (as Chandler suggested) the K&T and floor insulation are a priority, along with the ridge vent and a source of low vent area.

Bud
 
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Old 06-05-13, 08:34 PM
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My 100+ yo house has no place for soffit vents. Gable vents were installed. As for heating in the winter, I don't think you will notice a difference.
 
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Old 06-06-13, 01:39 AM
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You're probably right Dan. My attic is already cold in the winter, this probably wont make a difference. I wish I thought to throw a thermometer up there this past winter to verify.

@Bud
My roof has a very steep pitch and is adequately supported.
 
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