Every summer feels like it’s hotter than the last. Homeowners are constantly trying to find a balance between keeping their house cool while saving money on energy bills.

What many don’t realize is that one of the most prominent sources of stifling indoor heat is the attic. Hot air often collects in the uppermost area and transfers much of that heat to the bottom floors.

How do you combat this recurring problem? How do you remove hot air from your attic?

Those are the questions we’re going to answer today. In this article, we’ll go over just how hot air congregates in your attic, and outline ways to not only get rid of it but keep it out of your home for good.

Get a free attic inspection and quote to ventilate your attic.

Those are the questions we’re going to answer today. In this article, we’ll go over just how hot air congregates in your attic, and outline ways to not only get rid of it but keep it out of your home for good.

Why do attics get so hot?

The laws of thermodynamics dictate that heat naturally rises. That means your attic is the last stop for hot or warm air in your house. Not only that, your attic rests right under your roof. On hot summer days, the heat is going to radiate through the shingles and collect in your attic, creating hot air.

The biggest reason why hot air fills up in your attic is due to poor ventilation. It doesn’t matter if your house is old, new, newly renovated, or has remained untouched for a decade – chances are your attic ventilation needs some work.

One way to know if this might be the case is by going to your attic or rooftops and checking the size of your vents. Because vents are specifically for exhaust, they need to be appropriately sized relative to your attic. That is if you have a large attic, a couple of vents 6 inches wide probably aren’t going to do the trick.

Exhaust vents, however, don’t tell the entire story. Soffit vents, or intake vents that are placed underneath your roof, are responsible for pushing hot air out of your home while simultaneously bringing in cool air. While many homeowners aren’t even aware of its existence, they need proper maintenance to keep hot air out of your attic.

A lack of proper insulation and poor air sealing also contributes to why attics get so hot. Many assume that too much insulation means hot air will remain trapped in their attics. It’s important to note that attic insulation is an integral part of keeping your attic temperatures stable. If you don’t have proper insulation, you’ll have a hard time keeping your attic heat from seeping into the rest of your home.

Different methods for removing hot air from your attic

Removing hot air from your attic involves two different methods. One is a more active approach where you install electric ventilators and fans to remove hot air once it reaches a certain temperature. Another more passive approach involves installing vents and other openings that allow warm air to naturally escape.

Passive ventilation

Installing more vents and exhausts in your attic and roof is a good way of allowing hot air to circulate in and out of your attic naturally. While most housing code specifies the minimal amount of vent opening depending on your attic’s square footage, it’s never a bad idea to add more. Increasing the number of soffit vents and roof exhaust will allow hot air to pass through the attic without costing you any money from having to power a fan.

Active ventilation

If you do choose to install an active attic ventilation system like a solar attic fan to exhaust hot air, make sure you have enough incoming vents to accommodate the extra airflow. By pushing stuffy air out, you let cooler and fresher outside air in and improve the overall ventilation in your attic.

How to remove hot air from your attic

Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to know exactly what you’re doing when installing ventilation equipment in your attic. Here, we’ll outline what you’ll need for both passive and active ventilation installation, and how to install them.

Note: the below methods should be complete by a professional. Looking to cool your home? Get a free attic inspection and quote to properly ventilate your attic.

Add passive ventilation

When installing new vents in your attic and roof, you’re going to need a few important things before you start.

First, you need either your exhaust vent or soffit vent, as well as a ventilation baffle. Make sure you have a chalk reel or something to mark your roof with. You’ll also need a circular saw and reciprocating saw, as well as a sheathing knife. Some roof cement, a cordless drill, and a thin pry bar are also needed.

Install an exhaust vent

To install an exhaust vent, you first need to mark the vent location from inside your attic using nails. Then go to your roof, find the location that you marked with the nails, and measure your vent opening.

Cut out an appropriate opening in your roof shingle about ½ inch wider than the vent itself. Then, cut a hole in your roof sheathing with a jigsaw or reciprocating saw.

Remove any obstructions that might prevent the vent from sliding into place. Place the vent squarely into place and nail the lower edge with roofing nails.

Apply the roof cement where the shingles meet the vent and you’re done.

Install a soffit vent

Start by making two parallel lines down the center of the soffit using chalk, each one about 2 inches apart from the other. Cut a hole inside the soffit and measure the thickness of the panel.

Set your circular saw to that thickness and cut down the two parallel lines. Use your pry bar to connect the two parallel cuts and remove the soffit strip.

Then, set your strip vent down on a flat wood surface and screw holes through the flanges. Raise the vent up to the soffit and center it over the cutout slot. Use your cordless drill to secure the vent to the soffit using metal screws.

You’re not done yet though. Go back into the attic and remove any insulation above where the new soffit vents are. This will make sure nothing is blocking the vents and air can properly go through.

Finally, staple your ventilation baffle to the plywood sheathing in each rafter bay. This will ensure the airway remains open for your new soffit vent.

Add an attic fan

When installing a power vent, make sure all the factory-installed bolts are tightened and either mount it as close to the center of the house or near the roof ridge.

Measure the distance from the ridge and the edge of the roof to where you want your vent to go.

Bonus Tip: If you’re looking to add an attic fan to your home, consider going solar.

Transfer these dimensions to the attic’s interior. Measure an equal distance between the rafters at the selected location and mark the point. Drill a nail hole through the roof on the mark.

Cut out the circle template on the box and place it on the roof using the drilled hole as the center. Trace around the template and cut through the shingles and decking with a jigsaw.

Remove the vent’s dome.

Center the fan over the hole, making sure the upside of the base flange is pointed toward the ridge under the shingles.

Use caulk or roofing mastic to seal between the roof and fan. With a utility knife, cut the shingles at the top of the fan to accept the fan’s throat.

How to keep an attic cool

Homeowners can certainly reduce the amount of hot air in their attic by installing ventilation systems. They can also take certain steps to prevent hot air from entering their attic, as well as keeping any heat out of their homes as much as possible.

Proper air sealing

Identifying areas where air might be escaping into it can prevent unwanted warmth from entering your attic. Plumbing pipes and small openings for wires can be sealed with small pieces of fiberglass insulation or through expanding foam. You can also plug leaky areas with caulk.

Insulation

While some claim that insulation exacerbates heat gain in attics, as we mentioned before, it’s an effective mechanism to keep warm air out of the rest of your home while regulating the temperature inside the attic.

However, certain types of insulation, such as reflective insulation, are effective at keeping heat out of your home altogether. Reflective insulation does what its name suggests – it reflects incoming heat from the sun that’s radiating through your roof back where it came from.

By installing reflective insulation around your attic ceilings and walls, you effectively block much of the hot air coming into your attic. This is extremely effective during the summer, and if coupled with proper ventilation, can keep your attic exponentially cooler.

Get the hot air out of your attic today

A hot and stuffy attic is an often overlooked yet crucial factor when it comes to home energy efficiency. By keeping your attic’s ventilation flowing properly and taking preventative measures, you can keep hot air out of your attic. Leverage this article to find the best solution for your home and shave some money off of your energy bills today.