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zeelandmatt
Vents instead of windows in walk-up attic

I live in west Michigan in a home built in the early 1900s that has a walk-up attic. There are no soffit vents, but there are 3-5 "pop vents" installed in the roof. The attic has five separate gables, each with double-hung windows that are glass on the top and vented on the bottom. The house has no insulation in the outside walls, though there is some insulation between the first and second floors and the second floor and attic. Would it be a better idea to block some or all of these vents instead of letting all the cold air inside? I understand the need to vent the roof to try and minimize the build-up of ice, but the amount of venting I have seems extreme. Does anyone have any good suggestions?
Thanks.
Matt

zeelandmatt
Re: Vents instead of windows in walk-up attic

Nobody else has a similar situation or experience with this type of setup? I see lots of folks have viewed the thread...any help is much appreciated!
Matt

Mastercarpentry
Re: Vents instead of windows in walk-up attic

Attics need to be well vented- I am not sure that there is any possibility of over-venting one but under-venting is a known problem. Without soffit vents, you're probably under-vented now so closing off any roof venting is not a good idea at all!

You seem to be misunderstanding the relationship between what is known as 'conditioned space'- that interior parts you live in- and 'unconditioned space' like your attic. The ceiling is where these two come together, and that's where insulation goes to isolate these two spaces. What happens in the attic should not be affecting what happens in the conditioned space, and if you block those vents you'll be creating a host of other issues- attic dampness, ice dams, shortened roof sheathing and shingle life, loss of roofing warranty, excessive attic heat in the summer just to name a few. If you're concerned about heat losses, address those where the conditioned space ends- at the ceiling line.

With no insulation in the walls, I'd recommend that you have several insulation contractors check things and give you recommendations of where to best spend your money to maximize efficiency. This is a simple no-cost visual inspection, at this point you don't need to go to the expense of 'Thermal Imaging' until you get the basic issues address better.

Phil

Seth
Re: Vents instead of windows in walk-up attic

ATOH did a segment on window vents and said they could cause ice dams by disrupting the natural ventilation from the eave vents to the ridge vents... which you don't have. The last owners may have added those window vent to deal with ice dam issues.

I second what Phil said and maybe you can get rid of them if you add ridge vents or finish the attic.

zeelandmatt
Re: Vents instead of windows in walk-up attic

Thank you very much for your responses!
Matt

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