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Community and Q&A

Interior ceiling vents in a house with a hot water boiler and radiators. Do I need them?

Natasha Sanderson | Posted in General Questions on

We had a roof inspection to have our hail damaged roof replaced and during the interview my husband mentioned how hot our home is during the summer. The company rep. Upon inspecting our attic and checking its temperature which was ok and the number of roof vents suggested we install vents in our interior ceiling to move the hot air into the attic which would it out the roof vents. I have never heard or seen ceiling vents in a house that had a boiler…only in whole house fan or forced air situations. Am I crazy that this sounds odd? I believe it is hot because we need to. Add another 11 inches of blown insulation and get the 2 13×10 rooms with missing baseboard and window casing trim reinstalled. We have had the trim off for a couple of years trying to get the time to strip the 10 layers of paint off the 100 year old fir trim. This is a 100+ old house with a hip roof and a cantilevered gable about 1079 sf.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

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  1. Natasha Sanderson | | #1

    The attic is 1079 sf not just the gable.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    I'm not sure I know what you mean by "ceiling vents." Are these installed in your drywall ceiling? If so, are they connected to ducts? If they are connected to ducts, where do the ducts lead?

    There are many different components that people call "vents." Sometimes they are referring to a register or diffuser connected to the supply side of a forced-air system that delivers hot air in the winter and cold air in the summer. Sometimes they are referring to a grille that is connected to the return side of a forced-air system. Sometimes they are referring to a grille that covers the inlet for an exhaust fan. Sometimes they are referring to a grille that covers a boot connected to a fresh air duct that is part of a ventilation system.

    A vent can also refer to an air intake location in your soffit -- that's a soffit vent -- or the ridge of your roof -- that's a ridge vent.

    It's also possible that you are referring to a ceiling grille under a whole-house fan used to cool the house during the summer.

  3. Natasha Sanderson | | #3

    We have no duct work or soffits in our ceiling nor a whole house fan. He is literally talking about drilling into our plaster ceiling and installing registers/vents that open/close and are not attached to anything.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Where is your insulation? Is it on your attic floor (above your ceiling) or does your insulation follow the roof slope above the attic?

  5. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #5

    With insulation on the attic floor you want to make the attic floor as air-tight as possible, not be punching hole in it!

    Attic venting (gable, or soffit & ridge) is about purging moisture, not heat.

    Moving hot air out of your conditioned space into the attic may cool the attic, but it just sucks hot humid un-conditioned outdoor air into your living space from other leaks in the house. This is the OPPOSITE of efficient, and REDUCES occupant comfort.

  6. Natasha Sanderson | | #6

    The attic insulation is on the attic floor only.

  7. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #7

    Your instincts are correct, as is Dana.

    You don't want to cut any holes in your ceiling. Your ceiling is the air barrier that keeps your conditioned air inside the house.

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