Yes and No. It is made up of polystyrene which is a little more than R4. However, it is not used as an extra insulator like normal insulation is used. The R4 is made as a thermal break which stops the transference of heat from your roof from passing through the Therma Vent and into your attic or living space below. A thermal Break is a very important part of keeping the hot air from coming into your house during the warmer summer days, and it also works in reverse during the cold winter months by keeping the cold from transferring directly from your roof into your attic or living space depending on the application.
Is Therma Vent like Attic insulation?
Does Therma Vent use a ridge vent?
Yes, the use of a properly installed ridge vent is mandatory. The air in the attic and the Therma Vent system must be able to escape through a ridge vent, without one the air would get trapped and would act as an oven and would then transfer that heat during the summer months into your house, it would also right against your AC by keeping the heat in the attic, this can be seen in most attics across America, Therma Vent fixes this problem.
Does Therma Vent have a way for proper attic ventilation?
Yes it does, in fact it is the foremost attic ventilation product in America. When you have Therma Vent installed it will bring in extra air underneath your roofing system and it will vent all the way up to your ridge (the top of your roof) underneath you roof, and if your home has an attic it will also bring air into your attic allowing it to have fresh outside air. One of the beauties of the Therma Vent system is that you do not have to have costly soffit vents installed by a carpenter or builder. Your roofer will be able to install the complete system without dealing with any finished carpentry that would be seen by your eyes. Our Therma Vent system is the only system in America that brings air into your attic and under your roof without the need to cut in soffit vents.
Soffit Vents Explained:
Soffit vent are normally at the base of your homes overhang, if you go outside and look up, if your home has an overhang which are called eaves, that is where soffit vents would be. If you have siding it is very common to have a siding piece that has small holes in it, this would be a soffit vent. Other soffit vents would be ones that are round and have small vents; these are normally 3” round all the way up to 6” round. Other Soffit vents are the size of an in house AC vent normally about the size of 4”x 12”. All these are common types of soffit vents. In the case that you do currently have soffit vents they would not be removed for the Therma Vent installation, but extra air would still be brought into your attic and it would also vent under your roof with the proper installation of our system.
Do we need attic vents with the Therma Vent system?
(In this question Attic Vents are referring to vents near the top of the ridge, such as turtle vents, roof turbine vents and power vents, in this question we are not referring to Gable vents, the question below will address that directly.)
Attic Vents are not needed and should be removed before the installation of the Therma Vent system. Any of these vents will short circuit our ventilation system and cause the reverse effect, and in some cause will cause our system to fail completely. The Therma Vent is a patented product that creates a draft by way of the channels in the panel which allow for the proper amount of fresh outside air to be brought in at the base of the roof line. When another type of ventilation is left or introduced into the middle or anywhere along the channels it will short circuit the draft system and stop the air from entering at the base not allowing for the draft of air to reach the top where the properly installed ridge vent is located. The Gable vents are another problem; see the next questions for details.
Do I need Gable Vents with the Therma Vent?
No you not only do not need them, they must be carefully turned off or removed in order for the Therma Vent to work properly. The idea of a gable vent was to vent the air from the attic. Gable vents should never be installed on any roof if that roof has a ridge vent because it short circuits the ridge vent. The biggest problem with a Gable vent is that it only vent about 7 to 10 feet to the left or right of you attic at the place the Gable vent is installed. The rest of the air in the middle of your attic will be hot and will not escape through your gable vents. We have done numerous tests on real homes with Gable vents and have found that on average the temperature 7 to 10 feet from the Gable vent will be near 125 degrees on the low side, and in the middle of the attic it will be 150 degrees on average on a 95 degree day. The Therma Vent has a ridge vent at the top of the attic, and if the Gable vents are not removed or covered properly with plastic and sealed, the air will be brought in through the Gable vents and out the Ridge vent short circuiting the entire Therma Vent system about 7 to 10 feet in from the Gable vent. This is because air always follows the path of least resistance.
How is the ridge vent installation done for Therma Vent?
A proper ridge vent must be installed for the Therma Vent system in order for it to function properly. The ridge vent is install just like a normal installation of a ridge vent making sure that paths of air are able to come through the channels, and attic (if an attic is present) and able to flow out the ridge vent without any blockage of air flow.
Does Therma Vent work like roof insulation?
Yes and no, Therma Vent is an insulator but is not used in the same way that attic insulation is used. It is used as a Thermal Break stopping the hot or cold air from passing through. This is a very effective method to stop 1 of the 3 ways heat is transfer, please see the other FAQ for how heat is transferred.
What are the 3 ways that heat is transferred?
Heat can only be transferred in these 3 ways: Direct heat, Radiant heat and Convective heat. We are able to stop all 3 ways that heat is transferred with the Therma Vent.
How does Therma Vent Stop Convective Heat?
We stop the convective heat by venting the attic and under the roof. The venting allows all the hot air that normally is trapped in your attic to escape by way of a proper ridge vent talked about in the above FAQs. A good example of convective heat is like a turkey cooking in the over, it’s not the heating element or the flame if you have a gas oven that cooks the turkey, it is the hot air that cooks the turkey. Now think if you open the oven door, a lot of the hot air will escape and the turkey would not cook as well or at all, not imagine if you were able to opening another door on the bottom side of the oven. It would create a draft system that would bring air into bottom of the oven and as the air heated up it would rise to the top of the opened oven door and keep bringing in cooler air at the bottom. The turkey would not cook at all and in fact it would be very hard for the oven to keep up with the loose of hot air and would not be effective at all. This is what we do with you entire roofing and attic system, we open the oven door and then create a door at the base of your attic and create air flow under your roof and into your attic by way of our Therma Vent system.
How does the Therma Vent Stop Radiant Heat?
We are about to stop all but 3% of all the Radiant Heat from even entering your attic. We are able to accomplish this by having a radiant barrier with a proper air gap that reflects all but 3% of that radiant heat. The best way to describe radiant heat is your car sitting in the sun during a hot summer day. Have you ever used a sun shade in the inside of your windshield before? The ones that are silver like with reflective properties in them are the ones that will be able to reflect that heat away from your car. In fact I’ve tested this and it can drop the temperature of your car from 140 Degrees down to 115-120 depending on the outside temperature, if you go one step further and crack your windows it will be even cooler. Now imagine if you were able to have a small window on the bottom of your door and a entire sunroof that would open at the top of your car. The reduction in heat would be huge, not read below how we stop the direct heat.
How Does Therma Vent Stop Direct Heat?
Direct heat is like a tea pot on an open flame. The tea pot is being heated because it is directly above the open flame on the range. The heat that is transferred into your attic is the heat of your shingle roof or metal roof that heats up the plywood and then is transferred into your attic. Direct heat transfer can be stopped. If you think about drinking coffee in the morning, if you have a Styrofoam cup the coffee that is in the cup if it is fresh hot coffee will be 180 plus degrees and the Styrofoam is only about 1/8 of an inch thick and it stops almost all the direct heat because your hand does not burn or in most cases is not even hot. That is because the outside temperature of the cup is only about 105 degrees. However if you have a paper cup if you don’t have a sleeve to go around the paper coffee cup then you will normally burn your hand or dropped the coffee cup due to the fact that it is burning hot! We stop the transference of the heat into your attic by having a ¾ inch thick polystyrene panel that stops the direct heat from coming into your attic.
If my AC unit cools my house fine then I would not need Therma Vent Right?
Wrong, you need to buy the Therma Vent system no matter what! Setting aside the joking you need to take a look at the importance of ventilation and some of the problems if you do not have a properly vented attic space. In the case that you have not ventilation at all, this can be a big concern for your health and the health of anyone else in the house, if there is no ventilation in the attic the big problem is in the winter months when cool damp air gets trapped in the attic which can and does create mold or mildew. Sometime once created it can cost quite a bit to be removed properly. Also the concern is the air quality in your home. You do not want to breathe any of the mold or mildew. The other factor to consider is how hot is it in your attic? Most attics are 150 degrees plus in the attic during the summer, so how much are you paying extra fighting against your hot air in your attic? Our tests have shown are real houses that the average attic temperature once our system is installed is the same outside air temperature as the outside air temperature. So if it is 95 degrees outside and it was 150 in your attic then that would be a 55 degree difference, so the question for you is how much would it cost to cool the difference of 55 degrees in your attic throughout the summer? Even though your AC unit might be able to keep up, it still will cost you extra in you cooling bills if your attic is 150 degrees compared to 95 degrees.
Ok it saves me money in Cooling cost, how much?
This is the best question yet. We have seen savings from a few percent all the way past 25% on cooling costs. The main reason for the difference is the age of your house and if you have had any updates like extra insulation in your attic or new windows, doors or anything else that would make your home more energy efficient. Just to give an idea on real homes that we have tested. One that was built in 1993 with no updates done saved about 10% on cooling costs during the hot summer months, and a home that was built in 1978 that had no updates saved about 25% or a little more during the summer months in cooling costs comparted to what they were spending before the system was installed. It is hard to say without having tests taken on your home like temperatures of attic, the age of your house and what part of the country do you live in to figure out on average how many months are hot months.
What about winter will I loose heat due to the ventilation?
This is a common thought that if my attic and roof vents in the summer well, then in the winter it would be a huge problem letting all the hot air out. This is not an accurate thought. In the winter the radiant barrier actually works in reverse keeping the heat from leaving, and the convective ventilate part of the attic which has an air gap also works in reverse by using the air as an insulator. Think about a double or triple pane window, between the windows is a small air gap, and air is one of the best insulators if regulated correctly. You will not see huge savings in your heat bill during the winter months; however you should not see your heat bill rise due to the system being installed.