How to Keep Continuous Soffit Vents in Top Condition

What Are Soffit Vents?

Soffit vents are a passive means of ventilating an attic. This sort of venting system can operate effectively without regard for wind direction and speed. The airflow produced by continuous soffit vents is a constant stream of air directly under the roof, moving upward from the eaves to the ridge.

The Importance of Cleaning

Have you ever cleaned out your soffit vents? If you're like most, the answer is no. Soffit vents get dirty (like the lint trap in a dryer). If they become blocked or clogged, they limit the air flow and won't be effective.

If you have an electric attic fan, the soffit vents should be cleaned each year with a nylon brush. Otherwise, they will get clogged, making your fan ineffectual and causing the motors to burn out fast. Soffit vents that are blocked due to multiple layers of paint should be replaced.

Additional Note

Many houses built before about 1997 have tray ceilings with NO air channel for attic room ventilation. The insulation is "sandwiched" between the sheetrock and the roof deck. The result is that the soffit vents are actually useless because the air flow is blocked from reaching the ridge or exhaust vents. This can contribute to hot rooms, particularly upstairs where interior walls face the attic room space.