Check out this real-life situation where instructions were readily available but three different contractors didn’t bother to read them.
By Andy Swan, Roof Saver.
One of my favorite memories of my Dad was his well-intentioned coaching, “when all else fails, read the instructions.” He had a dry wit and usually delivered this advice with sarcasm but occasionally added a friendly chuckle.
Here’s a real-life situation where the instructions were readily available but three different contractors did not bother and the owner was a non-believer. The general contractor, Bill, called me to see what we could do to help a homeowner solve a problem with attic ventilation. As soon as we walked through the doorway you could feel the high humidity level inside the home. The windows were open on a clear 70 F summer morning because the homeowner was living “green” by using an attic-mounted whole house fan to draw cool air into the home during the night time and early morning hours.
I followed Bill through a too-small access hole cut in the second-floor ceiling and noticed three problems. The bathroom exhaust fan stack ended inside the attic and the powerful whole house fan had too little exhaust area to remove the air it pulled up from the house. We soon found ourselves eyeballing the ridge vent slot inside the attic and found only one side of the ridge was cut so half the Net Free Area was missing. Three different contractors who apparently thought the instructions were a waste of time.
The fixes were technically easy – extend the bath exhaust stack through the roof, add exhaust Net Free Area for the whole house fan and increase the slot for the existing ridge vent. The hard part was getting the owner to believe the manufacturer’s instructions we downloaded. Since the owner’s brother-in-law had installed the exhaust stack and whole house fan, the owner refused to believe what was on the printed pages we downloaded. The exhaust stack must NOT terminate inside the attic. Add at least nine square feet of exhaust Net Free Area to the existing system to allow the fan to operate properly. Cut the slot 1” on EACH SIDE of the ridge.
The damage from each of these errors was substantial but the fixes were pretty easy. One of our mantras is “Do It Right the First Time.” That means reading the instructions first.
Andy Swan is president of Blocksom and Co., manufacturer of Roof Saver Ridge Vent. For more information on Roof Saver visit
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