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Super Handyman: Ventilation for a healthy home

Most homeowners know that insulation in the attic is important, but equally important is proper attic ventilation. Airflow through your attic prevents problems that can result from high moisture and temperature variations between indoor and outdoor spaces.

First, do the math. You need about 1 square foot of ventilation for every 150 square feet of attic space, divided equally between roof vents and soffet vents. This is a general guideline that you can use to get started.

Now that you have the number, split it in half. You will need to supply half of the ventilation through soffet vents and the other half through passive roof vents. These could be gable vents, ridge vents or smaller roof vents.

Soffit vents can be small, and rectangular grills should be placed in your home’s soffit area or built into vinyl siding. Make sure they are clear of insulation and other materials in order to draw in the needed air. Plastic baffles are inexpensive and easy to install in the typical attic if you need them to prevent blockage. It’s better to have a little extra soffet ventilation than not enough. If you don’t have enough, your roof vents will pull air from somewhere else, such as your home’s interior.

Roof vents can be gable vents, at the ends of your roofline, or ridge vents, along the top of your roof peak, or well-placed small vents. Some passive vents have built-in fans to help move more air, such as a Whirlybird vent.

Another option would be a powered vent. Since a powered vent will move a lot more air than a passive vent, you will need fewer of them; depending on the size of your home, you may need only one. If you have existing roof vents, you actually will need to remove or cover some of these. And if you opt for a solar-powered vent, there will be no continuing costs.

Check your attic vents a couple of times a year to make sure there are no issues. Correct them when you find a problem. Proper ventilation is good for a healthy home and a super way to keep your home more comfortable year-round.

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Q: We have a sunroom, and I’ve taken all of the plants back outside to the patio. Now, I have to try to remove the old carpet. It has been down for a while and was held in place with double-sided carpet tape. How can I get the old adhesive off the floor? – Y.W.

A: Try WD-40 to see if it dissolves the old adhesive. You can use a putty knife to remove the loosened material. Some store-bought glue removers are available, as well. A stiff scrub brush might also come in handy for scraping.

A super hint

Graphite is what you should use to properly lubricate a lock. You can buy it at the hardware store, but you also can use a pencil. Just rub it back and forth over the teeth of your key, and stick it into the lock, turning the key back and forth a couple of times to distribute it. That’s all you need to do to keep your locks working smoothly.

Shoptalk

When I mow the lawn, I like to do a little striping, but it’s not easy, and it takes practice. But now, Toro has come out with an add-on for most walk-behind mowers. It’s a weighted bar that is easy to install and uses sand for extra weight to flatten the grass after you mow it down. Now your yard really can look professionally mowed, and, with a little practice, you can get creative with the patterns. Just go to toro.com to learn how to make your yard look super! The kit is available at a wide variety of lawn and garden stores, as well as hardware stores and home centers.

Have a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman at thesuperhandyman.com. Those of general interest will be used in future columns.