Soffits & Attic intake ventilation

A common challenge with older homes is how efficiently fresh air can be introduced into the Attic space.  The most common method is through the soffit area of the roof overhang.  As we go back over the decades the materials and methodology used to frame and construct these areas can present challenges.  A common issue is the original insulation is packed too tightly into the perimeter that it is blocking the intake ventilation.  In the photo below you can see the original wood chip insulation is choking off the air flow in the truss cavity.  Next to it you see a new styrofoam baffle or “air chute” installed to allow for intake air flow.  A piece of white fiberglass batt insulation is installed underneath of the air chute to fill the space and prevent any insulation from the Attic from spilling into the soffit cavity.

The next photo shows the same installation from the Attic side.  You can see lots of daylight coming in through the new air chutes.  We want to maximize that air flow while containing the new loosefill insulation that will be installed last.  This insulation needs to stay in the Attic and not fall into the soffit cavity where it can limit the intake air flow from outside.

The last photo displays how the original plywood soffit has been removed to expose the soffit cavity.  This is critical in order to provide the maximum amount of air flow into the Attic.  A common mistake is to install new perforated aluminum soffit over top of the existing wood soffit material.  This greatly limits the amount of air that can travel into the soffit cavity and effectively chokes off the Attic.  It is very important to remove the wooden soffit and any blockage at the heel above the external wall plate to ensure the maximum amount of fresh air can pass into the Attic

Existing wood chips blocking ventilation compared with new air chutes & batt insulation

new air chutes are installed with batt insulation to prevent the new insulation from falling behind

older home with wood soffit removed to expose the ventilation at the attic perimeter

Sources of Attic Rain

Calgary has seen some severe Attic rain episodes this Winter.  IDEAL has been called to dozens of homes that are experiencing water damage in their Attics, ceiling Drywall and in extreme cases water “raining” into their living spaces.  We’ve talked before about the causes: penetrations that allow moisture in the Attic, insufficient insulation causing heat loss & ventilation problems.  What we’ve seen the most this winter is Bath fan & Dryer vent exhaust pipes that are not fully 100% exhausting hot moist air out of the roof vent.

Why is this happening?  Well the standard exhaust vent for bath & clothes dryers is called a Gooseneck.  It is curved in shape & contains either a flapper or grate (or both) to manage air flow & accessory ingress.  But what this standard aluminum vent does not have is a dedicated internal pipe or collar for said bath fan or dryer vent hose/pipe to clamp onto.  Instead the standard method in both new construction and renovations is to push the hose/pipe up to the interior opening in the Gooseneck vent and use a piece of chloroplast cardboard or sheet metal to hold in place.  In effect the exhaust hose/pipe is adjacent to the opening of the Gooseneck vent, not actually connected.

The issue that many Calgarians have experienced is the hot, moist air that these exhaust pipes expell is spilling out of this connection and coating the underside of the plywood roof deck with moisture.  During prolonged periods of cold weather this moisture causes frost to build that over days and weeks can become quite thick and prevalent.  Once this cycle begins the connection of hose & roof vent begins to build with ice and subsequently opens up further allowing even more moisture to spill into the Attic.  Lastly our classic Calgary chinooks blow in and quickly warms our climate causing the thick frost to melt quickly.  The ensuing melting, or Attic rain, quickly overwhelms the attic insulation, ceiling vapor barrier, drywall and eventually comes raining down into your living spaces.

The solution that IDEAL advocates for is to replace the standard rooftop Gooseneck vent with one that has a dedicated interior collar.  We’ve talked before about the Primex vent which is an excellent product for this application.  When we replace & install the Primex we can ensure a proper connection between the hose and gooseneck and hence provide greater assurance that moisture will be vented outside as designed in reduce the chances that it will be trapped in your Attic space.


there is an air space between this exhaust pipe and the gooseneck roof vent which allows moist air to spill into the Attic

Note:  you can see in this photo that there is a space between the metal flange used to hold the bath fan hose up against the bottom opening of the Gooseneck roof vent.  If ice begins to form in this gap it will quickly grow over times of prolonged cold and push the gap even wider.  Eventually a large portion of the bathroom or dryer warm/moist air that the homeowner is attempting to vent will instead be spilling into the attic and causing frost to grow on the plywood roof deck.  When this frost melts Attic rain & damage ensues.

How to hire a Contractor

IDEAL has been working with the Better Business Bureau for decades.  They do a terrific job of identifying credible companies as well as supporting consumers with legitimate concerns.  The BBB recently shared this FAQ sheet on how to hire a contractor.  It clearly lays out some important factors to consider when choosing a reputable company to work on your home.  Check out the link below and feel free to ask your IDEAL representative for any of our corresponding documentation.


Tip Sheet – Hiring a Contractor

Energy Efficiency Alberta

The Alberta Government has established a new Energy Efficiency Alberta Agency that will administer & incentivize Albertan’s to invest in upgrading their home’s energy efficiency.

Here’s a snippet of their press release.  You can read the entire post here.

“”Energy Efficiency Alberta will promote and support energy efficiency and community energy systems (including micro-generation and small-scale generation) for homes, businesses and communities.

Initial programs include a Direct Install Residential Program, a Residential Consumer Products Program and a Business Non-Profit and Institutional Rebate Program.

  • Direct Install Residential Program will offer direct, no-charge installation of low-cost energy efficiency products to residences, such as lighting, water and heating components.
  • Residential Consumer Products Program will offer point of sale rebates to residential customers at retail outlets with products such as lighting, insulation and appliances.
  • Business, Non-Profit and Institutional Rebate Program will offer incentives for high-efficiency products and installation of electric and gas based products such as lighting, heating and
  • cooling systems and hot water systems.””

Here at IDEAL Insulation & Roofing we are not certain what this new Energy Efficiency Alberta commission will mean to our business but we are certainly poised to service any requests for insulation upgrades.  Give our office a call to discuss your thoughts or projects.  Site inspections & quotes are always Free.

Attic voids

Attic voids are tricky.  They hide beneath your Attic insulation, out of sight & out of mind.  They could be anywhere: above a shower, above a closet, surrounding a cinder-block chimney or simply a large hole that was cut for electrical wiring or plumbing vent stacks.  Wherever they are in your attic and no matter the size they pose a problem.  They are penetrations in your ceiling vapor barrier.  Attic voids compromise your Home’s ability to keep heat and moisture out of your Attic space.  They allow heat to rise up from your conditioned living spaces into your Attic.  They also allow cold air from your Attic to travel down within your interior walls.  Ever had a cold wall inside your House and wondered why?  It could be that winter air in the Attic is descending down into your living spaces.  Older homes are rife with voids.  They didn’t manage air flow to the same extent that we do today.  If you have an older home invite IDEAL to inspect your Attic.  If it has been longer than 10 years since anyone has added any insulation there is most likely some positive impact that IDEAL can provide.  We’ll also provide a full site inspection of your Attic where we seek out potential issues such as attic voids.

chimney void in attic

chimney void in attic

My Heat

A new energy efficiency research company launched this year that is providing homeowners and contractors with new data on residential heat loss.  My Heat uses technology born at the University of Calgary to provide a Heat Score for houses that have been scanned with a Thermal camera from the air.  These scores can be used to identify hot or cold areas in a home, largely focused upon the attic/roof.  As a homeowner you can now see a thermal scan of your home where you can identify warm or cold areas.  There is much to be learned of their sources, heat loss can be due to construction factors such as insufficient insulation, voids allowing for cold or hot air to pass or appliance issues such as furnaces.  Lifestyle factors such as number of inhabitants, cooking/laundry/washing habits or heating factors such as furnace and fireplace will also impact a My Heat score.

With this information homeowners and contractors have a comparative score that can be used to identify heat loss quantitatively.  This information is very new and subsequent scans and casual relationships must be reviewed in order to properly understand it’s relevance to homeowner lifestyle and home construction techniques.  On the surface it is an exciting opportunity to measure overall heat loss on a scale that was previously unavailable.  Here at IDEAL we are very interested to see how our work with insulation applications and products will impact the My Heat scores of our customers.  My Heat is currently offering data on the town of Okotoks, AB with plans to scan more cities in the near future.  You can learn more at  Stay tuned!

Map of Okotoks where My Heat has currently scanned

Map of Okotoks where My Heat has currently scanned

HomeStars Best of 2016 Award

IDEAL Insulation & Roofing is proud to be recognized as one of HomeStars Best of 2016 Award winners for Calgary, AB.  HomeStars is one of the most trusted online forums connecting consumers with residential contractors.  It has become a valuable tool to promote current jobs as well as communicate with prospective clients.  When our customers tell us that they read positive reviews on our company we know that they are speaking of HomeStars.  To be selected as a HomeStars Best of 2016 Award winner exemplifies the role that they play in our business and our communication with future clients to come.  Thank you HomeStars!

HomeStars Best of 2016

HomeStars Best of 2016 Award


Identifying Mold

Identifying Mold in your home can be a scary proposition.  Why is it there?  How long has it been an issue?  Is it dangerous to the health of myself and my family?  These questions are best answered by a qualified mold remediation professional.  To help research this topic the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has published a detailed document on identifying mold.  It’s a case study prepared for a Saskatchewan First Nations community that experienced overland flooding but their insights can apply to all households that experience mold growth.  The document pertaining to Homeowners identifying mold is located HERE.

IDEAL Insulation & Roofing encounters mold on projects frequently, most often during the winter months due to condensation.  It is often the result of excessive moisture generated in the Home due to lifestyle coupled with poor Attic ventilation and insufficient insulation.  IDEAL can often help with improving these factors to aid your efforts in removing the source of the mold from your home.  Contact IDEAL today to schedule a free site inspection where we will share our expertise in identifying the insulation & roofing issues within your home.

attic mold

identifying mold in an attic space

IDEAL company infographic

We’re working on some new advertising for IDEAL.  Our infographic outlining all of IDEAL services is now complete.  Check it out!


IDEAL infographic

Information on Mould

Found this brochure produced by Alberta Health Services outlining some facts about Mould.

check it out at this link

Alberta Health Services mould brochure