Incorrect soffit vent?

I live in a 20 year old (or so) condo. My attic/loft is livable space, but is always uncomfortable in the summer. I've been doing my research on powered attic ventilators, but because of safety issues felt it would be better to go with the passive approach.
In looking at the venting, I have a ridge vent, and some soffit venting, but only on the front. When there is soffit vent, it's stagged sections every 18" or so across the front, not a continuous soffit vent as I would expect. However, in the back the soffit is solid, or so it appears. There is no visible venting in that soffit at all. Some new units in the development were built in the last 2 or 3 years, so I thought I'd see how they did it and make a case to have the venting installed. SAME THING. In the new units they have staggered venting in the front soffits, and solid soffits in the rear.
What gives? I thought the idea was to have good venting on both sides of the attic soffit? Why would a builder do it this way, with solid in the back and vented in the front?
I've taken temperature measurements, and when it's 80 degrees outside, its typically 120 degrees in the attic. I can't install gable vents, because they are brick/block and not permitted to be altered. PAV is out because of backdrafting, I have a ridge vent - so what are my options?
Shawn
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Shawn wrote:

It appears someone put in insufficient venting. Without seeing it, it would be difficult to tell. May I ask if there are any other vents than the soffit vents? Soffits let air in, you also need vents up higher to let the hot air out. I will also suggest that power venting and what venting designs work best does depend on local conditions. What works for me may not work well for you.
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Joseph Meehan

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On Sun, 17 Jul 2005 22:23:02 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

Thanks, Joe. The only other venting is the ridge vent, maybe a 20' section or so, on a 30' roof line. Other than that, there isn't anything else. Just the every-other soffit vent in the front, and solid soffits in the back. All the venting in the place is bad - dryer is vented to the attic, air conditioner water discharge goes out to the soffit vent in the rear, and it just drips out wherever it finds an opening, bathroom fans are vented to the attic. Not a great setup, so I'm trying to make the changes all at one.
Does anyone know if there are roof discharges for dryers?
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Shawn wrote:

Good grief, everyone knows you don't vent anything into the attic, it either goes out the side or through the roof. The dryer vent needs to exit through the roof, or possibly trough the soffit to the outside, or through a wall. Depending on where the dryer is, most vent directly to an outside wall. Bathroom vents usually/often vent through the roof. The AC drip hose needs to run directly to the outside, through the soffit is ok but it shouldn't end before exiting the soffit.
At least that's my take, you might want to check with the local building department to see what is currently standard It sounds like the construction probably violated the local code when constructed and is certainly poor practice.
I'm not sure what livable space attic is, unless you mean it has a floor. Old time attics that were livable, didn't have real venting, just windows at the gable ends. If the attic has a floor but still has real venting (soffits and ridge), one might use it for storage but I wouldn't call it livable.
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Shawn wrote:

Ridge venting is good.

Local codes should specify how many square inches of vent per square feet of area vented is required. More is always better.

Very bad, and against code in many areas.

Yea they all need changing.

Yes. I would prefer a gable end vent, but that is not always possible.
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asked:

http://tinyurl.com/9jsox
Here's another spot with dryer vents (take your pick) http://www.lambro.net/prodtype.asp?prodtype6
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In alt.home.repair on Sun, 17 Jul 2005 22:04:56 -0400 Shawn

What safety issues? As long as my head is not high enough to hit it, I don't see any. If I were that tall, I'd build a frame around it, and maybe a screen if I had a wife with long hair.
I have a roof fan, I call it, and it works great. Starts between noon and 2 and turns off by 10. Little noise, no noise when sleeping. Lowered my upstairs temperature at least 10 degrees. The attic temperature, probably from 140 on sunny hot days to no more than 95 when it is 90 out, I'm guessing 88 when it is 80 out.

I have a cheap townhouse built 26 years ago, and it has 4 inch wide soffit vents the full length of both front and rear soffitts. I think it just has vinyl window screening stapled to wood, but it's fine. (Well, a couple birds got in before I bought the house and died with their heads sticking out of the pink insulation, but I repaired that. Nothing else has gotten in.

Not surprised. There were other threads about this in the last two weeks, with my long experience in one post in one of them. search in groups.google.com advanced search on this group and "meirman" for the author. That will find you the whole thread.

Like the others say, these are all bad. I'm thinking the dryer air is especially damp, will wet the insulation, and make that not work right, and iiuc might cause all the problems that having a moisture barrier on the floor insulation might. I'm vague on this.

Meirman -- If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
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