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How Do Roof Vents Work

The Two Styles Of Ventilation

How Roof Ventilation Works

What is ventilation, anyway? According to Oxford, ventilation is the provision of fresh air to a room, building, etc.

Its out with the old and in with the new . In roofing just like in life, this is very refreshing and important strategy to have!

Understanding how air naturally moves helps us realize why both intake and exhaust play a critical role in a roofs venting ability. And knowing how the two work hand-in-hand is important before choosing which of types of roof vent systems are best for your home and budget.

How Does A Roof Ventilation System Work

Your roof should be equipped with a ventilation system that helps it maintain a constant temperature and vent out moisture. Without a good system in place, your roof will deteriorate faster, your energy costs will go up, and youll feel temperature extremes inside your home.

There are two main ways to vent an attic or roof deck: through mechanical means, where a power source moves the air, or through natural means, where air circulates naturally between vents. Hot air rises, which creates higher pressure at higher points in the attic the hot air can escape an exhaust, but only if theres an inlet located lower than the escape point that lets in cooler air from outside. Wind can help push in cooler air, too. Respectively, these are known as the stack effect and wind effect.

Should I Install Roof Vent Fans Or Attic Fans

Attic fans can be used as a remedy for problem roofs if ever natural ventilation just isn’t cutting it. We would suggest these solar powered ones as a decent compromise between cost, reliability and efficiency. Maybe you have a lot of trees around the home that disrupt the natural airflow, so the fan can be helpful in removing hot and moist air from the attic and leaving the space below the attic insulation alone. These fans manually force the air circulation within the attic, pulling fresh air from the vents and pushing hot or humid air outside.

Attic fans can fulfill a year-round function. In the summer, you can drastically reduce the temperature in the attic, helping to lengthen the life of the roofing shingles and sheathing and the paint on soffits and facias.

In colder months, attic fans can help you avoid damage caused by ice dams as well. The fans cool the attic, equalizing the temperature between the attic and outside of the home. This prevents snow from melting on your roof and freezing again when it hits the cold gutter causing those stalactites that can spear the dog or small children.

When installing an attic fan, its also important to consider how well your attic is sealed off from the rest of the home. If your attic door or hatch is particularly poorly sealed and drafty, or pot-lights were installed without being sealed properly to the air barrier membrane, turning the fan on will pull air-conditioned or heated air through the gaps.

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Size Of Inlet And Outlet Vents

The size of your inlet and outlet vents will depend on the size of your roof cavity. Large roofs will need larger inlet and outlet vents, which can handle more volumetric flow. Its recommended to aim for ten air changes per hour in your roof cavity¹.

Outlet vents/fans are more effective when theyre powered. These can be powered by solar energy, or connected to the propertys electricity. In fact, some solar-powered vents are believed to be twenty times more powerful than a standard whirly bird, making them an effective way to extract warm air from a roof cavity³.

Pros Of Roof Ventilation

Do ridge vents really work?  AskARoofer

As roof ventilation is a costly and time-consuming project of your home renovation. Before you start your roof ventilation you must know what benefits you will get after installing roof vents on your home roof.

  • Roof vents can create a balanced temperature inside your home
  • They will make your home look more attractive
  • They will allow airflow throughout the attic and home
  • These are feasible to reduce air pollution inside your home
  • These roof vents can sustain in any weather conditions if they are properly installed

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Signs Of Poor Ventilation

We briefly touched on the signs of poor ventilation with our myth-busting guide, but there are a few other key signs to watch out for that can indicate a poorly ventilated roof.

  • Recurrent ice dams.
  • Excessive moisture and humidity in your attic.
  • Wet spots on the ceiling near your attic .
  • Cold spots in the upper level of your home.
  • Deteriorating insulation from soaking up excess moisture.
  • Rusty attic fasteners.
  • Unusually high energy or heating bills.
  • Visible damage inside your home, like peeling paint or bubbled ceiling.

Fiction: Having Vents In My Attic Will Let The Cold Air In And Cool The House Down

And lastly, we want to reiterate that your roof vents are meant to circulate air in your attic and not your home. If your home and attic are well insulated on top of well ventilated, you should have no issues with heat or cold escaping from or entering your home. You will have more issues with high energy bills and inconsistent temperature with fewer attic vents and poor ventilation.

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Why Install A Ridge Vent

The main reasons that ridge vents are the best include:

  • To ensure that the hot air trapped in the attic has the means to escape.
  • Air in enclosed areas heats up during sunny days, which causes adjacent rooms to heat up. The unit will need to work harder to cool the house down if youre using an air conditioner. Vents allow the hot air to escape, lowering the ambient temperature and saving you money on air conditioning.
  • Roofing structures are usually manufactured from wood. Excessive moisture in enclosed areas such as attics causes the wood to absorb the moisture, promoting dampness and mold and ultimately rotting the wood, which leads to expensive repair costs. Roofing vents are designed to keep the enclosed area cool and dry. Adequate ventilation in the attic will ensure you achieve the longest possible lifespan from the roofing material.

Benefits Of Roof Ventilation

Roof Ventilation Explained

Roof ventilation is essential for every homeowner as it offers a range of benefits. Roof vents work throughout the year and in all climates to give your home the best protection.

Proper attic ventilation will extend the life of your roof by keeping the shingles cooler. In the warmer months, roof vents will allow air circulation so that hot air can escape. The attic and roof will both be kept much cooler, as a result. When the roof becomes warmer due to poor ventilation, this heats the roof shingles. When this occurs, the shingles become damaged.

Ventilation will also help homeowners to reduce their energy costs. When we enter the warmer months and summer begins, we want to keep cool inside our homes. A well-vented roof will allow the hot air to escape efficiently. As the hot air escapes, the attic is kept cooler and therefore reducing the strain on air conditioning systems.

Roof vents also help to reduce the extreme indoor temperatures. We have all walked upstairs to find it much warmer than downstairs. However, if this persists, it may be the result of a poorly vented roof. If hot air is unable to escape, it will stay in the upper levels of your home.

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What Types Of Roof Vents Work Best

Roof vents play an important role in improving the energy efficiency of your home. If youre looking for ways to improve your homes thermal performance, choosing the right roof vents can help. Roof vents can fall into one of two categories, based on how they function. They either work by removing old, stale air from the attic or by allowing fresh air to enter .

How Do Roofers Know Which Type Of Roof Vent Is Best For My Roof

If you know nothing about roof ventilation, you may wonder why it matters which type roof vent you choose. Well, that would probably be the case, as long as the amount of airflow coincides with your total attic space

But it gets tricky

Things like wind direction, existing ventilation, the shape of the roof Even the climate in your a sometimes must be factored in before making a decision. Especially in cases where a certain type of vent can have issues in extreme conditions.

Here some examples of why its always to get the opinion of a qualified, experienced roofer when you unsure about decisions that involve your roof.

Wind Direction: One thing roofers have to be alert to is wind direction. If you have a lot of trees behind your house, and wind primarily comes from one direction, the wind is a determining factor in deciding what of roof vent to go with.

Existing Air Flow: You may have heard at some point that wind, always follows the path of the least resistance.

This can become an issue in instances where there were previous cents installed, or in cases of improper roof installation, poorly placed roof vents can end up letting weather inside the because the airflow exits through a lower vent, forcing the higher ones to be intake vents.

This is why using two different types of roof vent is frowned on. The wind just what it does naturally and some of your vents end up unwillingly being used to pull air in because they get overpowered by the easiest path resistance.

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Are Turbine Roof Vents Worth It

Overall, turbine roof vents are a great product to improve air ventilation and room air quality. They are also durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance.

Despite their potential drawbacks, turbines offer many benefits that make them a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.

When installed properly, they can help improve your homes energy efficiency and comfort while also protecting your roof from the elements.

Can Roofs Have Too Much Ventilation

Roofing Services

No, as a general rule you cannot have too much attic ventilation, but it does need to be balanced. There can never be too much intake ventilation through soffits but too much exhaust ventilation without enough supply air can be a problem, as that can leave the attic depressurized. In that case the air will need to come from somewhere, and it will either mean other ridge vents will act as intake rather than exhaust, or it can even draw air from the inside of your home through any faults in your air barrier.

If your ridge vents are pulling air in instead of exhausting it, not only will the system not provide proper ventilation, it can pull in precipitation.

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They Prevent Mold And Mildew From Growing In Your Attic

Mold and mildew love damp, dark places. Unfortunately, your attic is the perfect breeding ground for these harmful organisms.

Turbine roof vents can help to prevent mold and mildew from growing in your attic by circulating fresh air. The movement of air will also help to keep the temperature in your attic consistent, preventing the conditions that mold and mildew need to thrive.

What Are The Benefits Of Roof Ventilation

The main benefit of roof ventilation is to regulate the temperature of your roof cavity, so that it doesnt heat or cool the rest of your property. If youre living in a building with an unventilated roof, your air conditioning will be working harder to cool your property. Air conditioning consumes a lot of energy, so roof ventilation can help to improve the energy efficiency of your home, and keep your bank account healthy in the long-run.

Roof ventilation also prevents moist air from accumulating in your roof cavity, which can create extremely humid conditions, with water dripping from the rafters. If its raining in your roof, theres a big problem! Wood and other construction materials absorb water, which eventually, can threaten the structural integrity of your home², in addition to producing swatches of smelly mould. Termites love damp conditions too, and its a big problem when those suckers get into your property.

Finally, roof insulation prevents warm air from flowing into the rest of your property, and by ensuring that your roof cavity is properly ventilated, your insulation will be protected from damaging levels of humidity.

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How Many Whirlybirds Do I Need

If youre considering installing roof whirlybirds, youre probably wondering how many whirlybirds do I need?. This is a pretty common question. Whirlybirds work very well and will only increase the ventilation in a house when multiple are installed. The size of your house should determine the number of whirlybirds you install. Heres a rough guide:

1-2 Bedroom Home: 2 Roof Whirlybird Units 3-4 Bedroom Home: 3-4 Roof whirlybird Units 4-5 Bedroom Home: 4 Roof Whirlybird Units

They Can Be A Safety Hazard

How Soffit and Ridge Vents Work

If the turbine blades become loose, they can detach from the vent and become projectiles. This can pose a serious safety hazard to you, your family, and your neighbors.

You can minimize this risk by regularly inspecting your vent and making sure the blades are securely attached. If you notice any damage, have it repaired immediately by a professional.

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Solar Powered Attic Vents

Solar-powered attic vents, or solar attic fans, as theyre also known, have become very popular for domestic applications in recent years. They work the same as an extractor fan or powered vent but use built-in solar panel energy.

The solar roof vent falls into the exhaust vent category and is thus mounted as high as possible on the roof. Solar-powered vents are reliant on the sun to work effectively.

Solar-powered attic fans are a great alternative to traditional hard-wired power attic vents. The power used to drive the fans motor is derived from the sun, ensuring ongoing free energy and ventilation, apart from the initial purchase cost.

Solar-powered attic vents generally dont deliver the same extraction volume as hard-wired power attic vents due to the limited solar panel and motor size. It may thus be necessary to install multiple units to meet the required extraction volume.

Solar-powered attic fans get power from sunlight, so they are only suited to areas where sunshine is abundant. In areas where weather conditions arent favorable to solar throughout the year, Solar-powered you may use attic fans with other vent options.

Do I Need An Attic Fan If I Have A Ridge Vent

Combining an attic power vent fan with a ridge vent is usually not recommended because: It could reverse the natural flow of hot air out the ridge vent. If air is drawn in through the ridge vent while it’s raining, it might pull rainwater in with it, which could lead to leaking or mold in the attic.

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Intake Ventilation Solutions For Your Home

With all the ways you can get that musty old air out of your attic, wed be remiss without diving into ways to replace it with new, fresh air from the great outdoors.

Exhaust ventilation without any intake is like having a bike without pedals. The air may be able to move a little, but it wont get very far!

Paired with proper exhaust , adequate intake ventilation brings fresh air into the attic and up through the exhaust. This is classic vertical ventilation at its finest! A new stream of fresh air comes in, and the old hot air is pushed out.

Unlike with exhaust, there are less styles of intake for your roof to consider. And in most cases, we strongly suggest the first option on the list.

Soffit Vents

Soffit ventilation is by far the most popular form of roof intake venting. It forms one half of the most popular combination of intake and exhaust soffit vents with a ridge vent .

Soffit vents are a favorite amongst home builders and roofers because they are unquestionably the most effective intake vent for the cost. If a homes style allows for it, most new construction builders include soffit vents in their homes blueprint.

What is a soffit vent, exactly?

Soffits are intake vents that installed directly on your eaves, which are located directly underneath your roof line. Some folks refer to this area as the roof overhang.

Gable Vents

Over Fascia Vents

Drip Edge Vents

As you can imagine, installation is notably complicated and should only be completed by a professional.

How Do Ridge Vents Work Final Thoughts

Roof Eave Venting on Roofs with no Overhang or Soffit

Whether you are building your dream home or re-roofing your existing one, having a properly ventilated roof is an important part of protecting your home, your family. Making the right decision can extend the life of your roofing system.

Having the right amount of air exchange and a well thought out and professionally installed roof can preserve the lifespan of your roof and save you a ton of money in the long run.

If you have any options on which roof vents are best option for your roofing project on your home, or you are planning to re-roof your home and would like to review your options with an expert roofer, just give us a call at 703-2336 or click any of the buttons on our site to have a team member call you back to schedule a free inspection and estimate at your convenience!

As a reputable five star rated roofing contractor in Minneapolis, Sellers Roofing Company New Brighton is proud to offer best in class roofing and remodeling services to all of the greater Minneapolis area!

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They Come In A Variety Of Sizes And Styles

When it comes to vents, one size does not fit all. Thats why turbine roof vents are available in various sizes and styles.

Whether you need a small vent for a single room or a large vent for an entire house, theres a turbine roof vent that will suit your needs. Turbine roof vents also come in many colors, so you can find one that matches the style of your home.

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