Why Roof Ventilation Is Important
Solar Star, our solar-powered roof ventilator, is truly a thing of beauty. We told you All About SolarStar not too long ago. Solar Star combines value, functionality and innovation to create a product that simply does its job better and more efficiently than anything else out there.
But, why do you need mechanical roof ventilation? Well, if you have full ridge and soffit vents, then you probably dont. However, if your roof cavity isnt already well ventilated, then adding a Solar Star photovoltaic ventilator may help to lower your air conditioning load in the summer and reduce the risk of moisture damage to your roof insulation and roof structure, too. Heres how and why.
Why Use Roof Ventilation?
These days, roof cavities are built to minimise the infiltration of air from the house below and provide plenty of insulation at roof cavity level. That means the roof cavity is essentially an indoor/outdoor area, not part of the conditioned interior. However, very few houses have such an airtight top floor ceiling that warm, moist air doesnt manage to find its way up to the roof. The humid air comes up through the roof hatch, through the pot lights and through electrical and mechanical penetrations.
What About Winter Heat Loss?
A Properly Ventilated Roof Protects Your Home
Not having proper roof ventilation can make ordinary household activities a threat to the health of your home. Laundry, showers, dishwashing, and cooking can create lingering water vapor inside your house. This vapor needs to escape through roof vents or you risk damaging the underside of your roof, causing insulation rot, peeling paint, or warped siding.
To remove moisture, withstand the harsh elements of nature, and provide a long-term weather barrier, a roof must be able to breathe. The roofing ventilation experts at PJ Fitzpatrick provide a roofing system meant to withstand the elements and maximize the benefits of proper ventilation.
The Benefits Of Roof Ventilation Are Summarized Below:
While there are many benefits to proper roof ventilation, there are also drawbacks that homeowners must consider prior to undertaking the installation of roof vents.
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The Types Of Passive Roof Vents
Passive vents use the natural forces of nature, such as wind and convection, to move the air through your attic. These vents have no moving parts, create no noise, and are virtually maintenance-free.
The common types of passive roof vents are static, ridge vents without a baffle, and gable end vents.
Roofing And Attic Ventilation
Your roof ventilation probably isnt something you think about very often, but it plays an important role in many aspects of day-to-day life in your home. Having the right amount of ventilation in your attic can have a positive effect on the lifespan of your roof system, the comfort and well-being of your family, your future costs for home repairs and how much you pay for heating and cooling.
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Intake Vents Vs Exhaust Vents
Correctly balanced ventilation systems use the right combination and placement of intake and exhaust vents. They continually transform the hot and sometimes moist air in an attic into a uniform layer of drier, cooler air all year round. The two roof ventilation options, intake vents and exhaust vents, should be placed to take advantage of the natural increased speed of air circulation. This occurs through the rising of warm air and the falling of cooler air.
- Intake vents, such as soffits, are placed lower on the roof, usually under the eaves.
- Exhaust vents like attic fans, ridge vents are primarily placed at the very top of the roof or the highest pitch where hot air gathers.
Multiple types of vents can work together to create an equal inflow of cool air and outflow of hot air in your house. For example, ridge vents and gable vents function as both intake and exhaust vents. Make sure your home has a balanced roof venting system to increase your homes livability, reduce your energy costs, make your roof last longer and cut down on costly repairs.
Tip: For proper roof ventilation, roughly every 300-feet of attic space should be vented.
Finding The Right Type Of Roof Vent
The best way to determine if your roof needs a ridge vent is to work with a residential roofing company. Whether it is time to replace your roof, or you are just wanting to improve the energy efficiency of your home, a roofing professional will provide you with insight into a ventilation system that is both efficient and cost-effective.
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What Is Attic Ventilation
Your attics ventilation is a system that allows your house to breathe. It works by pulling fresh air through your attic and allowing the heat to escape through your vents properly.
There are 2 types of attic ventilation systems: active and passive. Active ventilation pulls the air in from the outside and pushes it out from the inside. Passive ventilation means the air in the attic is moved around by natural sources, such as wind.
Both ventilation systems do their job, and one isnt better than the other. But if your attic isnt properly ventilated, its going to lead to problems.
How Roof Ventilation Affects Humidity Levels
If the humidity levels in your home are too high, it can lead to a number of problems such as:
- Mold and mildew growth on walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture
- Damage to building materials such as wood, paper, ceiling tiles and insulation
- Peeling paint and wallpaper
- Discoloration of fabrics
- A musty smell throughout the home, which is sometimes mistaken for a gas leak or other problem
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Different Types Of Roof Vents
Whether you’re adding roof vents to your roof deck or attic, you’ll find that knowing the different types of roof vents will be handy for choosing the right type to install in your home.
The idea of roof vents existed for hundreds of years with natural vents employed in Chinese buildings during the Tang Dynasty, natural ventilation ducts in the Buddhist monks caves, and wind catchers incorporated in Arabian architecture.
Vent roofs with steeples, towers, or cupolas can be found in different buildings from barns to cathedrals. The building codes and building science for natural roof ventilation, however, only appeared in the 1940s.
Roof ventilation in a cold climate vents moisture and ensures a cold roof temperature to avoid ice dams. In a hot climate, roof vents expel hot air from the roof or attic while relieving the load on the air conditioning system.
These are static vents without any moving parts and are installed over a hole that has been cut into the roof. By using natural convection, they make an opening in the roof that allows both moisture and hot air to escape from the house. They are generally made of very hard plastic, but they are also available made from metal and can be bought in a number of different colors so that they will best match the roof of your home.
A Note About Bathroom And Kitchen Exhaust Vents
Bathroom and kitchen exhaust vents are not a type of roofing vent. It should be noted that these vents, which expel warm moist air from the bathroom and food prep areas of the home, need their own ducts and vent hoods, which direct air to the homes exterior. These vents and ducts should never share space with the roof vent, and air should never be vented directly into the attic.
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Do All Roof Vents Cost The Same
No. Different price ranges are catering to different sections of the public in the roof vent market. Moreover, there are a variety of sizes available because not everyone has the same kind of roof. This leads to different pricing even on the same model when you choose a bigger size. The prices of roof vents also go up when manufacturers add extra features to the vents.
Benefits Of Roof Ventilation
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 Is A Roof Vent
The term roof vent can mean many things. As we define it, a roof vent will remove hot air and moisture out of your attic. There are many different types of roof vents that accomplish this task in different ways. Some are motorized, powered by electricity and wired into the home. While on the other hand, some utilize solar power or wind, and others require nothing at all. This leads us to the most common question concerning roof vents:
Are There Different Kinds Of Exhaust Vents
Yes. Depending on the type of roof your house has, you may choose any of the following types of exhaust vents:
Ridge Vent: If your roof has a lot of ridges, you can use this form of ventilation.
Gable Vent: Meant for the gables of the roof.
Power Vent: Powered by electricity, this requires high maintenance.
Wind Turbine: Versatile and can be installed on any roof.
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How Are Box Vents Installed
This type of vent is installed over a hole cut in the roof. From the ground, they look like a low-profile metal box sitting on top of the shingles. Unlike a singular ridge vent, you will likely need to install more than one box vent depending on the square footage of your attic.
Similar to ridge vents, box vents rely on the natural wind and air pressure to remove warm air and moisture from the attic. One advantage of box vents is the reduced cost of investment.
Powered Roof Vent Cost
Installing a powered roof vent costs $200 to $1,400 on average, depending on the size and whether it is solar-powered or electric. Roof vent fans are installed on the back roof near the top ridge to exhaust warm, rising air from the attic.
Powered roof vents must be paired with intake vents that draw in outside air at the lower part of the roof.
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Intake Bring That Fresh Air In
Hot air leaving your attic is important for your homes health and roofs longevity, but hot air is generally pretty stubborn! It doesnt want to leave without being forced out, so we need something to act as a bouncer. Enter: cooler air.
Cool, fresh air is the other half of a great venting strategy. The cooler air comes into your attic space via intake vents that are placed lower on the roof line than the exhaust vents mentioned above. Because the cooler air enters underneath the hot air , the intake ventilation will help push the stubborn hot air out of the attic space. The cool air, by way of intake style vents acts as our bouncer.
As long as you have exhaust vents with a large enough surface area, then this cooler intake air will help thrust the hot air out of the home. In a perfect world, its all a complete cycle
Cool air in through the intake vents and hot air out through the exhaust!
Installing Roof Vents Helps Home Climate Control
If youre thinking of replacing your roof or your home doesnt have any roof vents and you want to install them, PJ Fitzpatrick can ensure that your home is properly ventilated. The benefits of a properly ventilated roof far outweigh the costs of adding one to your home. To protect your home and your family, contact us today for an estimate.
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How Roof Ventilation Works
Now you know what roof ventilation is, we will now discuss in-depth about how the system works. Natural ventilation systems rely on air being able to naturally flow through the attic. This uses the stack effect and wind effect, but what are they?
The stack effect is when hot air rises into the attic, causing high pressure within the high points of the roof. Exhaust is when hot air escapes through the attic. However, the hot air can only escape when there is a way for cooler air to flow into the attic. Intake is when this cool air enters the attic.
When wind hits the roof from the outside, this increases the intake and exhaust, and this is known as the wind effect. Both intake and exhaust are important because they help encourage the natural circulation of air.
Whether you can use natural vents or require a mechanical roof vent, the idea is the same. Roof vents will work at allowing air to circulate the attic to regulate the temperatures.
But how many roof vents are needed? Having the right number of intakes and exhausts is essential to creating proper ventilation. Intake and exhaust both work together to manage the temperature within the attic and roof. You can never have too many, but you can have too little, so it is important to get it right.
Calculate Air Flow Needs
First, determine how much venting your home requires. Ideally, your roof should have a minimum of one square foot of ventilation, split between intake and exhaust vents, for every 300 square feet of attic floor space. The amount of ventilation per vent is expressed as net free area, or NFA, and will be listed in product descriptions.
To calculate your venting needs, multiply the length and width of the attic to determine the total attic floor space. Divide the total by 300. That number is the total NFA your attic requires including intake and exhaust. Divide the amount in half to determine how much of each you need.
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The Types Of Active Roof Vents
Active vents work by creating a drawing effect that pulls the air in with the intake vents and pushes it back out through the exhaust vents. There are 4 common types of active roof vents: turbine, power, ridge, and solar-powered vents.
Turbine vents work by using a drawing effect through convection to move the air in your attic around even when there is no wind.
As long as this type of vent is installed properly, the air in your attic is moved around 10-12 times per hour.
Because turbine vents have slats on them and are open-aired to the attic, there is a misconception that rain, snow, and insects can enter your home through them. However, theyre designed so that none of this occurs unless the vent is damaged.
Power vents are circular-shaped vents with very low profiles you see on most roofs.
Theyre installed near the ridge of the roof and use electricity to pull the hot air from the attic. During the winter, youll want to run your power vents with a humidistat.
Otherwise, the humidity will build up in your attic, cause condensation, and shorten your roofs lifespan. Be aware, power vent motors tend to fail, so be prepared to replace them at some point.
Solar powered vents
Solar powered vents are like power vents, but they use the sun as their power source.
These vents sound great from an energy saver standpoint, but the vent turns off when the solar powered battery is charging.
Ridge vents with a baffle
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