Spending time pondering your roof ventilation system is likely something that you haven’t done. Most homeowners probably haven’t thought about their roof ventilation at all. But when the time comes that you start thinking about it, you’ll want to ensure that it’s properly taken care of and working well.
Your roof’s ventilation is essential for the health of your home and here’s why:
What a Roof Ventilation System Does
The general purpose of a ventilation system is to ensure good airflow throughout the attic. Additionally, it can help keep your attic cool during the summer and dry during all of the colder months when condensation can build up and work its way into your home. No matter the climate you live in, roof ventilation is essential for your home.
Even if your home doesn’t have a usable attic, it still has space where insulation is stored and helps keep your home warm. Without an attic, there would be little space between the outside elements and the rest of your home.
Attics provide that cushion needed to make your home more efficient. The vents on your roof help with attic ventilation and keep stagnant air from building up, thus reducing the likelihood of mold, mildew, or any other problems in your attic.
How a Roof Ventilation System Works
The ventilation system works by providing continual airflow throughout the attic space. This continuous flow of air removes hot air and moisture by keeping fresh air moving in and out of the space. The simple system that’s put in place to help keep this continuous flow consists of intake and exhaust units throughout the roof system.
The soffit vents, ridge vents, and gable vents are all placed in strategic places and all work together to keep warm moist air out of your attic and ensure that your roof is “breathing” properly.
Depending on the year your roof was constructed, the technology used to design it may vary. For older roofs, you might find that the ventilation system isn’t quite as effective as it is with newer roofs. In these cases, the roof can be redone to ensure that proper insulation is used and that there is adequate room for air to flow within the attic.
Main Types of Roof Vents
Several roof vents can be used throughout different parts of your roof or can complement different kinds of roofs. A few common types regularly used on roofs include static vents, ridge vents, and gable vents.
- Static Vents: These vents are made up of horizontal openings that are essentially vent-covered holes in the roof that allow for airflow in and out of the roof.
- Ridge Vents: This type of vent runs along the ridge of your roof. These vents provide an external baffle or tube that can promote more airflow while also protecting your home from rain and snow.
- Gable Vents: A gable vent is inserted into the gable of your roof or the end of your roof and will often be used in conjunction with other types of vents to maximize potential attic ventilation.
Other types of vents that are commonly used include soffit vents and eave vents.
Insulation vs. Attic Ventilation
Some may think that they need more insulation to effectively lower their energy bills and keep all the warm air inside their house and cool air out. But that’s not actually the ideal way to boost your home’s energy efficiency. The best way to ensure that your home runs at peak performance is to keep your insulation and attic ventilation system working together.
While insulation helps to hold air inside and outside your home, the intake and exhaust vents throughout your roof system will help keep a consistent air temperature in your attic space. Too much insulation in your attic may make your home seem warmer, but poor ventilation will lead to water leaks and future problems.
Seasonal Importance of Attic Ventilation
Proper roof ventilation is vital for all seasons of the year, and if you live in a region with more extreme weather, you’ll definitely need to keep an eye on your ventilation. Certain vents actually work better in some seasons than others.
Spring and Summer 🌷☀️
In the warmer months, vents need to disperse as much hot air as possible to prevent too much moisture. A balanced ventilation system includes a combination of these vents:
- Ridge vents
- Wind turbines
- Power vents
Good ventilation in summer helps reduce the necessity of an air conditioner.
Fall and Winter 🍁☃️
Keep your roof vents open in winter to prevent moisture buildup and dangerous ice dams. A cold attic is perfectly fine, as long as you have the proper attic insulation. Soffits and gable vents work great in colder months— just remember to keep them clean and don’t cover them with insulation.
How to Maintain Your Roof Ventilation System
As a homeowner, it can be daunting thinking about all the different parts of the home that need to be regularly inspected and checked on. There’s just too much going on in your life and around your home for you to be able to keep up with it all.
Thankfully, it won’t take a professional contractor or inspector long to see if your roof is vented properly. If you’re waiting for a routine inspection of your roof’s condition, there are a few things that you can do in the meantime.
First, check for any debris or other items blocking the vents and prohibiting peak airflow. Next, inspect the inside of your attic or roof deck for water damage or moisture. Finally, check your attic insulation and make that it looks like it’s in good condition. Sometimes insulation can wear down and start to decompose. It’s not uncommon to have some of it replaced.
Signs of Poor Roof Ventilation
There are several signs on the exterior of your home that can easily point to poor roof ventilation. Checking for these signs can also help ensure that your roof vents are working properly. If you live in a cooler state where you get regular snowfall in the winter, watch the snow on your roof.
- Does it melt off only in certain places?
- Or perhaps are there “hot spots” on your roof where no snow stays?
- Ice dams are another sure sign that your roof isn’t vented properly.
Ice dams form when hot air in your attic builds up due to improper ventilation. The hot air then melts the snow, and as the water runs down your roof, it’s met by cool air, where it begins to re-freeze. This normally happens towards the edge of your roof because that’s where built-up hot air is less likely.
Set Up Your Free Inspection With WISA
Ensuring that your roof is properly vented and that your attic stays dry will help you keep your home in pristine condition longer. If you’re unsure whether this is the case or not in your home, then reach out to the team at WISA. We’d love to help by inspecting your roof and checking the ventilation systems throughout it.