Roof vents are important for the overall maintenance of your home. They let airflow in and out of the attic, which helps to prevent condensation and damage to the roof.
If you’re looking to replace or install roof vents yourself, check your municipal roofing codes first, then take a look at the different kinds of vents available. You’ll want roof vents that work well with your attic. You’ll also want to install them correctly. Call a local specialist for roof vent installation.
How Vents Work and Why they Matter
Your attic is insulated to maintain the temperature of the house, but it needs fresh air to avoid excessive heat and moisture. Without roof vents, there is a risk of condensation. Condensation occurs when the warmth of the house meets the cooler air inside the attic and droplets of water are formed. This is bad news for homeowners because moisture causes mold, which causes wood decay and allergic reactions. Wet insulation also stops working properly, which decreases energy efficiency.
Trapping heat within the attic also causes the shingles on the roof to get too hot. Excess heat shortens their lifespan, wasting money in roof repairs. The snow on the roof will also melt, then refreeze when temperatures drop, creating ice dams that damage gutters and cause flooding. Proper ventilation is therefore extremely important for the maintenance of your roof and attic.
So, how does it work? Intake vents in the soffits let air into the attic, and exhaust vents on the top of the roof let air out. Because heat rises, air flows naturally from the bottom to the top. This process is known as passive ventilation.
Building codes have standards for the number of vents needed. Most places require 1 square foot of roof vent for every 300 square feet of attic floor. This ensures that the attic is vented properly, making the most of passive ventilation.
Roof Vent Basics
Intake vents are usually found within the soffits of the home, which don’t need to be replaced very often. These are usually perforated all over their surface or there are vents sandwiched between the soffits every few feet. Soffits should be replaced if they are cracked or broken. You should also check that there isn’t any attic insulation blocking the soffits from the inside.
There are a few different kinds of exhaust vents. Static vents, which are visible from the ground, stick out from the roof and simply let the air out. They have metal or plastic covers that keep the rain out, and vents underneath to let air flow. Check on your attic every now and then and ensure that these vents aren’t blocked. If you can, check that they do not have chew marks. Squirrels like to chew through these to reach the attic.
Turbine vents, or whirly birds, are static, but these rotate naturally with the help of the breeze, which then sucks the air out of the attic. Like every other static vent, these should be high up on the roof and cleared of any blockage.
Ridge vents run along the length of the roof’s peak and can be difficult to see, even while on the roof. These are great for keeping rain, snow, and pests out of the attic while letting air out. Ridge vents can be added to the home for added ventilation, though it is better to hire a professional.
Powered roof vents are another type of exhaust vent, which use electricity to pull the air out of the attic. Like a thermostat, will turn on when the temperature of the attic is too high, then stop spinning once it has cooled down. The downsides of these vents are that they use energy to function, and risk pulling air in from leaks inside the house, wasting your air conditioning. Solar-powered vents are an environmentally friendly solution that help offset this cost.
Gable vents serve as both intake vents and exhaust vents, depending on the direction of the wind. These vents are placed high up on the sides of the home, within the peak of a gable. Because of their positioning, warm air can escape them, and wind that flows perpendicularly with gable vents will flow into the attic.
Call a Roof Vent Specialist
If you want to have your roof vents inspected or replaced, call a professional. Roof vents must be installed properly so there is no leakage into the attic or accidental blockage. With regards to new vents, a professional will be well versed in the building codes of your area and will know what will work best for your property. Getting onto the roof can also be dangerous. Call a roof vent specialist for all your attic ventilation needs.