If you were asked to list every vent in your home, would you think of your roof vents? Roof and attic ventilation is essential for every modern home, but many homeowners do not understand why it is so important. Discover everything you should know about roof ventilation.
Why is Roof Ventilation Important?
In a home with no roof ventilation at all, heat and moisture would build up in the attic, rafters, and roof indefinitely. The problems this can cause would quickly become apparent. Trapping heat in your attic would have the most predictable effect – forcing your air conditioner to work harder to cool your home and, in turn, use more energy. Roof ventilation helps your AC cool your home as efficiently as possible.
Understanding the potential dangers of trapped moisture takes a bit more analysis. The first concern is mold and mildew, which can occur in any part of your home where moisture is. Mold can flourish in wood and other porous materials used in roof construction. Uncontrolled mold growth presents a health risk by releasing spores that can cause respiratory irritation and circulate easily through your ductwork.
Another danger of trapped moisture in your attic and roof is that it can soak into the roof decking. With continuous exposure to moisture, the adhesives in your roof can dissolve and the rafters and other wooden components can start to sag. Roof ventilation releases trapped moisture to prevent mold growth and preserve the structural integrity of your roof.
What Roof Ventilation Options Are Available?
A variety of different technologies provide roof ventilation for homes of any size. Furthermore, roof and attic vents can be divided into two types: intake vents and exhaust vents. As the names imply, exhaust vents are responsible for removing warm air from your attic and roof, while intake vents support this process by pulling in cool air to push out and replace the warm air.
Wind turbines or whirlybirds were one of the first types of roof exhaust vents. These devices rotate as wind blows over your roof to power a fan that pulls air out of your attic and roof. While wind turbines are still popular, modern roof exhaust vents are often powered, either by connecting to your home’s wiring or with a solar panel that attaches to the vent.
Soffit vents are the most common type of intake roof vents. If your roof hangs over the edge of your home, you may see soffit vent registers on the underside of the overhang. In homes without a large overhang, drip-edge vents or fascia vents may serve the same purpose when you do not have room for soffit vents.
What Can Cause Poor Roof Ventilation?
If problems start to appear in your home like visible mold, a musty odor, or warping in your roof or rafters, you may need to assess whether your home has adequate roof ventilation. Common culprits behind degraded performance in your roof ventilation include dust and dirt clogging your soffit vents and animal nests obstructing your roof exhaust vents.
In some cases, homes simply do not have enough roof and attic ventilation from the start. A professional energy audit can help you determine whether your roof ventilation needs expanding and will often identify other improvements you