When you own a home, you want to understand the systems that keep your home functioning well. A roof and attic ventilation system is one that tends to get taken for granted, and often not thought about it unless a problem arises. However, taking the time to learn about the different types of ventilation systems and how they function will prepare you to recognize issues with your current ventilation system, and identify problems before the damage becomes extensive.
How Ventilation Works
Roofing ventilation is made up of a system of intake and exhaust vents. The intake vents are placed in the eaves to allow fresh outside air to enter the attic. Exhaust vents are usually installed near the roof peak and allow hot stagnant air to escape from the attic. Together, these vents provide consistent airflow throughout the attic and roof and protect the roof from heat damage due to temperature fluctuations and moisture inside and outside the house.
Common Types of Roof Vents
There are multiple different vent systems on the market. Each roof has different needs, and in many cases the best solution is a combination of multiple types.
Box vents, also referred to as “low profile vents” or “flat vents”, are static vents with no moving parts that are installed over a hole cut into the roof. Box vents create an opening for rising hot air and moisture to escape the attic and are most effective when installed close to the roof ridge. Multiple vents within the same roof are often necessary to provide enough airflow.
Wind turbines are vents with moving parts powered by the wind. Wind turbine vents are able to move more air than box vents are, but only when the wind is blowing. The spinning action is triggered by wind, which in turn, draws hot air and moisture up out of the attic. Wind turbine vents are available in multiple degrees of quality, but we recommend higher quality wind turbines.
Power attic vents (PAVs) have large motor powered fans that drive hot air and moisture out of the attic and roofing system. PAVs come in a variety of colors, and some have thermostats that turn the fan on when the attic reaches a certain temperature. These vents are designed to be very quiet and to maintain consistent airflow.
However, PAVs accomplish this by pulling cool air out of the house through attic access, which can result in increased cooling costs because the air conditioning unit will have to continually cool new air.
Ridge vents are static vents installed at the ridge of the roof. They run the entire length of the ridge and blend into the roofline to create a more attractive home. When combined with soffit vents, ridge vents are one of the most effective ventilation combination choices for most roofs.
Soffit vents are the most common kind of intake vents. These vents prevent the attic space from becoming hot and stagnant by allowing fresh air to come inside. Soffit vents are installed on the underside of your home’s eaves, which is called the soffit, and are not noticeable from the ground unless you are looking for them.
Which Type Of Vent Is Best?
The unique size, shape and slope of your roof and attic all affect the way vents function, so there is no one option that can be considered best. Consistent airflow is the goal of proper ventilation, and that looks different for every roof. A professional roofing contractor can determine the best combination of vents for your roofing system during the inspection or estimate process.
Please schedule a free estimate if you have concerns about heat damage or inadequate roof ventilation. One of our expert sales representatives will be happy to come inspect your roof and help you plan your next steps.