The idea of having an attic ventilation system may seem a little counterintuitive. You have insulation to reduce temperature fluctuations and maintain your home’s energy efficiency. However, you still need to allow air to flow in and out of the attic regardless of the time of year.
You can’t ignore the importance of roof ventilation. Sealed attics support the accumulation of heat and moisture, which can impact the performance and condition of your roof and home. Making sure your home has proper roof ventilation can save you the stress and hassle of roof damage and emergency repairs.
Roof Ventilation at Work
Proper roof ventilation in your attic addresses heat and excess moisture in the attic. It works on the principle that warm air naturally rises and creates pressure at high points in the attic. In the summer, heat on your roof can transfer to your attic. In winter, hot air from your home accumulates in the attic.
Roof ventilation allows warm, moisture-filled air to escape through an exhaust vent. Fresh, cool air then enters the attic through an intake vent. This natural air circulation will help moderate the temperatures in your home, making it more comfortable without the need for endless air conditioner cycles.
The main purpose of roof ventilation is to ensure temperature and humidity levels in the attic match the outdoor conditions.
Paths to Good Venting
There are two main types of roof ventilation: intake vents and exhaust vents.
Intake vents are typically installed at the drip edge, at the eaves under the soffit, and under the shingles at the roof’s edge. As the name implies, intake vents take in cool air from outdoors. This fresh air replaces warm air in the attic, ensuring balanced airflow.
Exhaust vents allow warm air to flow from the attic to the outdoors. The most common type of exhaust vent is the ridge vent.
Ridge vents are a type of exhaust vent specifically designed to fit along the ridge of the roof (the intersection of two roof planes). They are typically made from aluminum or a molded mesh-type material, and run the whole length of the roof.
During the installation, an air slot is cut in the roof deck at the peak of the roof. The ridge vent is then installed on top of the air slot to create uniform airflow at the highest portion of the attic.
Ridge vents are usually installed beneath the ridge cap shingles (the final layer of shingles). This protects the vent from the elements and provides a clean finished look. Ridge vents are usually integrated into the roof such that they are barely noticeable.
In addition to providing continuous, uniform exhaust ventilation, ridge vents are also designed to help resist wind-driven rain, as well as insect and debris infiltration.
The correct amount of intake and exhaust vents will keep the air pressure in your home’s attic spaces equalized.
Why Adequate Attic Ventilation is Important
The purpose of effective ventilation in your attic is to provide a way for air to escape from or enter your roofing system.
Prevents Mold and Moisture Damage
Effective attic ventilation helps prevent excess heat and moisture buildup, which can otherwise wreak havoc on your home. Your home produces more moisture and warm air than you think. Cooking, showers and bathing, laundry, heating, and more all produce warm, moist air inside your home’s living space.
If the warm, moist air lands on a cool surface, like the underside of your roof, it will condense. Condensation in the attic can create the perfect environment for the growth of mold and mildew. Over time, excess moisture can cause deterioration of the roofing system or ruin the attic insulation.
Proper ventilation keeps your attic and insulation dry, preventing condensation-caused damage.
Prevents Ice Damming
Those picturesque, glistening icicles that form along the edge of the roof are not something you want to see on your home. They are a problem commonly associated with poor attic ventilation.
Ice dams form when your attic retains hot air rising from below, and consequently heat up the roof. The bottom layer of snow and ice resting on your roof will begin to melt, causing water to trickle down the roof. Once the meltwater reaches the cold roof edge, it refreezes into ice. This will happen repeatedly, forming an ice dam along the eaves.
The ice dam will block the escape of further runoff. Water can back up behind the roofing materials, causing significant damage to your roofing system, your attic, and even your home’s interior.
Proper ventilation keeps the attic close to the same temperature outside. This allows warm air to escape before it has the chance to heat up the roof and melt the snow on the roof surface. This will go a long way in preserving the integrity of your roof and protecting your home.
Increases Your Roof’s Lifespan
One of the most persuasive reasons to concern yourself with balanced attic ventilation is the fact that it may be able to increase the lifespan of your roof. As we mentioned, a poorly ventilated roof can cause extremely hot attics. The extreme heat will “cook” your roofing materials from the inside, especially in the summer.
As a result, your roofing materials could dry out and crack much quicker than you would expect, reducing the length of their effective life. Ensuring your roof is evenly and properly ventilated will protect the condition of your roofing materials and prevent premature failure.
Keeps Your Utility Bills Down
When the temperatures outside rise, we all want to stay indoors. Proper ventilation allows warmer air to work its way out, and cooler air will replace it. This balanced airflow will reduce the workload on your air conditioner. And, of course, running your AC less frequently means a lower electric bill at the end of the month.
If you notice signs of improper ventilation in your North Port home, contact Mark Kaufman Roofing. We can check airflow obstruction or determine if you need new or additional vents.