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A Quick Guide to Attic Vents

Constructing a home includes insulating it to protect you and your family from fluctuations in weather. It would seem irresponsible to create a permanent opening in your attic then, seemingly exposing it to the elements.  

However, there is a practical reason for installing attic vents. You need to create roof ventilation in order to circulate the heat that attics accumulate.

Without proper attic ventilation, your roof’s shingles will begin to break down from the built-up heat and humidity. Even in colder weather, the hot air trapped in a roof can eventually lead to roof damages. 

We’ll explain the science behind attic roof vents and show you the best roof ventilation methods to make sure that your home remains in top condition.

Premise of/description of attic ventilation

Roof vents function due to the fact that heat rises. The process of heat rising and colder, denser fluid falling is called convection. You see it when you boil a pot of water or in a radiator that cycles warm air out at the top and pulls in colder air from the bottom. 

Attic vents work off this heat transfer by cycling airflow from intake vents and exhaust vents. By drawing in cooler air from intake vents, you’re forcing the solar-generated hot air to be forced out of a higher exhaust vent. This process is necessary regardless of the climate you live in. 

If your home is in a primarily cold climate that is prone to snow, then roof vents will maintain a colder attic for you. This is ideal because if your roof gets too warm, it can melt the snow during the warmest hours of the day and then refreeze at night. This can create ice dams, which can lead to a leaky roof. Having a cooler roof will also help cycle the moisture generated in the living spaces, otherwise, you might develop harmful mold or mildew. 

Residing in a hot climate also necessitates incorporating roof ventilation. By having proper ventilation, you push out the hot air, which in turn reduces the strain on air-conditioning units. 

Determining if you need better ventilation 

Now that you know how attic ventilation works to eliminate heat and moisture from your attic, we then need to determine if you need better ventilation.

First, check to see what style of ventilation your home is currently running. There’s a wide variety that you’re looking for, however, they should be relatively easy to spot. Your home may be equipped with an older style wind turbine system or an electrical ventilation system. It can be tricky to know which system you have if your home is equipped with a top-of-the-line roof ridge vent system since it’s power-free and blends seamlessly into your home’s roof. 

Once you know which one of the attic vents your home has, you can make sure it isn’t blocked. You want to check to see if you have soffit intake vents, as these can be mistakenly covered by insulation. 

You can begin by just checking your ceiling. If it’s a particularly warm day, feel the ceiling, if it’s hot, then you know that your attic is circulating air properly and it’s building up heat. This forces your air-conditioning units to work harder, and can ultimately shorten the lifespan on your roofing shingles.

If it’s currently winter, then you might notice ice building up on your eaves. This happens when hotter air is trapped in the attic, and the heat buildup melts the snow on top only to refreeze on the cooler eaves, forming ice dams. 

During the winter, you should also check the attic for signs of frost or damp rafters. If moisture isn’t ventilated, then it can condense on the beams.

Ridge vent vs attic fan

After you’ve determined that your current system isn’t properly venting the attic or you just want to upgrade your home to reduce your electric bill, you need to choose which type you want to install. 

Your main choice will be weighing a ridge vent vs an attic fan

Ridge Vent

Ridge vents exhaust the air that has built up in your attic space and have become one of the most popular venting systems, albeit a slightly more expensive option. 

Are ridge vents worth it?Ridge vents are installed at the top of your roof’s pitch. They are designed to blend in with the rest of the roof seamlessly. Their appeal is due to more than just aesthetics, as they provide an even distribution of air throughout your attic space. 

It can be one of the most economical venting systems available if a ridge vent is adequately installed.

Attic Fan

So, is a ridge vent best for a roof, or should you consider an attic fan?

Attic fans can be useful if you don’t have proper passive ventilation. If you’ve accidentally painted over air vents, insulated soffit venting, or covered up an exhaust port, then an attic fan can be helpful to move air around. 

However, most varieties require electricity to operate, need proper upkeep, and can be noisy.  Attic fans can work off of solar power or wind turbine power, but this is just another piece of equipment that needs to be maintained.

 

If you need help in deciding which attic vents are best for your home, then contact JAE Construction Group at 954-357-0560, or fill out our online form. We’re experts in residential roofing for Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area. We also provide Miami commercial roofing services.

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