Venting your roofing system
Before we answer that question, let’s look at the purpose of roof ventilation and why roof ventilation is important. So, do roofs need ventilation? Yes, absolutely! Roof ventilation is essential in letting the outside air enter and exit the attic, eaves, or soffit. This airflow removes excess heat and moisture through the roof ridge or exhaust vents, creating a balance of air that keeps your home at a comfortable temperature.
In parts of the country where the climate is cold, roof ventilation mixes the air in the attic with cool outside air, minimizing the amount of snow melting and creating ice dams. In areas where the climate is warm, hot air is expelled by roof ventilation. What are roof vents for? Well, the roof ventilation benefits of having proper roof ventilation can explain that the best:
- Minimize moisture that can damage the roof and structure; minimize mold growth.
- Energy-saving by pulling heat out of the attic and away from the house, lessening the strain on the HVAC system.
- Lengthens the lifespan of the roof shingles by keeping the attic at an even moisture and temperature.
How do you properly vent a roof?
As we have mentioned already, the purpose of roof ventilation is to circulate air through the attic. Hot air rises, we learn this in elementary school science class. During the summer, the attic air heats up as the sun beams down on it. During the winter, the heat inside your home rises to the attic.
Proper roof ventilation will let cool air in the attic through the eaves and then exit close to the roof peak. Ideal roof ventilation is half in low areas of the attic and half in at higher points of the attic, with the goal to be getting the humidity and temperature levels in the attic to match that of the outside.
The paths to Proper Roof Ventilation
The soffit vents are the best place for the intake of air so it can flaccidly exit through the hood or ridge vents. Turbine vents use the wind to extract air out of the attic. Gable vents will allow air in or out, but they rarely help the airflow throughout the attic.
How Roof Ventilation Is Needed?
Most building codes require and roof ventilation experts recommend 1 square foot of vent area for every 300 square feet of the attic floor, based on the assumption that half of the vent area is at a high level and half is at a low level, near the eaves. If Not, then double the vent area to 1 vent for every 150 square feet. Many experts in the industry say you can’t have too much ventilation; others say you need the precise amount.
Does roof ventilation really work?
Roof ventilation is one of the most misunderstood facets among homeowners. Roof ventilation does just what the name implies: It circulates air which keeps the air fresh in the attic while reducing the moisture levels. Some facts you should know about roof ventilation:
- More Is Better: Just like you want the proper size for your HVAC system, the roof ventilation should be the proper size too. If there isn’t enough, moisture builds up, energy efficiency drops, and roofs get weak, Roof vents are penetrations and a vulnerable area of the roof. The more vents you have, the more vulnerable spots you have. An experienced roofing contractor will advise you on how many roof vents to have based on the size of your house. Keep in mind that air resistance and interference reduce the true ventilation area.
- Warmer Climates: Contrary to the belief of many, roof ventilation isn’t so much for increasing energy efficiency in warm clients during the summer. Other factors play a bigger role in that like insulation, shingle color, and sun exposure. Yes, roof ventilation is helpful, but it needs these other things for maximum energy efficiency. Meanwhile, for colder climates, the biggest benefit that roof ventilation provides is preventing moisture damage. In warmer climates, that isn’t as big of a concern.
- Warm Air Removed During the Winter: Yes, heat rises, but simply because you have roof ventilation doesn’t mean you’re losing the warm air you need in your home. If you see that you’re losing too much warm air through the attic, it is due to lack of insulation, not because of roof ventilation. Inadequate roof insulation is allowing moisture to build up in the attic, so when warm air does hit it, your roof will begin to deteriorate, and wood will begin rotting.
- Research Studies: Many studies have proven that roof ventilation benefits are undisputed and regional differences magnify certain roof ventilation traits over time. What works for homes in Cleveland, Ohio may not work for homes in San Antonio, Texas. Roof ventilation is art wrapped in science. So, while the handyman DIY homeowner can find directions on install roof ventilation, just as you could find how to perform heart surgery, some things are best left to the experience.
- Vents in Roof Doesn’t Equate To Roof Ventilation: When it comes to defining what is the best roof ventilation system isn’t something agreed upon by everybody, they agree that some type of roof ventilation is necessary. Some roofing experts insist that ridge vents are the best in being effective. Other experts say that because there are no baffles with ridge vents, there is little to no ventilation. Gable vents on circulating a small percentage and static, roof-line venting are effective but is prone to have leks. Soffit vents can leave air trapped. Overall, the most commonly agreed upon roof ventilation is the continuous ventilation system of ridge-and-soffit.
What happens if the attic is not vented?
Poor roof ventilation can cause several issues with the main ones listed here:
Problems for the Roof
Moist air collects in the attic during the winter when roof ventilation is absent or minimal, stressing the roof structure by the build-up of moisture. During the summer, a build-up of hot and humid air occurs in the attic and that moisture it creates leads to mildew and mold growth, and wood warping. Over time, that can weaken the structure.
Energy Bills Increase
When roof ventilation is insufficient, the summer hot air collected in the attic radiates into the living space. During the summer, cold and moist air builds up. Both scenarios make the HVAC system work harder to catch up and compensate, which it can’t. When it comes to insulating the roof and ventilation in the roof, you need both to get the best results.
Critters and insects like damp and dark spaces, especially if they’re warm in the winter. Without roof ventilation or poor ventilation, your attic makes the perfect home for critters, insects, and rodents. This can become a health hazard with their droppings, they damage insulation, and they can create a fire issue by chewing on wiring in the attic.
If you want to get a long-life expectancy from your roof and the best energy efficiency possible, both insulation and roof ventilation are necessary. Call 405-720-6200 today for your roof ventilation in Oklahoma City, OK.