Having the best roof and attic ventilation system in place is the best way to prevent extensive damage to your property and belongings.
Unless you have the correct ventilation in place, you might experience some of the following issues:
- Higher energy costs
- Damage to insulation
- Damaged roofing components
- Water damage from condensation
- Plywood decking dry rot after extreme temperatures
- Mold or mildew
- Rusting of metal straps, nails or other clamps that hold HVAC ducting in a humid climate
There are different options to choose from if you want to install a ventilation system in your roof and attic and it’s usually best to get a professional opinion on what would best suit your home.
How Much Ventilation is Required?
Most building codes need 1 square foot of ventilation per each 300 square feet of attic space. However, different homes are built differently.
That means you need to take into account the dimensions of your house as well as various municipal and local code requirements when figuring out how much ventilation you actually need.
What Ventilation Methods are There?
The ventilation method that will be best for you really depends on the local climate. There are several options to consider and these are some of them:
- Static Vents – These have very few or no moving parts and are good if you want to ventilate the attic without using electricity. They allow hot air and moisture to passively leave the attic via natural convection in the vent. These come in various colors, styles and sizes and can be installed all over the roof.
- Electrical Vents -You need to run electricity to use these. Electrical vents come in different kinds but do cost more than non-electrical alternatives. If you live somewhere hot and don’t want to be concerned how water and heat will exit via the vent, these might be a good option.
- Moving Vents – These vents work by removing the moisture and hot air from your attic and have wind powered moving parts. They can rattle and squeak while moving. A wind turbine is the most common type. These vary in price since they vary a lot in quality and capability.
- Solar Vents – These aren’t static, electrical or manual. Solar vents are a cost effective option but it’s important to make sure they won’t be covered up by trees.
Now you know the main 4 types of vents to choose from, we can take a closer look at the pros and cons of attic ventilation fans and the alternatives.
As a responsible homeowner you should research the different kinds of vents for the attic and ensure you will be able to keep costs at a reasonable level without sacrificing function or quality.
There are attic ventilation fans pros and cons as well as other possible options depending on your home, which we can take a closer look at before you make your decision:
Power Vents (Fan Vents) Pros & cons
Also known as power attic vents or PAVs, these are typically gable- or roof-mounted and have motors driving big fans to remove hot air and moisture from the attic.
You can get extra features for these vents such as an as an adjustable thermostat you can adjust to make the fan come on when a specific temperature is reached.
There are also humistats which come on if a specific humidity level is adjusted. These fan vents are usually quiet to run.
Since these function quietly you might not be able to tell whether they are functioning properly.
For this reason, if you are going to fan vents you need to schedule regular inspections.
Box Vents Pros & Cons
Also known as louvers, turtle vents, flat vents, or low profile vents, these are a static option because there are no moving parts.
Box vents make an opening for the moisture and hot air in your attic to escape. They function by natural convection.
There is a natural limit to what a static vent can handle, since it functions using natural convection and are less effective than some other attic ventilation solutions.
Typically you will have to install several box vents.
Turbines Pros & Cons
Considered to be static, although they do actually have some moving parts, turbines do not include a motor.
They rely on the wind to function and will move more moisture and hot air out of the attic than box vents would.
However this only happens when the wind is blowing.
Turbines range from poor to excellent quality. It is often a good idea to invest initially in the best quality turbine you can afford.
That way you can be sure of the effectiveness for years to home. However, these do cost a lot to install and you might not want to spend that amount right away.
Soffit Vents Pros & Cons
These vents can offer air intake for the ventilation system in your roof.
They go into the eave and soffit areas and offer a good opportunity for airflow throughout the home to be maximized.
These are best when paired with a continuous ridge vent. That means you have to pay for soffit vents and also a continuous ridge vent if you choose this option.
Ridge Vents Pros & Cons
These are a kind of static ventilation which runs the whole length of the horizontal ridge on your roof.
By running the vent end to end you will get a more finished look that blends in with your roofing and looks better than some other options.
A ridge vent offers even temperature distribution and makes sure your roof doesn’t age quicker in some areas exposed to uneven temperatures.
One of the best systems for roof and attic ventilation is pairing ridge vents with under-eave vents, so this is not the cheapest option.
Off Ridge Vents Pros & Cons
These vents might look like box vents but they’re different.
Off Ridge vents are usually more rectangular than square and often installed close to the roof’s ridge.
These are about as effective as box vents, meaning you will probably have to install a few of them.
Cupola Vents Pros & Cons
These static vents are decorative. This vent is on a high wall that frames the opening cut in the roof to let moisture and heat via natural convection.
These are better when used along with other vents. Not all cupola vents are as reliable as different kinds of static vents and can be less functional.