What Are Roof Vents?

“Roof vent” is a common term often applied to everything from plumbing stacks, to even furnace vents and dryer exhausts. However, we define roof vents as a device designed to remove hot air from the attic in the summer. As well as moisture during the winter. To see the different types of roof vents available, check out our blog post What Types & Styles of Roof Vents Are There?

How Important Are Roof Vents?

Roof vents are critical in determining the life expectancy of your roof. It will also affect utility costs and prevent interior damage from condensation and moisture.

Can I Mix Ventilation Types?

It's important to have matching exhaust and intake vents to have proper ventilation. 

Roof Vents Keep Your Home Cool In The Summer

For most, summer signifies more time outside; ice cream, time with the kids, baseball, a return to the golf course and trips to the pool. But it also means the return of unrelenting heat. That’s why most homes are shielded by attic insulation. However, if your attic isn’t vented then you are making your air conditioner work harder than necessary.

During the summer, some regions can see asphalt shingles reach average temperatures of 125° F or more. This heat transfers from the shingles into your roof deck and lingers in the attic turning it into a veritable oven.

By installing both intake vents and exhaust vents, fresh air can circulate through the attic. This way, hot humid air can effectively escape. This will lower the burden on your air conditioner, insulation, and your power bill.

Roof Vents Keep Your Home Dry In The Winter

Venting your attic in the summer makes sense, but how does opening it to cold air in the winter help?

The importance of cooling your attic in the winter has less to do with comfort or utilities. Instead, it will remove harmful moisture from the attic and prevent water damage to the home. The goal is to keep the air temperature inside your attic as close as possible to the temperature outside of your home.

Moist air can enter your attic during the cold winter months in one of three ways:

  1. The most common way moisture enters homes is a result of heated living spaces. Heated air has a greater ability to hold moisture than cooler air. As the hot, humid air rises it finds its way into the attic, bringing water vapor along with it.
  2. The second potential source of moisture is snow and ice. As snow collects on your roof, the heat from an unvented attic causes the snow to melt. The melted snow runs down the roof slopes and freezes anew creating ice dams. As snow and ice continue to melt, the water gets blocked by the ice dams. This can accumulate between the snow, ice, and your shingles. The water freezes again which expands ice then seeps under the shingles, penetrating the roof system. Now you have a wet roof deck highly susceptible to rot. Proper ventilation prevents any rooftop snow from melting, avoids the formation of ice dams, and removes the risk of water damage to your roof.
  3. Like ice dams, the build-up of debris on roofs can be damaging. Winter causes the trees to shed their leaves. Water runs down the roof surface and encounters this debris. Having no place to go, water can back up the roof slope and under the shingles. From there moisture enters the home.
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