Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
Is your roof ventilated properly? Would you have ever guessed that your home needs to breathe, just like you do? It's true! Allowing your house to breathe will help deter dangerous mold growth in your attic space, as well as extend the life of your roof shingles. The best way to open up that flow of air through your house is with a roof ventilation system. Unfortunately, proper ventilation is one of the most misunderstood aspects of your roof system - by professionals and homeowners alike. Too often, we see homes that have not been constructed to allow for that much-needed breath of fresh air through the structure. Having this important system in your home is vital in order to avoid long-term damage. A Summit Roofing & Siding professional can evaluate your system and retrofit a free-flowing, efficient ventilation system if needed. Here are just a few of the most important reasons to install a home ventilation system today:
A well-designed ventilation system helps eliminate moisture in your attic and crawl spaces, as well as consistently regulate the temperature of your roof decking. You might be thinking to yourself, "Where does all of this moisture come from?" Taking showers or baths, washing your hands, even the air you exhale adds moisture to the interior air of your home! That warm, moist air rises and eventually accumulates in your attic and crawl spaces. If that air is trapped in those spaces, it can create the perfect scenario for mold growth. Dangerous mold will grow on any organic substrate - like the underside of your roof decking - when moisture is present. One way to help avoid the build-up of that moist air is proper ventilation. Simply put, ventilation allows cool, dry air to enter the open spaces while exhausting out the warm, moist air.
Another problem presented by lack of ventilation is ice damming. Without the ability to regulate the temperature of the roof decking, homes experience uneven melting and/or re-freezing throughout the roof plane, and specifically along the gutters in spaces called "eave ends." The eaves on most homes extend beyond the exterior walls and create a soffit area along the underside of the roof structure. The eave area of the roof is not heated as well as the roof area directly above the living space. Therefore, the last foot or so of the roof plane is generally cooler than that of the rest of the roof. In the event of snow or freezing rain, the snow and ice will melt on the upper portions of the roof, only to re-freeze or encounter un-melted snow at the bottom of the slope. This “dam” causes the melted water to stand and accumulate, ultimately finding a way into the home in the form of a new or intermittent leak. By simply adding vented soffits or proper roof exhaust, thus providing even cooling/warming of the roof substrate, you can avoid costly leaks and gutter or roof damage caused by dams!
Every home is different, so it goes without saying that every home ventilation system must be uniquely designed around the existing structure. The solution may be as simple as retrofitting a ventilation system into your current roofing system, or as complex as installing a whole new roof to properly allow your home to breathe. Here are a few common methods of ventilating your home: A ridge vent installed on a roof
This is a very common component, and really the most efficient for most applications. A ridge vent simply creates an exhaust at the peaks of your home to eliminate that warm, moist air. Typically paired with a vented soffit intake, this system provides an even, consistent movement of air through convection, with no moving parts to fail. It also has the benefit of working 24 hours per day. In most cases, this system should not be combined with an attic fan, gable vents, or any other ventilation component that can effect the efficiency. Box vents placed along the upper portions of a roof plane can also provide the same basic air flow, when peaks can not be opened to provide for a ridge vent. Attic Fan.
An attic fan generally relies on a thermostat or humidistat to activate and pulls air from the attic space, expelling it through the roof decking. This is a less efficient design compared to a ridge vent. However, some instances do not allow for the installation of the ridge vent and necessitate the use of the attic fan to move air. The attic fan can be paired with a soffit intake, or even gable vents on the side of the home. The single-exhaust location does not provide much Net Free Area (the unit of measure of ventilation flow capacity) to move a significant volume of air from your attic spaces. Attic fans do not provide consistent air flow like ridge vents. Additionally, attic fans are prone to failure and can make noise that can be heard from your living space. Although not typically recommended as a primary option, the use of attic fans can be the appropriate recommendation based on the design of the home’s roof and attic spaces. Gable vents may be the best choice for older homes
A gable vent is a commonly used system on most older homes. The vents are typically mounted on opposing gable walls on either end of an attic space. The design allows for a “cross flow” of air from one end of the attic or crawl space to the other. Sometimes paired with an electric fan to facilitate the movement of air, this system operates very similarly to that of the roof-mounted attic fan. Due to the fact that the eaves are typically not paired with this system, it allows for pockets of air in your attic space with little to no movement. When replaced with a more efficient ridge vent system, the gables are blocked off to prevent air flow from anywhere but the eaves to the ridge of the home. Gable vents are often combined with ridge vents, eave intakes, attic fans, or other ventilation systems. If your home has combined components of each system mentioned above, then it is quite possible that the system was not properly analyzed before being installed, or perhaps better technology was not available at the time.
A properly designed ventilation system helps provide a healthy environment for your family, extends the life of your shingles, and well as prevents roof damage and leaks. Summit Roofing & Siding carefully evaluates every home ventilation system when providing roof replacement estimates, repair estimates, and roof inspections or evaluations. Our team is known for providing professional and knowledgeable recommendations when considering this simple, yet important component of your roof system. Don't wait a moment longer to review your home ventilation system. Contact Summit Roofing & Siding today for a free evaluation of your roof ventilation!