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We all know that ventilation has a significant impact on the total energy efficiency of your home. It offers a range of benefits, including removing moisture, hot air, and condensation common in cold and damp climates. In this article, we will look at roof ventilation systems, how they work and if they actually work as well as they should.

What Are Roof Ventilation Systems?

Roof ventilation systems are designed to control the movement of warm air in a house. They are effective when it comes to removing hot air from living spaces, and this is without losing insulation benefits or creating a drafting environment. There are two different categories of roof ventilation, which are:

  • Electric/solar roof ventilation that moves high-air volumes
  • Non-powered roof ventilation which is passive vents

Roofs are designed with a large surface area and other structures like shingles, tiles, and frames. The entire structure is the part that is exposed to external temperature conditions. During the summer, exposure to direct sunlight makes the roof extremely warm, but it changes during colder months as it becomes chillier.

It's worth noting that insulation acts as a buffer and helps reduce air trapping. Also, the chances of excessive heat development and humidity are higher without ventilation or with poor ventilation. Considering how insulation works, the big question becomes whether ventilation is necessary.

Today, there are different types of vents on the market, with each type offering different ventilation. Ventilating your attic and roof does work, and it's important to know what each vent offers to ensure you get the option that works best for you.

Importance Of Ventilation

Temperature conditions vary depending on the time of the year and season. With that, your home becomes very cold in some seasons and hot in others. This temperature variation is more glaring in the attic. Regardless of the season, you want to avoid this part of your home being extremely cold or hot.

It's worth noting that leaving your attic to become excessively humid and hot can lead to mildew and mold growth. This can cause other destructive consequences to your home. Also, allowing your attic to become excessively cold can alter the structural integrity of your roofing system.

Nobody desires any of these outcomes, which is why it's crucial to maintain the temperature within your roof area and attic. Using HVAC units for this purpose is effective but expensive, and not everyone can afford them. The good news is that roof ventilation systems make things a lot easier.

With these systems, you can maintain a steady flow of fresh air in your attic, which will cool the attic during summertime and heat it during wintertime. In addition to this temperature regulation, a sound roof ventilation system will add more value to your home.

How Does Roof Ventilation Work?

With the importance of good ventilation mentioned above, you might wonder how roof ventilation works. The general idea is that roof ventilation will maintain the airflow in your attic for as long as possible. This is the main factor differentiating it from HVAC systems that turn off and on based on temperature.

Vents built into your home will allow the free flow of air in and out of the attic and roof. This is irrespective of the current temperature conditions. Also, this is great when it comes to removing excess moisture. As mentioned, leaving this unchecked can cause different problems, including structural issues. Interestingly, most HVAC systems don't combat moisture and humidity.

Reliable roof vents, especially those with fans or even those that operate on their own, are effective when removing unwanted moisture and humidity. Therefore, roof vents are better and protect your attic from undesirable consequences like mold and mildew.

How Do Vents Work?

As mentioned earlier, vents work differently, depending on the type you get. However, the most important fact is the ability of the vent to allow the free flow of air in and out of the roofing system. During the summer, this implies allowing hot air to rise and filtering it out through the vent.

It's similar during winter and involves removing warm air from the roof so that it doesn't affect the shingles and other structural components. This is a heavy task, and you may need more than one type of vent to handle it in many cases. As mentioned earlier, there are two types of vents, which are active and passive.

The active vent utilizes fans and a motor-powered mechanism to offer a more powerful temperature regulation system. On the other hand, the passive vents allow air to pass through a grating system into and out of the attic. Both types of vents have their strengths and weaknesses, but a combination of the two offers the best ventilation results.

Another vital component of ventilation is the exhaust and intake. Exhaust describes when warm air rises to the top of the attic or roof and is removed through the vents, while intake describes pulling fresh air into the attic or roof. The roof design also plays a key role because ventilation systems will only naturally fit certain roofs.

How Different Roof Vents Work

Let's go through the different roof vent types and how they work.

Gable vents

This type of vent is designed to fit roofs that have a gabled design. Unlike other types of vents, gable vents don't fit on the roof but rather on the exterior wall of the attic, which is below the gabled archway of the roof. The gable vents have both the intake and exhaust features and can fit all gabled roofs. However, they are not designed for use on other types of roofing.

Soffit vents

This is a versatile option and can be used on metal roof setups. It's worth noting that roof vents for metal setups should be delicate for good ventilation, which is what the soffit vents offer. Soffit vents fit under the roof and can't be seen, unlike gable vents. Also, soffit vents are a perfect example of passive vents.


This is an excellent example of an active vent. In many cases, whirlybirds are paired with the soffit vents for the best ventilation to buildings and enhanced effectiveness.

Ridge vents

Ridge vents also fit under the roof, like soffit vents. This is one of the most effective options, and they run through the top ridge of the roof. They are also designed with a gap that allows air to flow through. Ridge vents are also passive vents and function best when paired with active ventilation systems.

Solar vents

Today, there are also solar ventilators that you might want to consider using in your home. Solar ventilators can act as attic ventilators as they are designed to switch on to remove air when your attic becomes hot. With this, they can help to cool your space using power from the sun.

The main selling point of solar ventilators is that they help to lower your energy costs, which makes them an excellent long-term option. The solar capabilities of this type of ventilator also allow them to function with greater efficiency, unlike other units above.

What About Insulation?

Vents and their benefits will only matter if you insulate your home correctly. Even though you need vents to allow fresh air in and humid air out to keep your space fresh and cool, you also need to control the airflow within the attic. To achieve this, you need to insulate your home correctly.

So, do roof ventilators work? The answer to the big question is yes. However, roof ventilators work only if you properly install them and ensure that you choose the right type of vents for your roofing system. If you're big on green energy and willing to invest in it, a great option to consider is solar-powered ventilations.

Gabled vents are an excellent fit for gabled roofs and are decorative. If you prefer efficient active ventilation, whirlybirds are an option to consider, while ridge vents are a passive option. The most important thing is to choose the right vent and take advantage of it. Fortunately, you don't have to do all this yourself. Simply contact professional roofers to help with your roof ventilation needs.

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