By Amy DeYoung
Updated Oct 28, 2022
By Amy DeYoung
Updated Oct 28, 2022
Your roof protects your home from the elements, but if the attic and roof ventilation are not maintained, it can trap heat in your house and cause many problems.
Without adequate ventilation, your home’s HVAC system must work overtime to maintain cool air in your home. Not only this, but improper roof ventilation can shorten the life of your roof. Keep reading to learn more about roof ventilation problems you may encounter if you don’t maintain your ventilation system.
Your roof shingles can get as hot as 150°F when the sun hits them. When this heat is transferred to your home, the temperature inside your home will increase.
Since air rises, your roof ventilation system must work properly so that it doesn’t inhibit airflow and trap hot air. Proper roof ventilation helps hot air escape, reducing energy costs and how much air conditioning you need.
You can look into installing a cool roof, which has a higher solar reflectance and thermal emittance than standard roofing materials. Cool metal roofing systems absorb less heat, improving your energy efficiency.
If you notice a significant difference in temperature between the upstairs and downstairs in your home, your poorly ventilated roof may be the cause.
If hot air can’t escape, your upstairs living space may become miserably hot, even if the downstairs remains comfortable. This issue will also cause your air conditioner unit to work overtime, increasing energy costs.
If you have a hot attic, call a roofing company to assess your attic, roof, and roof vents to find what kind of roof ventilation work your home requires to function optimally.
A crucial part of proper attic ventilation is reducing the risk of condensation, which can cause rot, mold, and mildew.
Different appliances in your home, like your laundry machines, showers, sinks, and more, all create moisture in the house. Eventually, this moisture will move upwards toward your ceilings.
Moisture will enter your attic if a strong vapor barrier is not in place. The warm air reaching the underside of your roof, combined with this moisture, causes condensation. When combined with hot air rising in the home, this can cause an unhealthy environment in your attic which encourages mold, rot, and mildew growth.
Proper attic ventilation systems keep insulation dry, preventing damage to a home and unhealthy conditions. Not only does this moisture buildup cause mold and mildew, but it can cause wood rot and damage to the roof sheathing and a home’s structural members.
If you live in an area where snow and ice happen, having proper attic ventilation is crucial to reduce the risk of ice dam formation.
Ice dams form when warm air hits the roof deck, melting snow on the roof. However, the snow quickly refreezes as soon as it runs over a home’s overhangs, creating ice dams.
If ice dams form, your home is at risk of your gutters falling or buckling. They can also cause shingles to loosen and fall off your roof, which exposes your home to bad weather conditions, possibly resulting in severe roof damage and water leaks. Gutter replacement and roof replacement are expensive, making proper attic ventilation key to preventing severe damage.
Proper ventilation prevents ice dams by keeping an attic’s temperature close to the outdoor temperature, preventing snow melt. It also directs warm air in your home to the peak of your roof and outdoors, creating more even temperatures and better attic insulation inside your home.
One of the most costly projects you’ll have to undertake as a homeowner is a roof replacement, which is why regular roof repairs and home maintenance are vital in decreasing overall maintenance costs and extending the life of your roof.
A poorly ventilated roof and attic cause rot, mold, mildew, and condensation, decreasing your roof’s life span. It can cause incredibly hot attics, damaging wood framing, underlayment, rafters, and more.
When air can properly escape your attic, your roofing system’s lifetime can be optimized, decreasing the need for repairs and how soon you’ll need a new roof.
Start by contacting a reputable roofer in your area to assess your home for weak points.
Often, a home may lack the proper number of vents to keep its ventilation system working optimally. Ask a roofer to double-check that your home meets current building codes for your area on the number of ridge vents and other types of vents you need.
The types of vents and ratio of vents your home has also matter. Ideally, you should have an equal number of intake vents and exhaust vents. Intake vents are usually installed at the bottom of your roof, typically in the overhangs. In contrast, exhaust vents are generally installed near the roof’s peak.
Both types of vents create continuous airflow in the attic and allow hot air to escape properly. Cool air from the outside will enter your home through the intake vents, while warm and humid air exits your home through the exhaust vents. If you can’t fit an even number of intake and exhaust vents, aim for a few more intake vents than exhaust vents.
Alternatively, you can place fans strategically to improve airflow in your home. Start by placing fans near an open window to circulate cooler air throughout your home. Running your ceiling fans can improve airflow in your home, even if the windows aren’t open.
Proper attic ventilation is crucial to keeping your home comfortable, lowering energy bills, and preventing premature roof replacements. Save money on your monthly utility bills and roof repairs by having your roof assessed for ways that you can improve your attic ventilation, such as installing more soffit vents. If you need roof repairs, double-check your warranty before making an appointment with your roofing contractor to see if any repairs or work are covered.
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