Homeowner’s Guide to Roofing and Attic Ventilation

roofing and attic ventilation

According to the latest Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), heating and cooling account for 55% of energy consumption in the United States. Since we rely on our heating and air conditioning systems so much, it’s important to recognize the signs of poor roof ventilation and how to fix it when there’s an issue. A home’s ventilation works with the insulation to provide an energy-efficient residence all year round.

This attic ventilation guide explains how attic ventilation enhances your indoor comfort and keeps energy costs in check.

What Is Attic Ventilation and Why Is It Important?

Also called roof venting, attic ventilation is a system that provides an entrance for clean, cold air and an exit for overheated air. It’s the most common and effective way to maintain optimal indoor temperatures, maximize your budget and preserve your roof shingles. Proper roof ventilation will:

  • Keep your attic cool: Without ventilation, your roof will accumulate excess heat and moisture in the hot summer months. A working ventilation system allows moisture and heat to escape, leading to a comfier living space.
  • Prevent roof damage: Excess moisture buildup can lead to wood rot, mold, mildew and other factors that impact roof longevity. Fortunately, you can your roof from structural damage and leaks with suitable venting. It also helps prevent ice damming in the winter, which may cause exterior and interior surface damage.
  • Help you save money: Both extreme cold and heat can affect your utility costs because your heating and cooling system must use more energy to do its job. With a steady source of air, you’ll be able to keep your bills at a minimum.
  • Protect your loved ones: Furthermore, attic ventilation guards your household against safety hazards like ice and poor indoor air quality. It also mitigates smoke and heat damage from fires by providing an escape route for contaminated air and consistent airflow.

Every homeowner benefits from roof venting. However, it’s especially crucial if your property is more susceptible to moisture and condensation from factors like:

  • Having an uninsulated attic.
  • Living in areas with high humidity or extreme temperatures.
  • Residing near many trees or a body of water.

How Does Attic Ventilation Work?

Do you remember learning that warm air rises? This process drives attic ventilation — known as passive ventilation — to provide continuous airflow through your roof space, flushing hot air out with incoming cold air. A ventilation system features a combination of intake and exhaust vents to keep air circulating.

Intake Vents

Because they’re the core parts of your ventilation system, you should make sure you have enough intake vents. A reliable roofing contractor will help you explore your options so you can choose the best fit for your residence.

Most homes with overhangs or eaves use soffit vents — you can usually find them on the lowest part of your roof, which is the perfect spot for fresh air to enter. Whether you opt for individual vents or continuous strips, always ensure they’re unobstructed.

If you have a gable roof, you can install a vent on the side of your house. Specifically, gable vents go within the peak’s highest point and are round, triangular or rectangular. To help them blend in with your home’s existing appearance, you can paint them. In addition to customization, gable vents provide more utility, serving as both intake and exhaust vents depending on the wind direction.


Exhaust Vents

Found at your roof’s peak, exhaust vents let hot air escape as it rises. Aside from gable vents, you can choose from three other exhaust vent models:

  • Ridge vents: These vents are the most popular and efficient option, mainly because they blend in with your roof from end to end, creating a seamless look while ventilating your entire roof deck. The installation process involves creating a gap along the ridge and covering it with a perforated vent.
  • Static exhaust vents: Available in many shapes and colors, static exhaust vents have special covers to block out precipitation. Regardless of which kind you choose, your static vents should be as close to the ridge as possible. If you’re concerned about curb appeal, you can also place them along the backside to minimize visibility.
  • Powered exhaust vents: Powered exhaust vents create a turbine-like effect using electric or solar-powered fans. They’ll turn on at a preset temperature and run until it drops. Although effective at cooling your home, their additional power requirements may increase your energy bill if you have an unsealed attic.

How Do You Identify a Roof Ventilation Issue?

To identify potential ventilation issues, inspect common problem areas like your chimney or look for any blocked vents. Other signs also help you tell if your exhaust or soffit vents are working correctly, such as:

  • Icicles and ice dams: Ice buildup along your roof’s edge can increase heating bills, affect your home’s appearance and become a safety concern.
  • Air conditioning problems: Your air conditioning system has to compensate for poor ventilation, shortening its lifespan and increasing maintenance and repair costs. More calls to your AC contractor may mean it’s time to review your roofing.
  • Hot or cold spots: Fluctuating temperatures might indicate the need for both ventilation and insulation, particularly in areas with high heat usage, such as the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Roof leaks, mold and mildew: Water stains on the ceiling or walls in winter might be a sign of poor insulation. Mold, mildew and water damage also come from extreme weather, such as hailstorms.
  • Pests inside your home: If rats, squirrels, insects or other critters are making themselves at home, you may need to upgrade your vents.

How do you fix roof ventilation issues? It’s best to hire a professional roofing contractor to examine your system, especially in the spring. A trustworthy company will offer expert guidance, so you’ll know what your roof ventilation issues are and how they’re going to fix them. Additionally, professional contractors will have the right equipment and materials for a job well done.

Call a Local Roofing Company for Attic Ventilation Solutions

Every homeowner wants their house to be the best it can be. For high-quality results and efficient resolutions in Central Pennsylvania, partner with us at Kautz Roofing. For over 45 years, we’ve proudly served and developed tight-knit relationships with our neighbors in Lancaster, Philidelphia, Gettysburg and the surrounding areas.

Kautz Roofing is your one-stop shop for affordable residential roofing solutions, so we’re who to call for attic ventilation solutions. Count on us for professional repairs, replacements and restorations. Are you looking for more information in addition to our roof ventilation guide? Check out our blog!

Contact us online today to learn more about how we can help you.