Understanding And Caring For Your Roof’s Ventilation System

Your roof’s ventilation system is essential to its health, longevity, and ability to regulate temperature. A well-ventilated roof is one in which air flow is carefully maintained, promoting energy efficiency and reducing the risk of moisture and condensation buildup that can lead to leaks, mold, mildew, rot and other types of damage.

In our last article, we discussed what exactly roof ventilation is, why it’s needed, what its most significant benefits are, and what can happen when roof ventilation is compromised. In this article, we’ll dive into some of the most basic kinds of vents you can have on your roof, and how to care for them.

Vent basics

There are many different kinds of vents, and the kind you need for your home will depend on a number of different factors ranging from the type of architecture you have to the climate where you live.

The other point to consider is how much ventilation your roof needs. This is determined by a formula that takes into account the overall size of your attic and the slope of your roof. Professional roofers use this formula to determine how much “net free area” (NFA) you need. Vents are categorized by the amount of NFA they provide; the goal is to create a ventilation system with the correct number of vents to give you the NFA you need based on the size of the space you are ventilating and the slope of your roof, with an even balance between intake and exhaust vents.

Intake vents

The whole point of your roof’s ventilation system is to generate a flow of air, which means that it needs a place to go in, and a place to come out. The vents that draw air in are called intake vents.

The most common type of intake vent is a soffit vent. Installed under the soffit of your roof—the part that hangs over—soffit vents are usually not even noticeable. They have narrow slots that allow air to flow into the attic from the lower end of the roof.

Exhaust vents

Exhaust vents provide an exit route for air. There are different kinds of exhaust vents, including:

  • Ridge vents that are installed along the ridge of your roof (the top seam where the slopes meet in a point).
  • Static, non-motorized vents that are installed at regular intervals near the ridge of your roof.
  • Gable vents installed on the side of the home close to where the slopes of the roof meet at the top. Gable vents can allow air to come in as well as go out.
  • Turbine vents that help draw air out of the attic when wind turns the blades of the turbine.
  • Powered vents that act like an exhaust fan drawing air out of your attic.

Caring for your roof vents

When it comes to caring for your roof vents, the number one thing to look out for is clogging. If the slats of a vent are clogged by dirt or debris, or if insulation is not properly pinned back and covers some of the ventilation area, the air flow will be obstructed and the vent will not be able to do its job.

Cleaning your vents can be a dangerous task for homeowners, as a fall from the roof can result in serious injury, or even be fatal. JL Roofing has the training to safely access and effectively clean your vents.

For more information on how to maintain and prolong the life of your roof with a properly functioning ventilation system, contact JL Roofing today!

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