Everyone knows that a roof is an important part of any building. After all, if the roof is bad, it will not keep water out, and will quickly ruin the rest of the building. Roof vents are an important part of a good roof.
However, most people do not realize what it takes to keep a roof in good working order, and how the modern roof works. A lot of progress has been made since simply putting thatch on some studs and calling it good.
One of the more important aspects of the modern roof is the roof vents, and you may not have even realized your roof had them. However, what does this ventilation work, and why is it so important for buildings around Clarksville? Let’s explore these questions and how to determine if yours are working properly.
What Are Roof Vents & How Do They Work?
There are two primary kinds of roof vents, mechanical and natural. Think of mechanical vents as fans used to help ventilate your roof. Whereas natural vents use pressure to push hot air out.
With natural vents, you have ridge vents and intake vents, usually located on the underside of roof soffits or somewhere close to the edge of the roof. When the wind blows, it pushes cooler air into the attic space which releases warmer air through the ridge vents.
In addition to ridge vents, there are also roof louvers and gable louvers. Roof louvers are vents that are installed on the outside of the roof. Gable louvers install on the outside wall of your attic and look like a kind of high shutter.
When there is not any wind, then the heat rises and causes a pressure difference creating enough vacuum move air in your attic.
So now that you know what this ventilation does, let’s explore the reasons why it is important.
Reason #1: Extend the Life of Your Roof
Properly venting your roof will help extend the life of your roof. The first is to think about the winters here in Clarksville and what excessive hear does with snow on your roof. Have you driven by a building and seen the icicles handing off the roof? This is actually a warning sign of an unvented or under vented roof.
Those icicles are actually indicative of what is known as an ice dam at the edge of the roof. While it may be fun to see the icicles hanging, they are also very dangerous to your roof. That moisture gets under your shingles and freezes. This causes space to form, weakening your shingles, and allowing water to get under them, possibly causing damage to the roof boards and anything under them.
This is all caused by hot spots forming on your roof because of trapped heat inside the attic space. During the sunny days and hot summer days, there is even more heat trapped in this space. This causes the shingles to degrade from the inside, weakening the protection offered by the shingles.
Venting your roof properly helps prevent that excessive heat buildup, and protects your roof.
Reason #2: Reduce Heating & Cooling Costs
It makes sense that in the summer having excess heat built up would drive your cooling costs up. Venting the roof properly helps to lower those costs, which seems perfectly logical.
However, it may seem like trapping that heat in the winter may be beneficial. However, when you consider the risk of developing an ice dam you can see where you still want to vent your roof well. As this excessive frozen moisture weakens your shingles, it reduces the insulating effect it can have. This further drives your heating costs up.
Reason #3: Reduce Temperature Variations
Have you ever noticed where rooms on the upper floor are warmer than the rest of the house? Or perhaps you notice that when you stand up your head is warm, but your feet are always cold? These can be signs of an improperly vented roof.
When excessive heat does not vent properly from your roof, it actually affects how your heating system works. This can create additional strain on your heating system increasing your cost in terms of additional repairs.
How Much Ventilation Do You Need?
Having the right amount of vents, both intake, and outgoing, is the key to having everything work properly. If you are working with a qualified roofing contractor, they will be able to help you determine the exact number of vents you need.
First, you need to know whether you have a vapor barrier in your attic. If you do, then the general rule of thumb is to have one vent for every 300 square feet of roof. If you do not, then you want one for every 150 square feet. Your contractor will also help you determine where to place these vents to allow for even venting.