The way your attic gets rid of the hot air that accumulates up there is very important for the life and longevity of your roof. There are many ways an attic can be vented, and it really depends on when the house was built, how much attic space you have, what climate you live in and what the architecture of your house looks like. Ridge Roofing is a roofing contractor servicing the Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville areas, we will focus on just this climate in this article.
The most common type of venting system we see on houses in the Asheville area is called ridge vent. Ridge vents allow the hot air to escape through the ridge of the roof and are great because of the lack of moving components. The least amount of electrical or moving components the less likely you are to have a failure in your venting system. The ridge vent works in conjunction with soffit vents. Your soffits on your home can be found underneath the overhang of your roof, the section of your roof that sticks out past the exterior walls. The soffit vents act as an intake for the attic and push new air from outside up and force out the hot air in your attic. Ridge vents are preferred by most homeowners and roofers for the fact that they are always working, have no components that can fail, and they are very sleek and go un-noticed by most people. Some houses are not able to have ridge vents though, luckily there are many other ways to vent an attic. If your house does not have enough feet of ridge or if you don’t have soffit, a different type of ventilation will fit your needs
The second most common type venting system we see in Asheville and Hendersonville areas is called gable vents. Gable vents look like a window in your siding that has been covered up with slats. If your attic is vented with gable vents you should have two, one on either side of your house. Gable vents work by allowing air to flow back and forth through the attic from outside causing the hot air that has built up in there to escape. Gable vents are more common in older homes. If you have gable vents and are thinking of switching to ridge vents it is a pretty simple process. First, you would need to ensure you can install soffit vents so the ridge vents can work properly. Secondly, you would want to seal off your gable vents once the ridge vents are installed. Gable vents and ridge vents are notorious for canceling each other out and causing turbulent air flow in the attic which causes some of the hot air to get trapped and not escape. If you are thinking of switching your venting system consult with Ridge Roofing and we can point you in the right direction.
Another type of ventilation common in the Asheville and Hendersonville areas are wind turbines, or the more fun name, whirly birds. These look like metal baskets that spin on top of your roof. They work by taking advantage of the physics of hot air. As the hot air rises in your attic it gets pushed up through the wind turbines. This causes the turbines to start to spin. As the turbines spin, they start to suck up more hot air in your attic and push it out. The turbines are also caused to spin from the wind outside of your house as well. The downfall to wind turbines is they are not the most aesthetically pleasing to look at, they have moving components that can fail, and if they are not spinning, they are not venting. The most common failure we see with wind turbines is they get rusty and lock up and are unable to spin or they get dinged by a branch and are not able to spin.
The last type of ventilation we will talk about in this article is electric attic fans. Electric attic fans are like wind turbines in a way because they use a fan to suck out hot air from your attic. The main difference between the two is the wind turbines use only physics to turn and the attic fans use a motor. Attic fans can typically move a lot more air than a wind turbine, so they are a great tool to use if you have an area of your house where another venting system won’t work. They are sleeker and much less of an eye sore than the wind turbines, but they also have their downfalls. Anytime you have a motorized component on your roof exposed to the elements there is a shortened life expectancy. Attic fans can be a pain because of their tendency to fail before your roof needs replacing.
Roof ventilation is a key component in making sure you get the desired life out of your roofing system. Some of the main issues you see associated with poor ventilation is blistering of the shingles and raised air temperatures in the attic and living area of your home. Most A/C units live in our attics so if we can make that climate as least hostile as we can, the longer we can expect those appliances to last. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your roof ventilation, please contact Ridge Roofing to schedule a free estimate.