What are the vents on my roof?

You may stroll around any neighborhood and view the roofs, noticing things going through and sitting on them. These other roof penetrations all have a specific function: keeping your roof intact and functioning correctly. Roof vents are a significant aspect of your home's ventilation. Roof vents come in various forms and sizes, but they all accomplish the same goal: allowing your property to breathe correctly. When you install a new roof, you'll select the sort of vent to match the design you like and your attic's ventilation system. But did you ever think, "What are the vents on my roof?"

Most homeowners do not know what types of roof vents they are using and which is the best for their house. This article will discuss some common types of roof vents and how they work. So stay tuned!

shot of white roof line with gable end vent against crisp blue sky. What Are The Vents On My Roof

What is roof ventilation?

Your roof's ventilation is a system that allows your home to breathe. It works by drawing fresh air into your attic and appropriately directing the heat out through your vents.

There are 2 types of roof ventilation systems: active and passive. Active ventilation sucks air in from the outside and pushes it out from the inside. Passive ventilation refers to air movement through an attic via natural phenomena such as wind.

Both venting systems are effective, and one isn't superior to the other. However, an inadequately vented attic will result in difficulties.

Types of roof vents

Now that you know what roof ventilation is and the two types of ventilation systems, you may make a more informed decision about which method to use. There are many different kinds of roof vents to select from each system.

The types of an active roof ventilation system

Active vents use a drawing effect to pull air in the intake vents and expel it through the exhaust vents. Active roof vents come in four distinct varieties: turbine, power, ridge, and solar-powered.

Silver colored wind turbine of a rooftop against a clear blue sky.

Turbine vents

Turbine vents (also known as whirlybirds) function by utilizing convection to move the air in your attic around even if there is no wind, using a drawing technique. The atmosphere in your attic is moved 10-12 times per hour, on average, if the vent is installed correctly.

Because turbine vents have narrow strips on them and are open-air to the attic, it's thought that rain, snow, and insects may enter your house through them. However, they're built to prevent this from happening unless the vent is damaged.

The wind turbine is a low-cost alternative that comes in several configurations. These roof vents tend to have a long lifespan. If you're unsure which type of roof vent is best for your property, look for one that is durable. When looking for a wind turbine, keep an eye out for lubricated bearings that won't rust or need to be replaced. You may hear a squeaky wind turbine when the wind is vital if you don't select a high-quality one.

Group of different shaped metal vents and plumbing stack vent

Power vents 

Most roof vents are circular and have a shallow profile, as seen on most roofs.

They're positioned on the roof's ridge (top) and draw hot air from the attic using electricity. During the winter, you'll want to use a humidistat to run your power vents.

Otherwise, if you don't clean it, the humidity will accumulate in your attic and cause condensation, reducing the length of your roof's lifespan. Keep in mind that power vent motors tend to break down, so plan ahead of time to change them.

Ventilation Air Duct Solar Panel Skylight Windows at Gravel Flat Roof

Solar-powered vents 

Solar vents are similar to power vents, but they utilize the sun's energy instead of electricity.

The vents are energy-efficient, but the vent shuts off while the solar-powered battery charges.

The issue is that the solar panel will not keep a charge for that long to run the vent all day due to the energy required to power the fan. You may wind up using more electricity while your battery recharges, which will increase your power bill.

Man caulking ridge vent

Ridge vents with a baffle 

Ridge vents, often called "ridgeline vents," are cuts made in the roof's ridge and run the whole length of it. They are then placed in the cutout, which is generally near the ridge. These vents are long and thin in shape. By using ridge vents, moisture and hot air are removed from your attic or roof space.

The majority of vents in this style are unnoticeable from the ground. While they're trendy, the disadvantage of this vent is that insects, trash, rain, and snow can enter the attic if there is no filter.

A passive vent does not have a baffle (chutes that provide a channel for air to flow) to assist air circulation in your attic.

Read more: How many roof vents do I need?

The types of a passive roof ventilation system

Passive vents rely on natural phenomena like wind and convection to move air through your attic. These vents have no moving parts, produce little noise, and are very low-maintenance.

Static, off-ridge vents and gable end vents are the most frequent passive roof vents.

typical static passive vent installation on a residential roof

Static vents

Small boxes on your roof are vented through these types of vents. Convection chimneys work by allowing heat to escape the roof via convection.

As the heat in your attic rises, it is exhausted through the vents. Static vents are also known as turtle vents or box vents.

Flat-plate vents are frequently used with soffit ventilation methods because of their labor savings, increasing energy efficiency, and improved thermal comfort. These kinds of roof vents do not require any electricity. The best plan for this vent is an open attic design. The function of the duct is to pull moisture and hot air out of the attic.

You might want to know: What’s the 1/150 attic ventilation requirement?

off ridge vents of a clay tile roof

Off-Ridge vents

It's the same as the active kind, except that it is cut into the ridge and covers the entire length of the ridge. The only change is that there are no baffles (chutes that let air flow through).

On the other hand, ridge vents without a baffle allow debris, rain, snow, bugs, and so on to enter your attic.

shot of roof gable on a newly constucted house showing attic ventilation panel

Gable end vents

A gable end vent is a wooden ventilation device outside your attic's underside, where the two slopes have their joints. The wind blowing from the outside causes your attic's air to flow in and out.

Overall, when selecting the varieties of roof vents to choose from, keep in mind that there is no "correct" or "incorrect" answer. What appeared to be a fantastic option for your neighbor may not be the most incredible option for your roof and attic. Your attic and any preexisting conditions determine the most acceptable roof vent. Furthermore, a particular choice may be a matter of personal preference rather than a legal obligation.

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