Look up at your roof and you may see several things – perhaps chimneys, skylights or dormers – depending on the architecture of your house. Upon a closer look, you may also notice box- or dome-like objects, or wind- or electricity-powered turbine-like features. These are out-take vents, and they play a very important role when it comes to the longevity of your roof, that of keeping your attic cool and dry.

The Role of Out-Take Vents

A proper functioning roof ventilation system ensures that air is continuously moving in and out of the attic year round. Fresh outdoor air enters the attic from in-take vents on or near the roof’s lower edge. The air passes through the entire attic space and exits via out-take vents that are set higher on the slope near the peak.

An out-take vent provides two necessary functions related to heat and moisture control in the attic:

  1. Helps prevent damaging heat buildup. Trapped heat in the attic warms the roof’s surface. In summer, this lingering hot air encourages early aging of roofing materials. Telltale signs of heat damage are cracked wood, buckled shingles and warped decking. This trapped hot air can also transfer back into the house if the ceiling insulation is in poor condition. Now, in order to keep the house cool, the air conditioner must work overtime, increasing your energy bill.
    In winter, a warm roof can cause very serious problems known as ice dams. That’s when melted snow and ice run down to the edge and refreeze. In time, it builds an ice barrier that traps water, causing a whole set of moisture-related problems. Learn more about ice dams and other winter issues: Before the Temperature Drops, Let the Experts Check Your Roof.Airflow vents are necessary to regulate temperature in the attic by helping warm interior air flow to the exterior on a constant bases.
  2. Helps prevent damaging moisture accumulation. At any time of the year, moisture in the attic can combine with trapped heat to form condensation on cooler surfaces. Moist air that isn’t expelled lingers around on the roofing material until it eventually turns into mold and mildew. Wood structures like rafters and trusses begin to rot and insulation starts to deteriorate because they never get a chance to dry out. Noticeable signs of this damage include rust, dark stains, damp decking or insulation, and water or drip marks on the attic floor.
    Airflow vents are essential for removing extra moisture by increasing the airflow. Before it can build up and condense, it’s swept up in air currents and blown out of the attic. Homeowners may be tempted to close or cover out-take vents in winter; however, this isn’t recommended as it restricts the airflow critical for moisture-free attics.

How Much Ventilation Does an Attic Need?

Just like too little ventilation, too much ventilation can also harm a roof. The goal is to create a perfect balance of airflow in and out, no matter the season. Ventilation needs must match your attic space. Similar to an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system, the amount of units installed is dependent on a number of variables such as square footage of the house. It’s important to keep in mind that each house is designed differently, and there’s no set amount of vents a roof should have.

Leave it to the Roofing Replacement and Repair Professionals

Homeowners should sit down with qualified construction specialists to determine what ventilation system is right for their house. At Ashco Exteriors, we’re ready to provide you with a comprehensive evaluation of your attic ventilation system. Count on us to:

  • Review existing heat and moisture problems in the attic
  • Go over the types of vents
  • Explain the best locations for vents to be installed for optimum airflow
  • Help you make informed decisions to increase energy efficiency and decrease energy costs in your home

Our friendly roofing replacement and repair technicians at Ashco Exteriors are highly trained and certified experts who work directly in the field, and we adhere to strict building code requirements and construction industry standards for each and every project.

Get started with a free 7-point roof inspection today!