Pros and Cons of Different Types of Roof Vents

Maximum roof vents are extremely efficient, no moving parts, and animal proof. Worth the small investment. You may know that your roof needs to have vents so that hot and humid air does not accumulate in your attic, causing a variety of problems from mold to ice dams. There are many different types of roof ventilation for roofs and different types may work best for different types of homes. How do you decide what type of ventilation is best for your home?

The three main types of vents are static vents, wind-powered vents (also know as whirlybirds), and electrically powered vents.

Types of static roof vents include box vents, cupola vents and ridge vents. These vents have no moving parts so they work best when installed as closely as possible to the top of the roof, where the hot air in the attic will accumulate. Box vents are not as effective as fan-powered vents, so a roof will typically require numerous vents for effective venting. Because of their simple design, they are easy to install and don’t break down.

A ridge vent runs along the entire ridgeline of the roof. Used in conjunction with soffit vents, which allow air to enter the attic, a ridge vent can be one of the most effective ways to provide ventilation to your attic. Because it has no moving parts, it is unlikely to break. A ridge vent has the added advantage of providing ventilation uniformly throughout the attic, so that hot and cold spots are not created.

Wind-powered roof vents use the wind to draw hot and humid air up and out of the attic. They work well as long as there is wind and have the considerable advantage of using a free and renewable resource as a power source. Consider how much wind they will be exposed to before installing them on your roof. If your house is in a sheltered location, you may find other venting systems more effective. A key disadvantage of the wind-powered vents is that the moving parts can become quite noisy as they age.

Electrically powered vents use an electric fan to pull the hot and humid air out of the attic. Powered vent systems can be quite sophisticated and can allow you to ensure that your attic receives adequate ventilation. They can be set to activate at a specific temperature or humidity to ensure that your attic’s climate is kept at an appropriate level. They can be wired into the home’s electricity or they can run on solar power. Powered vent systems may be necessary to ensure proper ventilation in a more complex roof system. One main drawback of the powered vent is that they do break down and a broken vent may go unnoticed by the homeowner for quite some time, so frequent inspections are necessary.