Keeping air circulating and fresh, using an efficient ventilation system, is paramount to minimizing moisture levels in your home.

It’s alarming that some 90 percent of homes throughout the U.S. are said to have extremely high levels of moisture; this according to the American Institute of Architects.┬áIs your home’s attic ventilation system sufficient enough to handle these high moisture levels?

How adequate is your current roof ventilation system?

The following questions and answers will help you determine the efficiency of your roof ventilation system. Proper roof ventilation will save you in both moisture damage and potential health issues caused by interior moisture damage.

Is extra attic ventilation a good thing? Everything in you home has to be properly balanced such as air conditioning, heating unit, and ventilation. As mentioned, to little ventilation can cause severe moisture problems in the winter months and inefficiencies during the summer months. Conversely, going to the extremes and installing to many roof vents allows unwelcome opportunities for rain, high winds, and other natural occurrences to due damage to your home.

To get a better idea of what is sufficient, most professionals advise homeowners to have one square foot attic ventilation for every 300 square feet of ceiling space. There are other factors that can affect this equation such as the type of vent used and the vent grate. So, having a professional look at your homes layout to determine just exactly what is needed would be a good idea. This saves time and makes sure the proper equipment is purchased for the job.

Are Roof Vents More for Warmer Climates?

Homeowners are mislead thinking that roof vents will greatly help in cooling their home in the hot, summer months – this is not necessarily the truth. Other factors such as shingle color, insulation, and other energy efficient accessories contribute more to a homes overall energy consumption. This is not to say that roof vents won’t help, but the other things mentioned cost less to do and should be considered first.

Colder climates and condensation on your roof. Installing roof vents in colder climates will prevent moisture; this is where the homeowner will get their biggest benefit. Warmer climates don’t have condensation issues, which is why homeowners opt to install thermal barriers to keep their attics cool in the summer. This is in contrast to homes in colder climates where attic floor insulation is used to prevent condensation on the roof; in the event a homeowner chooses to go with an unvented roof system.

Heat rises, so roof vents must remove warm air. The fact is heat escaping through roof vents is a sign of poor insulation, not the inefficiency of the vents in the winter months. If your insulation system is good, then on sunny, winter days, you’ll be able to turn your furnace off and still have your attic space warmed naturally by the sun.

The main culprit for moisture seeping into your attic is poor insulation. If the heat rises through the roof deck, it will surely hit the roof. This hot, moist air creates condensation destroying the insulation and can also perpetuate wood-rot. There’s a simple test you can do to see how well your attic is insulated. All you need to do is measure the temperature of your attic after sundown. The temperature in your attic should be close to the temperature outdoors. This is a good indicator of how well your insulation system is.

Are All Roof Vents Created Equal?

There’s a lot of disagreement when it comes to what roof ventilation systems work best, but there is unanimity when it comes to the ineffectiveness of roof vents. For example, ridge vents are commonly known for their efficiency when it comes to cost and effectiveness, but without baffles and blinders these vents become almost useless. This is due to the fact that outside air can cause a barrier that actually traps air inside the attic; this is the effect cause by not adding the baffles and blinders.

Other vents that have their own specific flaws include Gable, Static, and Soffit vents. Each has its own issues concerning circulation, leaks, and air trapping – this leaves us with combining vents. What we mean is, and this depends on the roof design, combining a ridge and soffit ventilation system. By combining these two vents the home has what is called a “continuous vent system,” but remember – the roof design will dictate the final blueprint for the system.

Just installing a few roof vents here and there is not enough, you must know how it all works together. It’s highly recommended that you talk with a professional roof inspector about what’s required for your specific home, so as not to incur any unnecessary expenses due to poor ventilation.

Your home is a big investment, and having a good, efficient ventilation system is a part of maintaining that investment. The investment of having it done correctly the first time can save you a tremendous amount of money and headaches in the future. Get the advice of an expert, it’s well worth your time.