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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Gilreath

How Does Roof Ventilation Impact Your Home During Winter?

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

An image of a roof in the winter to showcase roof ventilation

According to Energy Star, the proper ventilation of a building can prevent heat and moisture from building up and causing long-term damage. Additionally, it can help extend the lifespan of your roofing system and lower your heating and cooling costs.

Without proper ventilation, heat and moisture in your home accumulate in the attic where they remain trapped just below the roof after cooking, showering, and heating your living spaces. As a result, trapped heat causes moisture in the air to condense into droplets. The moisture in the air can dampen insulation, reducing its insulating power, as well as causing wood rot and mold, and mildew growth, which can damage the structure.

Exhaust vents should be located high on the peak or ridge of the roof, and intake vents should be located low underneath the overhang. Throughout your attic, these vents allow for continuous airflow, drawing cool air from the outdoors through the overhang vents, which rises as it warms to exit through the roof vents.

Signs of Improper Winter Roof Ventilation

Building Ice Or Warping Shingles

  • Check if ice is building up along your roof's edge during the winter.

  • Look for warping on the roofline or shingles: a wavy or rippled appearance is an indication of trapped moisture.

A Roofline Full Of Icicles

  • In some regions, the temperature drops below freezing throughout the winter, which can result in accumulated snow melting on the roof as a result of trapped warm air in the attic.

  • This snowmelt can trickle down to the edge of the roof, where it can refreeze and form icicles. Water can eventually back up under your shingles due to an ice dam, which can cause significant water damage and costly repairs.

Cooling And Heating Bills That Are Unusually High

  • Increased heating and cooling bills without apparent cause could be caused by improper attic ventilation.

  • Attic insulation that has become wet from condensation will be less effective, requiring your HVAC system to work harder.

  • Similarly, a frequent need for HVAC repair can also indicate an inefficient ventilation system, as a unit that has to work more than it needs to will break down more frequently.

Decline In Physical Health

  • It is possible that low air quality in your home is causing allergy symptoms or respiratory diseases in your family.

  • Insufficient ventilation in the attic may cause mold and mildew to grow, reducing the quality of indoor air.

How To Fix Poor Ventilation

an image of roof vents which can help keep your roof ventilated in the winter

You should first contact a trusted local roofing company if you think your roof isn't ventilated properly. It is possible for them to guide you through the types of ventilation available and recommend the solutions that are best suited for your home. Soffit vents, ridge vents, and gable vents are some common solutions.

Along your roof's ridge, ridge vents distribute the temperature evenly. It doesn't matter what season, they perform well because they aren't affected by wind flow. On the other hand, gable vents are typically located on the side of a house, where they serve as both intake and exhaust vents.

The most common type of intake vent is a soffit vent. Most soffit vents are made from aluminum and can be easily installed under the roof overhang of your home. Soffit vents come in a wide variety of styles to match the look of your home. As these vents can withstand changing seasons and protect your home all year long, they may be the best option for Iowa homeowners.

Vents On The Roof & Temperature Balance

There is nothing worse than being buried under five blankets in the middle of the day and freezing in your own home. It is, unfortunately, possible to find yourself in a situation like this. Indoor temperatures can go to extremes during extreme weather due to structural faults or hidden cracks between the walls.

Roof ventilation systems serve only to regulate indoor temperatures. As a result, the attic remains cool both in winter and summer. There are plenty of things that can go wrong if the roof is not ventilated properly in winter. As an example, indoor condensation can be a problem.

The Dangerous Part of Condensation

Cold surfaces cause condensation when warm air contacts them. The process is visible on a window in the morning. As the night goes on, the glass gets cold, but in the morning, the sun warms up the air nearby, causing little droplets (condensation) to form on the glass.

What is the connection between condensation and roof vents?

We usually find heated air in our attics because heated air travels upward. Attic surfaces are already cold, so the heated air condenses when it touches them. As a result, the air will turn into little droplets and even freeze. The underside of your roof's plywood, the insulation in your attic, and even the walls and floors inside your home will be affected by them. When that same ice melts, mold will inevitably grow, vents will leak, and more damage will be done. Attic rain is a term used to describe this problem. As a result of proper air intake and insulated exhaust fans, roof ventilation prevents condensation from the start. The system removes the heated air trapped in the attic, maintaining just the right temperature inside. Roof vents help homeowners avoid mold and mildew by removing heated air.

Ensure sure that you have adequate attic ventilation throughout the cold months in order to protect your home and maintain your comfort. Roof structures are protected from damaging moisture in winter by proper and adequate attic ventilation. If you aren’t sure if your attic has proper ventilation, reach out to the experts at Herring Residential. Schedule a free roof assessment today and make sure your attic is ventilated this winter and into the summer months to keep your house protected from damage that comes from improper ventilation.


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