Ventilation isn’t a topic you’ll find discussed at most dinner parties, but proper roof ventilation can help make a home more inviting. If done correctly, roof ventilation can also save you money on heating and cooling costs and can even prevent other costly repairs down the road. If more homeowners paid attention to their roof’s ventilation, home repair contractors would have fewer calls to make, energy consumption could be greatly reduced, and indoor spaces would remain remarkably comfortable.

What is Roof Ventilation?

If you walk outside around your home and look up, you’ll likely find intake vents to draw air in somewhere under the soffits. This air is brought into an attic space where exhaust vents work to circulate air out. Typically, these exhaust vents or fans are located somewhere near the peak or ridge of your roof. The concept is to draw cooler outdoor air in through the soffit vents and expel warm, humid air out and away from your home.

Image of a ridge vent on a roof.

Why is Ventilation Important?

Without proper ventilation, it will be difficult to keep your home adequately cool in summer and comfortably warm in winter. Even in temperate areas, a ventilation issue can really impact your ability to regulate the temperature inside of the home. As a result, the costs to heat and cool your home will be unnecessarily high.

A more important function of proper ventilation, however, is to protect your home from the many kinds of damage that can result from improper ventilation.

  • Heat – One of the biggest problems heat can cause to an improperly ventilated home relates to the comfort of its residents. Your home will be cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer than you might prefer. Furthermore, when your roof and attic aren’t properly ventilated, the sun’s rays can literally beat down on your home, causing your roof to become excessively hot. This can cause your roof to warp, which leads to shingle damage and potentially costly repairs.
  • Humidity – Moisture builds up in a roof without proper ventilation and over time, this can cause serious issues. Damage to internal walls and ceilings can occur, as well as an overgrowth of mold that is very unhealthy in any circumstance.
  • Ice Dams – For homes located in regions with a lot of snow and ice, improper ventilation can contribute to a problem caused by rapid freezing and thaw cycles which allow warm air from the living areas below to escape into the attic. This warm air rises underneath the roof decking which causes the under layer of snow and ice to melt. This moisture will trickle down the roof. Eventually, a wall of ice forms and further run off has nowhere to go and backs up underneath the shingles. This can cause your roof decking to eventually rot out. Water backed up by an ice dam can also find its way inside the ceiling and inner walls within your home, leading to discolorations and/or recurring leaks.

How Will I Know if I Have a Roof Ventilation Problem?

If you aren’t sure what to look for to determine if you have a ventilation problem, there are some tell-tale signs that help point to issues. Here are a few of the things that point to a roof ventilation problem:

  • A visible accumulation of ice on the edge of your roof.
  • Shingles that appear irregularly shaped, rippled, or ragged due to moisture underneath.
  • Increased heating or cooling costs.
  • More frequent repair calls for your furnace or air conditioner, that has been overworking to keep your home comfortable.
  • Visible mold growth.
  • Rusty metal fixtures in the attic such as nail heads, HVAC components or electrical conduit.
  • Increased allergy or respiratory symptoms caused by the presence of mold in your attic.
Image of a roof with damaged shingles.

Although it may be tempting to climb up a ladder and inspect your roof and attic yourself, safety should be a primary concern.  It’s always best to contact a professional roofing contractor to assist with a proper inspection. Alte Exteriors provides full residential roofing services throughout Central and Northern NJ.Our clients rely on us to accurately assess interior and exterior problems that may result from poor ventilation and recommend the best materials and methods for repairs. Contact Alte Exteriors today.