For most homeowners, roof ventilation sounds extremely simple: out with the hot air, in with the cool. Of course the goal is to get rid of the stale, hot, and humid air in your attic and to continuously replace it with fresh, cool air from outside. If it’s done right, roof ventilation can cut cooling costs in summer and heating costs in winter as well as prolong the life of your roof.
But the question of whether to install a RidgeVents or a Power-Vent isn’t nearly as simple.
Some of the arguments in favor of RidgeVents include: passive ventilation (it won’t add to your energy bill), reliability (because it doesn’t need electricity to function, heat rises up anyway, right!), ease of installation, a more clean look, and relatively low upfront cost.
On the other hand, Power Vents are a better choice for hip roofs (which often lack ridge line footage for venting) and for homes in the Northeast, where fluctuations in winter temperatures can sometimes make passive venting impossible. But the problems that came with Power Vents is that they can be noisy, a fire hazard, there’s the argument that they only cover only a small section of the attic space or that you have to replace the motor every few years.
In either case, there needs to be a balance between intake and exhaust as well as adequate attic insulation. But, as roofing companies here in Hampton Roads specialists will tell you, there are other factors to consider, like existing vents, attic and ceiling shape, roof pitch, and obstructions, etc.
Long story short, the choice between a RidgeVent and a Power Vent isn’t as cut-and-dried as most homeowners imagine. What’s definite is that it should remain an either/or question. Combining the two is a bad idea.
Combining a running attic Power Vent fan with a RidgeVent is usually not recommended because:
• It could reverse the natural flow of hot air out the RidgeVent.
• If air is drawn in through the RidgeVent while it’s raining, it might pull rainwater in with it, which could lead to leaking or mold in the attic.
While a Power Vent fan combined with a RidgeVents can work against the natural flow of air through the attic, it will still exhaust more hot air than not having a fan at all, it’s just not the most efficient way to go about it.
If all this seems like too much to take in, you can always call on the pros for help. We are here to help and advise you on the best option for you home or building. A good roofing contractor will always look out after the benefits of his clients.