Pros and Cons of Attic and Roof Ventilation Systems

Pros and Cons of Attic and Roof Ventilation Systems (1)

Attic and roof ventilation systems are essential, but which one is best for your home or commercial building? This guide explains.

Attic and Roof Ventilation Systems: Why You Need Them

Attic and Roof Ventilation SystemsThe ventilation system in your attic and on your roof helps keep indoor temperatures consistent, protects your roofing materials, inhibits water damage caused by condensation, and keeps energy costs low. Without proper attic and roof ventilation, your roof will have a shorter lifespan, and it’ll be more susceptible to damage.

However, not all types of attic and roof ventilation systems are the same; what works on one building may not work on another. The following sections outline the types of attic and roof ventilation systems, as well as the pros and cons of each.

Related: Can you protect your roof from hail damage?

Types of Attic and Roof Ventilation Systems (and the Pros and Cons of Each)

There are a number of methods a roofing company can implement to vent your attic and roof, including those that use:

  • Static vents. Static vents are simple. There are no moving parts, and they’re fixed in place. These passive vents allow moisture and hot air to leave your attic by natural convection.
  • Moving vents. Moving vents need wind power to work. Sometimes they make a bit of noise, but the end result is the same as it is with static vents – as long as these vents are installed properly, they remove hot air and moisture from the space beneath your roof.
  • Electrical vents. Powered by electricity, these types of vents can be costly to operate throughout the year. However, they’re popular in areas with hotter, more humid climates.
  • Solar vents. After installation, solar vents can be very cost effective. However, they do require solar energy to move hot air and moisture out of your attic.

Common Types and Styles of Roof Vents

There are several types of roof vents that fall into the categories listed here (static, moving, electrical and solar). The type you choose depends on several factors, including the type of building they will be installed on, your budget, and how much power you need. You should talk to your roofing expert to determine which type of vent is right for your space. In the meantime, explore the following sections to discover the pros and cons of each main style of roof vent.

Box Vents

Box vents are pretty standard. You may hear them referred to as flat vents, louvers, or low-profile vents. These are static events because they have no moving parts; they create an opening for hot air and moisture to escape.

Box Vent Pros Box Vent Cons
Affordability Limited effectiveness
Simplicity Requirement for multiple box vents
Easy repairs  
Quiet  

Cupola Vents

Cupola vents are static; like box vents, they have no moving parts. However, they’re most often used as decorations.

Cupola Vent Pros Cupola Vent Cons
Affordability Very limited effectiveness
Simplicity Less reliable than box vents
Decorative effects  
Quiet  

Off-Ridge Vents

Though off-ridge vents are often mistaken for box vents, they’re different – but they do function in similar ways. Usually, these vents are rectangular shaped and are installed near roof ridges.

Off-Ridge Vent Pros Off-Ridge Vent Cons
Affordability Limited effectiveness
Simplicity More effective when used with other vents
Hard to see from the ground  
Quiet  

Power Vents

Power vents are mounted on top of a roof or gable, and sometimes they’re called power attic vents (or PAVs). These types of events contain motors to push their large fans; the fans are what do all the work of removing hot air and moisture from an attic.

Power Vent Pros Power Vent Cons
Extremely effective Still produces some noise
May include adjustable thermostats May increase utility costs
May include adjustable humidistats Needs regular inspection
Relatively quiet  

Ridge Vents

Ridge vents are static; they don’t have any moving parts. They usually run across an entire length of a roof’s ridge.

Ridge Vent Pros Ridge Vent Cons
Extremely effective and efficient Works best with under-eave venting
Creates a “finished” look on your roof  
Provides even distribution of attic temperature  
May prevent premature roof aging  

Soffit Vents

Soffit vents provide air intake to increase the air flow in your attic. That helps keep temperatures stable and ushers out moisture.

Soffit Vent Pros Soffit Vent Cons
Effective and efficient Most effective when used with ridge vents
Quiet  
No external power required  

Turbines

Turbines are generally considered static, despite the fact that they have some moving parts, because they don’t need motors to operate. Instead, they rely on the wind to pull in cooler air and push hot air out.

Turbine Vent Pros Turbine Vent Cons
Efficient Rely on wind to make them work
More effective than box vents (when there’s wind) More expensive than other types of vents
No external power required  

Greenhouse Vents

You wouldn’t use greenhouse vents in a home or business that wasn’t… well, a greenhouse. These vents can open completely or close completely, depending on the level of environmental exposure you want your plants to receive.

Greenhouse Vent Pros Greenhouse Vent Cons
Simple, manual operation Only used in greenhouses

How to Tell What Type of Attic and Roof Vent System is Right for You

Roof Ventilation SystemsSeveral factors go into the decision on which type of roof vent system is right for a particular building. For most people, it’s best to rely on a roofing expert’s opinion. That’s because some types of vents are far more effective than others are, and because every building is different.

Your roofing contractor will suggest a type of ventilation system that works with your roof slope, pitch and style, and that fits into your budget.

Related: 9 tips for choosing the best roofing company

Do You Need to Talk to an Expert About the Pros and Cons of Roof and Attic Ventilation Systems?

If you’re not sure what type of attic and roof ventilation system you need, it’s best to talk to an expert – and we’re here to help. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our roofing professionals. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and ensure that your roof and attic are properly ventilated.

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