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The danger of covering your roof vents

by: Kirsten Land on February 3rd, 2015 about Residential Roofing, Roofing Advice

Roof vent - whirly birdMany homes have “whirly bird” vents or turbine vents. These vents look like small windmills and spin. The reason they are on your roof is to provide the air exchange your home needs to remain comfortable and healthy.

If you cover them, you can cause extremely expensive damage to your home!

While thinking of your home as “healthy” may not be a new concept to most, thinking about your attic ventilation in these terms might be a new idea for some people.

In the winter, it seems to make sense to cover the vents (like you might do for your external water faucets), and the covers are relatively inexpensive and easy to find, running around $10-$20/each at most home supply stores. But, like a lot of things in life, just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

We know, it seems counterintuitive to let hot air escape from the attic during the winter, but that’s exactly what you should do, and there are several reasons why.

Fan vent diagramTrapping warm air inside the attic can cause condensation which leads to excessive moisture in the attic. Unfortunately, the combination of excessive moisture and heat can lead to mold.
Snow that melts from the roof of a warm attic, then refreezes at the gutters can cause what’s known as an ice dam. Ice dams can damage your roof. Snow on the roof should be allowed to melt naturally – which decreases the chances of runoff refreezing at the gutters.

Inhibiting your home’s natural air exchange through attic vents can trap harmful chemical and physical particulates. Ventilation helps keep the air fresh.

There’s a wealth of information on roof ventilation provided by Energy Star. And if you suspect your roof may be in need of repair or replacement, contact us for information and to schedule your free roof inspection!

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