During the hot summer months, we see an increase in phone calls from people who say it’s unbearably hot in the second floor of their home and their air conditioner can’t keep up. When we go out and inspect their roof, the vast majority of the time we find inadequate roof ventilation.
Roof ventilation helps air circulate through your attic to control the temperature. Air comes in through the soffits under the eaves of the house, and it exits through some type of vent on top of the roof.
There are several types of vents, including power vents, powerless vents, and turbine-style vents. Powerless vents are the round or square domes you might see on a roof, while turbine-style vents are the kind that spin. Power vents can create a challenge sometimes because they require an electrician to install and there’s no way to monitor whether or not they’re working unless you inspect the roof.
Roof ventilation is a critical aspect of any roof installation, yet it’s often overlooked by inexperienced roofing companies or people who are cutting corners on time or expense.
Here are three reasons roof ventilation matters.
Energy efficiency and temperature control
Trapped hot air in your attic is never a good thing. It can quickly increase the temperature in your home and cause your air conditioner to run nonstop and still struggle to keep up. Not only will it increase your electric bill, but it also can mean extra repairs and a shorter lifespan for your overworked air conditioner.
Damage to wood, metal, or other materials in your attic or roof
Trapped hot air also means trapped moisture, which can lead to warping of your wood frame or roof decking, rusting of nails in the shingles or frame, and rusting of metal components of ductwork or other materials in the attic. Moisture can also lead to mold or mildew in your attic that can then seep into your walls and cause allergies or illness.
Buckled shingles and premature aging of the roof
When hot air gets trapped in your roof, it can create unnecessary heat beneath your shingles and cause them to buckle or cause your overall roof to wear faster. In some cases, it may also void the warranty on your roof. Quality roofing materials come with a manufacturer’s warranty, and if an issue arises with the roof, the manufacturer will send a representative to inspect the roof. If they find inadequate ventilation, they may refuse to cover the issue because of the possibility it was caused by inadequate ventilation rather than a manufacturing defect.
While inadequate roof ventilation often causes significant heat in the second story of a home, it can impact single-story homes as well. If your air conditioner is struggling to keep up in the summer and a service company can’t identify a problem with the unit, it’s probably time to have your roof inspected for proper ventilation.