Common Winter Ventilation Myths

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Most homeowners underestimate the importance of rooftop ventilation. Some even go as far as to cover up their vents in the winter. This is bad news for your roof, your indoor air quality, and your home’s moisture control.

Check out this video of Jim and Glenda discussing the benefits of ventilation and read below for seven common winter ventilation myths:

  1. Cover vents in the winter – When you cover your roof vents, you are prohibiting air from circulating inside your home. In the winter your vents expel the moisture that builds up in your house from heat, cooking, showering, and other moisture. If moist air does not have a chance to escape, it causes your wood structure in your roof and attic to mold and rot. In the summer, your ventilation system circulates the hot air to maintain a comfortable temperature that ensures your cooling system doesn’t work overtime.
  2. More is better – Chimneys are not made with a fan in the middle of the shaft for a very good reason. If there were a fan placed there, it would pull the air from your fireplace and air from your roof at the same time, rendering it useless. This is the same with rooftop vents. Too many intake and exhaust vents will counteract each other. There needs to be a balance of intake and exhaust to ensure appropriate airflow
  3. Vents are maintenance free - Just like the maintenance of a car, you can’t expect it to run at 100 percent capacity without out some kind of maintenance. Luckily, your vents are low maintenance. Clean your soffit vents and attic fans to ensure that they do not get clogged with debris. A clogged vent can create off-balance airflow and affect your whole ventilation system.
  4. One type of vent is all you need– A good ventilation system works on convection. The soffit vents and vents at the bottom of your attic pull air in while the ridge vents, whirlybirds, and top-level vents pull the air out. A roof with inadequate ventilation allows heat and moisture to build up underneath the roof where the decking and insulation lie, which leads to a shorter roof life and in some cases, can void your roof warranty.
  5. Visible frosty roof nails in your attic are normal – This is a sure sign of improper ventilation, poor insulation, and air leaks. This is caused by moist, warm air in your house not having anywhere to escape, so it builds up and freezes in the winter. The frosty roof nails could also lead to leaks inside your home when the ice melts. The dripping water has to go somewhere, and if your attic goes through months of freezing and thawing, the build-up of melting water and condensation will seep into your attic floor and eventually cause significant water damage. Moisture in your attic needs a chance to escape, even in the winter. Make sure that your soffit and ridge vents aren’t clogged or being blocked by any insulation. 
  6. Your attic should be warm in the winter – A warm attic in the winter means condensation buildup and inadequate insulation. A warm attic can also cause the snow on your roof to melt even if the temperature outside is below freezing. The freezing and thawing can contribute to ice dams that prevent water from free-flowing off your roof. Instead, an ice dam can form and force melting snow underneath your shingles, causing a roof leak.
  7. Open vents in the winter waste your heating system’s energy - You may be thinking that if you are paying to heat your home in the winter, then why you would allow it a way to escape through your roof? If you have adequate attic insulation, it creates a buffer between the warm air in your living spaces and the attic and roof. You should have airflow in your attic to allow the moisture that your insulation doesn’t catch to escape without causing mold and rot to the wood in your attic and under your roof.

A ventilation system that works well as a result of the laws of physics. There are a lot of factors that go into ensuring that you have a proper ventilation system, such as the pitch of your roof, the condition of your insulation, the combination of intake and exhaust vents, and the placement of the vents. If one factor is off or there’s a tiny air leak in your attic, the entire vent system can become ineffective.

Contact Red River Roofing today for your free, no-obligation ventilation and insulation consultation and inspection. We are trained professionals who have been certified in the science behind a well-ventilated roof system.

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Learn more about how attic ventilation affects your roof and heating and cooling systems in our free guide - "Five Facts You Need To Know About Attic Ventilation."

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