Attics are naturally at risk of becoming stuffy and being dominated by stale air. This can have a variety of negative implications. Many problems can occur, ranging from an increased risk of mold developing to the attic simply becoming an unpleasant area to spend time in if you’re using your attic for anything other than occasional storage.
Attic ventilation can take both “passive” and “active” forms. Passive ventilation essentially uses natural methods to circulate air around the space. This can include things like air currents and thermal buoyancy — and will also tend to involve roof vents for a more or less “automatic” attic ventilation system.
Active ventilation, on the other hand, involves circulating air around the attic space via mechanical means. Active ventilation can be highly important for attic spaces because they are prone to developing moisture build-up. There is also a risk of gases, or other harmful contaminants, accumulating in the air.
There are four main types of roof vents that will be used for active air ventilation systems. These include: turbine, power, ridge, and solar-powered vents.
Turbine roof vents
Turbine roof vents rely on wind to spin a turbine, which then, in turn, leads to the circulation of air within an attic space.
Specifically, when the turbine spins, stale warm air from inside the attic will be drawn up through the turbine out into the open.
In fact, the hot air that rises from your property can be enough to spin the turbine on its own — although these vents function best with wind.
Turbine vents are cheap and easy to install and take up little space. Unfortunately, they only really perform well in windy conditions. They are unfortunately not very discrete, and they tend to require regular maintenance.
Power roof vents
Power roof vents feature a low-profile dome on the surface of the roof. These vents use a thermostat and humidistat control to monitor the conditions within the attic.
Moist, hot air is mechanically vented out of the attic by these devices as, and when necessary.
Power roof vents have the benefit of doing a good job in a variety of different weather conditions. But they can be prone to damage, require more attention, and potential upkeep.
Ridge roof vents
Ridge roof vents are a very passive form of vent. This type of vent can be aided by more mechanical air circulation systems within the attic.
Ridge roof vents appear as slight openings on the roof, through which air can pass. They rely on removing air by convection. They have the benefit of not requiring regular repair and working in all weather conditions.
To be effective, ridge roof vents need a larger surface area.
Solar-powered roof vents
Solar-powered roof vents utilize a solar panel in order to power the device. This is used to ventilate your attic and reduces the risk of mold, mildew, and stale air accumulating.
These vents can be especially effective in sunny climates and during the summer months but can fall short in more overcast settings.
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