Turbines vs. Ridge Vents vs. Power Vents
Trying to decide which attic ventilation is best? That subject has sparked much debate these past few years; Now my “two cents”.
Before we get into the discussion I feel it is necessary to make clear how attic ventilation should work. Attic vents are an integral part of managing air circulation in homes with undeveloped attic space. Designed as year-round vents, they mainly function by removing moisture and condensation in cooler months and reducing excess heat in the warmer months. Both of these factors can over time cause damage to interior wood and roofing materials. There are several different types of vents available, often required by residential building codes. They include soffit, ridge, gable and roof turbines.
- Soffit vents are located in the overhanging portion of a roof to allow airflow into and through an attic or any unvented space below the roof. Soffit vents are down-facing, screened vents designed to prevent rain, snow and insects from entering, while at the same time cooling the attic and promoting airflow to remove excess moisture. Insulation or other materials can sometimes cover these vents, usually unknowingly by a contractor, removing any value the vents provide.
- Ridge vents are very effective attic venting systems that run the entire span of the roof’s peak and are covered with shingles to blend in attractively. These vents offer significant benefit over other types of venting in that they are equally effective throughout the year, ventilate the entire space evenly and maximize the flow of air into the space. Screened against bugs, and positioned to avoid intrusion by the elements, their design at the top of the roof also eliminates the risk of accidental covering or blockage.
- Gable vents are square, rectangle, triangular or round louvered openings into the attic, designed to stop snow, rain or strong winds while allowing efficient airflow into the space. Usually fitted just below the roof peak, they also have a backing of screened material to protect from infestation. Gable vents do offer some benefit, but are less efficient than other forms of attic vents, and mostly aid airflow for only a portion of the attic space.
- Turbine vents use outside wind to power the spinning vent and allow airflow into and out of the attic. These raised vents are often seen spinning at the top of neighborhood homes and are very efficient. The wind spins the turbine, which is linked to a fan blade that pulls hot air up and out the same vented turbine. These work best in association with other vent types to maximize the air intake from another type of vent to replace the stagnant and heated air.
- Attic fans are often incorporated with other venting to make things more efficient. Fans are available with an attached thermostat that automatically turns on at a certain temperature to aid with venting through one of the common vent types. These fans need to be installed by a professional to make sure they are properly installed and safe, but they do help in increasing attic airflow.
Now my “two cents”; for the money and efficiency, I’ve found “Ridge Vents” to be the best. Turbines work great but only allow air to escape from a small area. Power Vents require electricity. Ridge Vents allow the hot air to escape at any portion of the ridge and does not require payment to your electrical provider.
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Thanks for reading!