Ridge Vent vs. Turbine: What’s Better for Attic Ventilation?

Though your attic space may seem benign, it plays a critical role in protecting your home and maintaining energy efficiency in all seasons. But to realize those benefits, the attic must be properly ventilated. If it’s not, oppressive heat can build up in the summer, which will wreak havoc on your energy bills. In the winter months, an improperly vented attic can result in ice dams, walls of ice that form on the edge of the eave that can force water runoff to pool on the roof and eventually leak inside.

Because the proper ventilation of your attic is critical to energy efficiency and roof integrity, it pays to deliberate on the right choice of attic vent. While many spend time researching the benefits of various roofing materials in Marietta, they forget about the other components that comprise a well-constructed roof. Two of the most common types of attic ventilation devices are ridge vents and turbine vents. Both have their pros and cons, but the choice is one of personal preference. When shopping for roofing products in Marietta, make sure to give ample thought to the type of vent you want on your roof.

Turbine Vents

A turbine vent consists of an array of wind-catching vanes that are arranged in a ring. They are like wind or water turbines used in other applications, and they work in much the same manner. Turbine vents are powered by the wind and require no other external power source. When the wind passes over the turbine, the vanes catch the air, which cause the turbine to spin. As it spins, it creates negative pressure in your attic, which draws air out. Because the hottest air in the attic will be closest to the surface of your roof, the turbine can pull out the hottest air from the attic space with the help of the breeze. That will help regulate the internal temperature of your attic, which makes it easier to maintain temperatures and humidity levels in your home below.

The benefits of the turbine vent include its lower cost of installation and the active nature of ventilation it provides. However, because the turbine relies on the wind, it is far less effective at venting the roof when there is no breeze. When the wind is blowing, however, a turbine can move massive amounts of air. In fact, the turbine can move more air when a steady breeze is present than any other vent type. Because turbines noticeably stick up from the roofline, they are quite visible. If the presence of a turbine would be considered an eyesore, another type of vent may be more appropriate. Finally, turbines can become noisy as they age, as rust can cause them to whistle, squeal, and moan in a stiff breeze.

Ridge Vents

Ridge vents are vents that run the span of your roof’s ridge or peak. They aren’t active in nature but are considered passive ventilation devices. Since the hottest air in your attic rises to the top, thermodynamics lead it to vent from the attic at the highest point, which is the ridge. When properly installed, a small pocket of low-pressure exists just outside of the vent that allows the hot air inside the attic to rise and be efficiently drawn out into the external atmosphere.

Ridge vents are almost invisible to the observer; they resemble a slightly elevated ridge cap on the roofline. Because of their size, they have the potential to move a lot of air despite their low-profile appearance. While the ridge vent has many benefits when properly installed, installation is key to proper function. Also, because the vent leaves a space at the crown of the roof, it’s critical that baffles and moisture barriers are installed. Without weather barriers in place, moisture would seep back into the attic. If the baffles aren’t properly executed, there would be no low-pressure area at the vent, which could limit the amount of hot air that can escape the attic. Finally, ridge vents aren’t right for every roof. Steep roofs and roofs with few ridges may not get adequate ventilation from a ridge vent alone.

When picking out roofing nails and roofing shingles in Marietta, make sure you dedicate some thought to the type of vent that will best suit your roofing needs. Vents play a critical role in maintaining the comfort inside your home and protecting your roof structure. To learn more about the strengths of ridge vents and turbine vents, contact Preferred Roofing.