How Roof Ventilation Can Save You Money

As we all know these days saving money is more important than ever. One way in which to do so that you may not have already considered is through ensuring that you take the proper measures to protect your roof and attic space.

For example, an asphalt shingle roof can cause your attic to retain a great deal of heat, particularly in the height of the summer months. When a roof is exposed to the sun for a significant period of time it can cause a poorly ventilated attic to reach extreme temperatures. After a while this heat will begin to radiate into the house and you will begin to feel the temperature of the home becoming unusually warm. In turn this will lead to a greater consumption of energy as your air conditioner begins to work harder in order to maintain a pleasant air temperature.

The key to lowering your energy bill revolves around keeping the air in the attic as cool as possible and there are a few ways in which to do this effectively. The ideal option is to improve the ventilation in the attic to ensure that the warm air is able to escape and fresh air can be drawn in. Don’t attempt to do this yourself, as it really requires the assistance of a professional roofer who knows exactly where vents should be placed to be most beneficial.

Increasing the thickness of your roof insulation can also help to reduce electricity consumption through making it harder for the heat to radiate through into the main home. If you are considering a residential roof replacement, take into account materials that will most effectively reflect the sun such as metal or lighter colored shingles.

Power Attic Ventilators

If you have been tempted to buy a powered ventilator fan for your attic by all the ads claiming that they will save you money on your air conditioning bills and extend the life of your roof, take a few minutes to get the whole story before you rush out to the home improvement center or start cutting holes in your roof.   Attic ventilation is an important part of your roof system, but randomly adding powered ventilators can sometimes do more harm than good.

Some powered attic ventilator fans are run using electricity while others are solar powered.  Most are marketed as being easily installed by the homeowner and claim that by reducing heat and moisture from your attic, they can save you money on your energy costs for air conditioning and help your asphalt shingles last longer.  If you have been up in your attic on a sunny summer day this sounds pretty good.

There is no question that a poorly ventilated attic can get very hot.  This heat can radiate through your ceiling and cause your air conditioning system to work harder to keep your home comfortable.  In addition, heat and moisture can shorten the life of asphalt shingle roofing.

However, the key is that the attic ventilation system must be properly designed in order to be effective.  Adding a powered ventilator to your attic in the wrong location or without enough vents to allow air to flow into the attic can be counter-productive.  It can leave hot areas in the attic and in some case can draw air from inside your home into the attic which will cause your air conditioner to have to work that much harder to keep up.

Before you invest in a power attic ventilator, have your attic ventilation system checked out by a good local roofer.  They can help you design an effective attic ventilation system.

Energy Saving Roofing Techniques

When your asphalt shingle roof is exposed to the summer sun all day, temperatures in your attic can exceed 150 degrees.  This heat can find its way through your attic insulation and radiate into your home.  In addition, all that heat can shorten the lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof.  You can lower your electric bill for air conditioning and help your roof last longer with a few energy saving roofing techniques.

Proper attic ventilation can dramatically lower the temperature in your attic.  However, don’t just start randomly cutting holes and adding new vents.  A ventilation system should be designed by an experienced roofing contractor to ensure the smooth flow of air through the attic.  Fresh air should be drawn in through vents along the lower edges of the roof, typically through the eaves, and hot air should be exhausted near the peak of the roof.  For some roofs, properly placed passive vents are all that are needed. For other, a power ventilation system is necessary.

In addition to ventilating the attic, you can have an additional layer of insulation added to your attic floor to reduce heat transfer into your home.  In the winter, this insulation will help reduce heat loss through your ceiling.

When it comes time for a residential roof replacement consider installing a metal roof that reflects much of the sun’s heat and reduce attic temperatures.  If you choose an asphalt shingle roof instead, your local roofer can help you choose a lighter color shingle or select shingles specially designed to have high solar reflectance.  Your attic will stay cooler and your energy bills will be lower.

Roof Ventilation

A very important, but often overlooked component of your roofing system is your attic ventilation.  Proper ventilation is very important for maximizing the useful life of your roof.  Heat and moisture are both very detrimental to an asphalt shingle roof and proper ventilation can help minimize both of these.  A well ventilated roof can save you from costly roof repairs or roof replacement.

Too much heat damages an asphalt shingle roof.  Of particular concern is heat during the day coupled with cool evenings.  This heating and cooling cycle causes thermal shock.  Your roof is made up of shingles, fasteners (usually roofing nails), the wood bed, the underlayment, and flashing.  All of these components expand and contract at different rates. 

When the heat and cold cycle is very pronounced, the difference in the expansion and contraction of these components is high and cracks, holes, and other fissures develop that allow moisture to penetrate the roof.  Once moisture finds its way under the shingles and underlayment, it can enter your home causing damage to walls, ceilings, and your property.  Moisture also causes the wood deck and supporting structure to begin to rot and decay.   In addition, moisture fosters the growth of mold and mildew.

Inadequate ventilation also causes moisture problems.  Absent proper attic ventilation, moisture can condense on the underside of the  roof deck and begin the process of rot and decay.

Proper ventilation can reduce the heat in your attic an minimize the effects of thermal shock.  A properly ventilated attic will also eliminate concerns about condensation.  If you think your attic is not properly ventilated, call a reputable local roofing contractor and have your roof and attic inspected.  They can help make sure your roof has adequate ventilation.

Ice Dams

With winter weather just around the corner, it’s important to remember to keep an eye on your roof during the cold winter months for any signs of ice dams forming.  Ice dams form when snow on the warmer area of your roof melts, then re-freezes near the edge of the roof. 

Poor attic ventilation or insufficient attic insulation are the primary causes of ice dams.  What happens is that heat from your home escapes into the attic and warms up the main area of your roof.  If there is snow on the roof, it will begin melting and the runoff will flow to the edge of the roof.  The eaves are the edge of the roof that sticks out past the exterior walls of your house.  Your eaves hang out into the cold air and are not warmed by heat escaping from your home.  The eaves are much colder than the rest of the roof and snowmelt will often freeze when it reaches the eaves, creating an ice dam. 

The ice dam will cause water to back up under the shingles and leak on the decking and into the house.  Some of this water will also freeze.  Since water expands as it freezes, it will cause your shingles to split and buckle.  Water leaking into your home can damage walls, floors, and ceilings. The moisture on your decking and in your attic will also lead to other issues such as wood rot, mold and mildew.

If you notice ice dams forming on your roof, call a reputable local roofing contractor who specializes in residential roof repairs right away.  They can advise you as to the best solution for ice dam issues.