Keeping your roof properly ventilated is very important in every climate. But, the effects of poor insulation can more easily be seen in cooler climates where ice dams and harsh weather can take a toll on your roofing.
Today, we’ll talk about how to spot poor roof ventilation and how you can take steps to resolve the issues.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR ROOF IS VENTILATED
Every roof is ventilated somehow, but depending on the type of roof you have and how old your home is, there are two different types of roof ventilation.
When your roof has mechanical ventilation, you have an additional roof vent installed. This type of roof can be found in more modern homes since it gives homeowners greater control over roof ventilation. The vent will require a power source and provides constant airflow with the help of a fan.
If your roof doesn’t have any mechanical ventilation, then it will rely on natural roof venting. Natural roof venting is what occurs when you have roof penetrations, such as vents and chimneys. The pressure that builds up from hot air and cold air mixing will continuously cause the lighter air to rise up out of the vent.
SIGNS OF POOR VENTILATION
If roof ventilation is poor, then you might see any of the following signs. These signs are extremely important to pay attention to.
ICE DAMS AND ICICLES BUILDING UP
If you notice ice dams and icicles building up, then your roof may not be ventilated properly. Ice dams form when the roofing material can’t manage roof snowmelt. A lack of roof ventilation will not give the hot air a chance to escape, so it melts the snow above hotspots in the roof, which then flows down and freezes at the cold edge of the roof. This problem is a lot more common than you might think, but it’s an easy fix.
PROBLEMS WITH YOUR AIR CONDITIONER
Are you noticing issues with your air conditioning? Many people don’t think of it, but it could be because of roof ventilation problems. If the roof isn’t properly ventilated, then it can cause a build-up of hot air. That hot air will cause your home’s HVAC system to work on overdrive all day and drive your electricity bills through the roof while also decreasing the lifespan of the A/C unit.
HOT AND COLD AREAS AROUND YOUR HOME
If you notice that there are hot and cold spots around your home, this is another sign of poor roof ventilation. When air can’t move freely throughout your home, it will leave you feeling chilled in one room and hot in another.
ROOF LEAKS, MOLD, AND MILDEW
Roof leaks, mold, and mildew indicate that roof ventilation isn’t up to par. Hot air will rise freely in a roof with good roof ventilation, but poor roof ventilation will trap hot air and humidity. This causes excess moisture to form on the roof, which can result in leaks and mold growth. This might not cause any problems in the short term, but after a few weeks or months of cloudy, rainy weather, there may be more serious consequences and complications.
UNWANTED PESTS AROUND YOUR HOME
Poor roof ventilation might also cause you to see unwanted pests around your home. Insects like the moist and warm conditions of your roof will be attracted to the hot spots and, if left unchecked, can cause structural problems with your roof. Long-term, this can lead to mice and other small rodents gaining access to your roof system if the problem isn’t fixed.
HIGH HUMIDITY AND CONDENSATION
High humidity and condensation should also be a red flag that roof ventilation isn’t up to par. When hot air gets trapped in your roof, it will cause the roofing system materials to expand and contract as they absorb moisture from the air. This constant expansion and contraction can damage roof material over time, leading to leaks or even roof failure. Measuring humidity is pretty easy to do with today’s modern tools, and it’s easy to remove humidity with a dehumidifier. But, fixing the problem is really important and shouldn’t be avoided.
HOW TO FIX YOUR POOR INSULATION AND VENTILATION
Fixing roof ventilation problems is relatively simple for a roofer. The problems can be harder to DIY fix but not impossible. First, you’ll want to make sure that there are enough roof vents in the roof system. As a homeowner, this is hard to check, but let your roofing company know if you feel that you might not have enough roof vents. The number of vents will vary from home to home, but generally speaking, it’s a good rule of thumb to have one roof vent per 300 square feet of attic space.
CHECK YOUR ATTIC AND ROOF INSULATION
After you’ve made sure your roof has a good amount of vents, you can check in on the roof insulation. If your roof is properly insulated, you should be able to feel warm air coming out of the roof vents in the winter months. Roofs that aren’t well-insulated won’t have enough space for all the hot air to escape, so make sure you pay attention to where this escaping warmth is being felt on your roof.
Another sign that you have too little insulation is condensation and ice dams. If you see those pesky ice dams piling up during the winter, be sure to check your insulation. Re-insulating or adding insulation to an attic space is never a bad idea when you think that could be a problem.
WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
At MARS Restoration, we encourage homeowners to reach out as soon as they feel they might have problems with their roof. There are roofing companies that will take advantage of homeowners who don’t know if their roof is in good shape or not. But there are also roofers out there who truly care about you and your roof system, MARS Restoration being one of them!
Reach out to us for a free inspection, and we’ll help ensure that you’re taken care of!