Choosing an Attic Exhaust Vent

Looking down a long, empty attic space.

A key component of a well-functioning ventilation system, the attic exhaust vent sends old, stale, hot air out of your house, making way for cool, fresh, clean air in its place. Today, there are many different types of exhaust vents on the market and many things to consider when updating your home's ventilation. This guide will go through some of the key considerations that need to be made when choosing an attic exhaust vent, as well as compare some common types of attic vents.

Ventilation Considerations

Before installing a new attic exhaust vent, make sure your attic is in good condition. Walk around your attic and check for signs of moisture, mildew, or rotten wood, and make sure to have any of these problems corrected. Also, pay close attention to the attic intake vents. Intake vents work in concert with exhaust vents to properly circulate air through your house. Exhaust vents can only vent as much as the intake vents bring in, so make sure that you check the capacity of your intake vents so that your new exhaust vents are not too powerful.

Ventilation systems are strictly regulated by building codes. In general, you should have one square foot of vent space for every 150 square feet of floor in your attic. Approximately half of the vent space should be dedicated to exhaust vents. Since building codes vary by township, make sure to check with your local building inspector to get precise details about local requirements. Once you know what your needs are and understand your local building codes, you can start to think about different types of exhaust vents.

Ridge Vents

Attic ridge vents run along the peak of your roof. They are one of the most attractive attic vent models because they match the existing roofing and are nearly invisible. Ridge vents work all year long, and since they run the entire length of the roof, ventilation is evenly distributed. When installed properly, they are one of the most efficient types of exhaust vents available, as they provide a high volume of airflow per square foot and work well regardless of weather conditions or the direction of the wind. However, it is important to install this type of vent with external baffling to keep rain and other forms of precipitation out of the attic.

Power Vents

Power vents are motor driven exhaust fans that are controlled by a thermostat. When the thermostat detects that the temperature in the attic is getting too high, it sends a single to the motor, turning it on and causing the fan to vent air from the attic. These vents are extremely powerful. Usually one is sufficient to keep your house well ventilated, and the thermostats are adjustable. Unlike ridge vents, power vents run on electricity, meaning that they are less environmentally friendly, and your electricity bill may go up as a result.

Static Vents

Static vents are the least expensive of attic exhaust vents. However, to keep your house properly ventilated, you will need to install several of these vents and they must be evenly spaced along the roof in order to work properly.

Looking to beat the heat on the cheap? Here are the top 10 ways to save on your cooling costs.