What You Should Know About the Attic Ventilation System

What You Should Know About the Attic Ventilation System

By Alex Mikayelyan February 21, 2022

As a homeowner, you want to make every inch of your home, not just liveable, but also comfortable and cozy. Knowing how pricey certain home additions can be, it’s wise to make use of every bit of space you have available. One of these key spaces in your home is the attic.

Attics are typically relegated as extra storage space for old furniture, boxes of belongings, and other items that you rarely need. However, if you can open up the area to make it liveable, the attic can become a great extra room for anything from a cozy loft to a secluded study, or even an entertainment center or gym.

But before you can bring in furniture or decor, the living space has to have proper ventilation. The cornerstone of any successful liveable is proper ventilation and airflow. Attics are a little tricky when it comes to ventilation as they’re not always built with comfortable liveability in mind. However, the pros got you covered as there are ways you can install ventilation in the attic that will make the space comfortable enough to spend as much time in as you’d like.

Why Install Attic Vents

Why You May Want to Install Attic Vents

Why You May Want to Install Attic Vents

Before you install any sort of ventilation in your attic, you should first consider why you’re installing it in the first place. If you’re using the attic mostly as storage and rarely stay up there for more than five minutes, there’s very little reason to update the ventilation system unless there are absolutely zero airflows and the windows are nailed shut. But even in this case, you may still not want to install ventilation as you really have no use for it. However, if you are planning to remodel your attic into a room that will be utilized far more often, such as a guest room, library, or office, then installing ventilation is crucial. 

Types of Roof Vents

Attic and roof ventilation are generally divided into two separate categories: active and passive. Both of these also have a number of ventilation styles with each one functioning differently and to various degrees of efficiency.

Active Attic Ventilation

Active ventilation, as the name would imply, is a system where the interior air is actively always on the move. You have several intake fans that suck in the outside air to bring it in, and you have exhaust fans that push the stale interior air outside. It’s this cycle that creates a properly ventilated room, keeping it fresh and crisp even on hot summer days.

There are several styles of active ventilation that can work really well for your attic.

1. Turbine Vent

How Turbine Vents Work

How Turbine Vents Work

You’ve most likely seen metal roofing vents all over your local area. You’ll see them spinning on top of roofs, with the round turbine constantly rotating. A common misconception is that the turbines are connected to electricity and don’t work without being powered up. The opposite is actually true in this case.

When turbine vents are connected to a kind of battery, they can actually generate electricity by spinning. So in that case, what causes the spinning? The wind, of course. As the breeze travels across your roof, it will spin the turbine, trapping fresh air and sending it down through the pipe into your home. But even when there is no wind the turbine may spin because the hot air from inside the home escapes upwards, through the pipe, causing the round turbine to spin.

And if you’re worried about your turbine vent allowing rainwater and other particles in the air to enter your home, you really have very little to worry about. Turbine vents are famous for not allowing rainwater to get through thanks to the way they’re designed to block out anything from finding its way to the interior.

2. Ridge Vent

The Subtle Advantages of Ridge Vents

The Subtle Advantages of Ridge Vents

A ridge vent is not exactly a traditional kind of ventilation system. It doesn’t really have any moving parts, nor is it a dedicated fan per se. Ridge vents are thin slits in the edges of your roof which allow air to seamlessly travel from one side of your home to the other. 

The main advantage of ridge ventilation is that it’s very easy on the eyes. Not all homeowners enjoy the idea of having a turbine jutting out from the roof. So, instead, they opt for ridge vents that are pretty much invisible from the ground floor.

The unfortunate part about this type of ventilation is that there aren’t any filters, so you’re going to have dirt, dust, insects, and just about anything else from the outside air making its way into your attic. So, be ready for more regular cleaning. The upside to this is that you won’t have to worry about part replacements or maintenance since there aren’t any moving parts in ridge vents.

3. Solar Roof Vent

The Advantages of Solar Ventilation Systems

The Advantages of Solar Ventilation Systems

Take your mechanical roof ventilation fan, connect it to a solar panel, and you have yourself a perfectly functioning attic exhaust fan that will turn the stuffiest attic into a cozy liveable space. The problem with solar panel vents is that while they can save up to 30% on energy bills, the vent does not work while the battery is charging; and it is possible for the solar vent to run out of juice.

So, while you can’t rely on solar power for attic ventilation, it’s still a good idea to have a solar panel vent. It is far more environmentally friendly than the standard vents connected to the HVAC system which runs on power. 


While active attic fans normally have moving parts, with the exception of ridge vents that don’t have them, passive ventilation systems use the natural forces to create air circulation.

1. Static Vents

What Are Static Vents Used For?

What Are Static Vents Used For?

As their name implies, static vents are stationary openings in your roof that are most of the time used as exhausts. This means that their primary purpose is to allow the warm, stale air from the inside a way to leave your home, giving room for cooler, fresh air from the outside to make its way in.

Static vents come in a variety of shapes and sizes, however, they do tend to jut out of the roof. Certain static vents are designed to be more discreet, but if you want an efficient exhaust for your home and don’t really mind how it will look, these are a fantastic option.

2. Gable Vent

Simple, Yet Effective, Wooden Gable Vent

Simple, Yet Effective, Wooden Gable Vent

A gable vent fan or ventilation system works quite similarly to the ridge vents. Gable vents are made of wood and are installed onto the exterior wall, generally under the area where the two sides of the roof meet. The wind passes from one side of the house, finds its way through the vent, then escapes through another vent located on the other side of the attic. 

Much like the ridge vent, the best part about gable vents is that they have no moving parts so they don’t really require much maintenance. However, since the vents are static and typically do not close, you’re always going to have an opening in your home’s exterior that you may not need in the winter when it gets cold. So, consider carefully before installing gable vents for your attic.


Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan