In summer, the primary purpose of ventilation is to expel hot air from the attic or roof to reduce the strain on air-conditioning systems.  In a winter, the primary purpose of ventilation is to maintain a cold roof temperature to avoid ice dams created by melting snow and to vent any moisture that moves from the conditioned living space to the attic.







  • According to federal guidelines, homes require 1 square foot of net free area (the total unobstructed area through which air can enter or exhaust a non-powered vent) for every 150 square feet of attic floor space. If balanced between intake and exhaust vents, the requirement is 1 square foot of net free area for every 300 square feet of attic floor space.
  • Multiple roof vents are usually needed to provide the required net free area
  • Must be spaced equally over roof to provide sufficient airflow along the entire roof sheathing


Many newer homes are built with ridge vents, an generally they do a good job.  Here in the Midwest however, we see problems.  In the winter, attic moisture can rise to the ridge and settle on ridge screening.  As temperatures drop, the moisture freezes blocking attic air exhaust, thus trapping heat and moisture in the attic. The heated air melts snow on the roof deck, the melted snow runs down the roof deck to cold gutter where it freezes.  Eventually the gutter fill, the ice pushes up under and around nearby shingles resulting in ice dams.  Unaddressed, ice dams can cause damage to your roof structure, shingles and be costly to repair.

Here is a recent picture of a blocked ridge vent due to moisture frozen at the peak.

frozen ridge vent image

Frozen & Blocked Ridge Vent

A roof vent, placed properly can work in conjunction with a ridge vent to ensure warm air escapes, minimizing ice dam development.

Not sure about your attic ventilation? Give us a call at 630.941.3800

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