Everything You Need To Know About Roof Vents

Roof vents play a vital role in keeping your house safe from heat and moisture damage–but not all vents are created equal.
Written by Patrick Price
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
To prevent mold, mildew, and other damage to your roof, every house needs to have roof vents to keep air moving and allow heat and humidity to escape. There are many different styles of roof vents, such as turbine, static, and solar vents. Ideally, you want vents that effectively cool your roof, use minimal energy, and don’t diminish the visual appeal of your house. 
Whether you’re adding a new roof, upgrading your insulation, or you’re just worried that your current roof is inadequately ventilated, you’ll need to choose the right style of roof vents for your house. With so many choices available, though, picking the right vents can seem a little overwhelming. 
To make things simpler for you,
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and car insurance
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—has put together this guide on everything you need to know about home roof vents
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What are roof vents and what do they do? 

As heat and humidity are generated, they naturally move up through your home until they reach the roof—where they could easily become trapped. If this happens, it will lead to rapid mold and mildew growth on the roof, warping and peeling shingles, and damage to woodwork
Having vents installed on your roof will prevent this damage because the vents allow the house to breathe—releasing heat and moisture while also pulling in fresh air.

Types of roof vents

Roof vents come in a near-limitless variety of styles, including hip vents, soffit vents, box vents, and many more. All of these styles, however, fall into one of two types. These two types are active vents and passive vents and they each have different advantages. 

Active vents

As the name suggests, active vents are more proactive about creating airflow in your attic/under your roof, using electric energy to forcibly create artificial circulation. 
Active vents are more powerful and efficient at ventilating complex structures. They also remain effective regardless of weather conditions, time of day, or season. 
On the other hand, active vents are also much more expensive, less environmentally friendly, and require more maintenance. Not to mention, they increase your energy consumption which will raise your utility bill.
Some of the most common active vent styles include:
  • Power vents
  • Solar vents
  • Ridge vents with a baffle

Passive vents

Rather than creating artificial circulation, passive vents manipulate naturally occurring air currents to push heat/moisture out and pull fresh air in. 
Passive vents are superior in many ways. Since they do not require power, they do not place any burden on your energy bill and are usually fairly eco-friendly. Additionally, they do not require much maintenance and do not produce noise pollution. Unlike active vents, there is no chance of malfunction or hazardous pressure buildups, fires, or other damages. 
That said, they are less powerful than active vents. They also require some advanced planning to ensure that they make the most efficient use of wind, air pressure, and convection. The biggest drawback of passive vents is that they are dependent on external conditions—meaning their efficacy will vary depending on the weather, season, temperature, and time of day.
Some of the most common styles of passive vents include:
  • Box vents
  • Cupola vents
  • Ridge vents without a baffle
  • Turbine vents

The best roof vents 

The type and style of roof vents that will be best for you depends on your budget, where you live, and the shape of your roof/attic. It also depends on whether you’re building a new home, adding a new roof, or just adding more ventilation. 
When selecting vents, you’ll want to choose units that do the following:
  • Effectively ventilate your home
  • Fit your budget
  • Minimize maintenance/upkeep
  • Minimize environmental impact
  • Minimize energy consumption
  • Maximize your home’s visual appeal
  • Are safe
In all categories besides the efficacy of ventilation, passive vents are often superior. If it's at all possible to properly ventilate your roof using passive vents, you should do so–unfortunately, sometimes active vents are needed. 
Whichever type of roof vents your particular situation calls for, you’ll find some great options among the five top-shelf roof vents listed below. 

1. Lomanco 12 in. Aluminum Whirlybird Wind Turbine

Available at
Home Depot
This design by Lamanco is, hands down, one of the best roof venting products available. Capable of effectively cooling and ventilating 770 square feet of attic space, It is one of the most effective examples of a turbine vent.
Perhaps because of their large number of working parts and high efficacy, turbine vents are often mistaken as active vents, but they’re actually passive–meaning the Lomanco Whirlybird is going to be cheap, safe, low maintenance, and environmentally friendly. This model is also exceedingly easy to install and compatible with very steep roofs. 
The one downside is its high profile–there’s no mistaking this large vent sticking up from your roof. 

2. Remington Solar Attic Fan 30 Watt—Model SF30

Available at
Home Depot
If you want the power of an active vent, but you don’t want to drive up your energy cost or sacrifice being eco-friendly, the SF30 by Remington might be a good option. 
Using solar power, the Remington can provide powered ventilation without needing to be wired into your home’s electrical system. The SF30 is an absolute powerhouse—producing 1550 cubic feet per minute(CFM). The fan can ventilate about 2,500 square feet of attic space without raising your energy bill! Plus, unlike other solar vents, the SF30 is surprisingly inconspicuous and sleek. 
Of course, all of that doesn’t come without a cost. These solar vents are not going to come cheap. And, while they’re relatively easy to install, they’re going to require frequent maintenance
Like all active vents, the Remingtons come with some risk of malfunction and home damage

3. Broan-NuTone 3-4 in. Roof Vent

Available at
Home Depot
Exceedingly affordable, safe, and inconspicuous, this passive box vent doesn’t require power, maintenance, or even much space to install. This model is probably going to be the best band for your buck. 
That being said, it’s not going to provide much ventilation compared to some of the other units on this list. 

4. Maxx Air 1,650 Cfm Gable Mount Power Attic Ventilator

Available at
Home Depot
An absolute beast of a fan, the Maxx Air 1,650 CFM Gable Mount Power Attic Ventilator effectively ventilates 2,500 square feet of attic space. With a built-in thermostat, it will only draw the energy that it needs. Plus, it’s easy to install and is pretty reasonably priced
All that air movement, however, means that the CX2500 needs a large amount of intake air. It also requires a gabled roof—but that also means it won’t be too noticeable on your house. 
As an active vent, the CX2500 will carry some risk of malfunction and damage to your home

5. Master Flow 1000 CFM Mill Power Roof Mount Attic Fan

Available at
Home Depot
The Master Flow 1000 CFM Mill Power Roof Mount Attic Fan is a textbook active vent. Effective at ventilation, it can easily handle 1,600 square feet of attic space. Its automatic thermostat ensures that it only turns on when needed, which helps to keep down energy consumption. That said, it’ll still be regularly pulling power, increasing the environmental impact
As with any active vent, the Master Flow 1000 has a risk of malfunction and comes with maintenance requirements. On the bright side, this model is relatively inexpensive compared to other units of similar power—you probably won’t find a cheaper unit that can handle the same amount of space. 
The large disk shape makes this vent pretty obvious, but it comes in numerous colors to help minimize the impact on your home’s aesthetics

Roof vents and homeowners insurance

Homeowners insurance may cover your roof vents—but only in certain circumstances.
If the roof vent is damaged due to a storm (or another
covered peril
) then insurance will almost always cover the cost of replacing the roof including new vents. 
However, many homeowners discover that their insurance company only wants to pay for the exact same style of vents that were on the house at the time of damage—which can be problematic if part of the damage was the result of improper ventilation. 
To get your insurance company to shell out for a vent upgrade, there are a few things that you can try:
  • Review/use your policy terms: The vast majority of home insurance policies have “Law and Ordinance” coverage or “Building Code Upgrade” coverage. If yours does, then insurance is obligated to pay for required upgrades to bring your home up to code standards. 
  • Review/use building codes: In the International Residential Building Code (IRC), section 806, there are specifications for proper attic ventilation. Using these specifications, you may be able to convince your insurance company of the need for an upgrade.
  • Use your shingle warranty: If you have an active warranty for your shingles, then it’s almost certain that the terms of that warranty are dependent on proper ventilation. If that warranty is voided due to improper ventilation, any resulting damage could fall to the insurance company. They may be more willing to pay for new vents if it’s clear that it could save them paying for expensive damages later on. 

Finding affordable home insurance

While your roof vents may or may not be covered by insurance, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t review your policy to see if you can save some money. 
The fastest, easiest, and best way to find quality
homeowners insurance
is by downloading
Jerry
Jerry isn’t an insurance company—it’s a free automated broker and price comparison app that works tirelessly to find you the best possible coverage for the lowest possible price
Even if you already have coverage, Jerry can help you find a better deal. In fact, Jerry users save an average of over $800 a year! Jerry is also the best way to save money on
car insurance
Jerry
was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
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FAQ

How you install a roof vent is going to vary a great deal depending on what type of vent it is. In general, the steps are as follows:
Remove the shingles where you want the vent.
Drill a hole.
Insert the vent.
Cut new shingles to fit and place them around the vent. 
Nail the shingles down.
Caulk any holes. 
Keep in mind that these are very general steps. One or all of them may not apply depending on what type of vent you’re dealing with.
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