LESLIE: Conrad in Texas is on the line with a roofing question. How can we help?
CONRAD: And I want to get your advice as to whether or not it would be advisable to put up a solar vent over my garage and leave the ridge vents throughout my – the rest of my house. I am getting ready to re-roof my entire house and garage.
TOM: So, when you say “solar vent,” do you mean solar-powered attic fan?
CONRAD: Yes, yes. Right.
TOM: First of all, my general advice is to never use an attic fan. And the reason I give that advice is because, typically, when the attic is over living space that is air-conditioned, what happens is the fan is so powerful that it will pull air conditioning from that living space through the hundreds of nooks and crannies that you don’t know about, like the space in between the 2x4s and the wall cavity where, say, the outlet is installed. That becomes an intake port where it’ll suck out the air conditioning.
If you were describing this garage as being attached to the house but not attached to the living space – and I would include the attic in that if the attic is complete independent of not being over living space. And considering that it’s a hip roof, which is the type of roof – folks, if you’re not familiar with it, it’s the one that’s like a pyramid, right? It goes up on all four sides. You end up with this really small ridge at the top where you really can’t put an effective vent. In that circumstance and that circumstance only, yes, I think it’s OK to put a solar-powered attic fan.
And I think it makes a lot of sense for you because if you’re – you’ll be pulling air through all those soffit vents all the way around, you’ll be drawing it through that attic space and exhausting it. And that will keep the roof temperature cooler and yes, it can increase the longevity of the roof.
Now, for the other sections of roof and attic that are, again, separated from that garage space, there you should use a continuous ridge vent. Make sure the ridge line is cut open at least an inch to an inch-and-a-half so you have a good, wide gap at the top. And then the vent fits on top of that.
And be careful with the type of vent that you choose. You want to make sure you get one that’s open enough to allow the airflow but not let water drive into it. There’s one by CertainTeed called Air Vent. It’s the – that’s their manufacturer’s name or their trade name: Air Vent. I think it’s AirVent.com or Air Vent Inc., something along that line. And it has a nice baffle built into it, which speeds up depressurization. It’s also got a filter that fits inside of it that stops rain from blowing in. So just get a good-quality vent like that and I think you’ll be good to go, have the best of both worlds in that situation.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.