What are Attic Vents?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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Attic vents are an essential part of maintaining quality construction in a home because they provide the air circulation that is necessary for preventing problems. Attic vents serve a specific purpose year round. There are different types of attic vents that are designed to be used with different types of roofs and home construction, and their installation and performance are required to meet certain building codes.

There are two principal types of attic vents – intake vents and exhaust vents. The intake vents allow fresh air from outside the home to enter the attic, and the exhaust vents allow the air to escape. There are different types of intake attic vents, including gable vents, soffit vents and static vents. The type references the location of the vents.

Gable vents are installed in the gable end just below the roof peak. These are the least efficient style of intake vents. Soffit vents are installed in the soffit and can be evenly spaced or run the continuous length of the roofline. Static vents are any other type of vent installed directly into the roof and are designed with a hood to keep rain out and sheet metal flashing to prevent leaks in the roof. The efficiency of any intake vent depends on its location and the number of vents present.


Exhaust vents are the attic vents that allow air to escape. The exhaust vents may be static or turbine. Static exhaust vents allow the air to escape with no powered assistance, while turbine vents use the power of wind to move the air. Turbine vents can often be seen spinning on the rooftops of homes in any neighborhood and are efficient at moving the air.

The main purpose of attic vents is to prevent moisture build up from condensation in the winter time, which could lead to damaged wood and insulation, rot, and mildew or mold, and to relieve extreme heat build up in the summer. Without proper ventilation in the summer, the air temperature in an attic can easily exceed 100°F (38°C), which causes a home’s central air conditioning to run harder than necessary to cool the home as well as causing damage to the wood, roofing, and other building materials over time.

The attic ventilation systems in new home construction are inspected by a building inspector upon completion, and older home’s ventilation systems should be inspected during a whole house inspection prior to purchase. If you have lived in your home for a long time or have never had a whole house inspection, you can call an inspector or licensed roofing company to check the efficiency of your attic vents. If you have no attic vents installed, they would prove a worthwhile investment.


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