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Thread: Attic ventilation. Turbines or ridge vent?

  1. #1
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    Attic ventilation. Turbines or ridge vent?

    I have been thinking for several months that I would add ridge vents to my shop building. It started out as a car port, that then was enclosed. No ventilation was installed at all. Not sure why it didn't rot and fall apart. A co-worker had a company come out and do a study on his house for energy efficiency and their comment was that it was good that he had turbines because they were better than ridge vents, and it was good that they were brown instead of silver. Does that statement make any sense to any of you? I'm not opposed to turbines since the house has 4 of them, but I thought the ridge vents were either equal or superior to them? I'm taking vacation time starting March 13 to fix my leaking valley at the shop. I'm planning to take off only the amount of roof I have to for the repair. But it will open up a perfect place to install one of two turbines that the shop would need, if they are in fact better.
    If ridge vents are better, one Lowes has the model and color I'm interested in on close out for $6.29 per 8' section. The ridge vents would be cheaper because of this.
    Thanks for any help you can offer! Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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  2. #2
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    Turbines are cool, we had them on several of our farm buildings...only problem is in time they start to squeak as the wind makes them revolve....so you have a maintenance isue you wouldn't have with the ridge vent.
    A very wise man once said.......
    "I'll take my chances with Misseurs Smith and Wesson. "

  3. #3
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    Ditto to what Steve said. My parents have the turbines, and they do wear out. Ridge vents = no maintenance.

  4. #4
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    Around here, everyone uses ridge vents. However, you have to deal with more consistent high temperatures.

    Ask your salesman/contractor which system will move more air through your attic space.

    With you being in TX, I would suspect that you would want as many air exchanges as possible in the attic due to the heat.

  5. #5
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    Jim, you do have other options available.

    Gable Vents...sizes and styles vary. Installs into the gable ends of building.

    Can Vents.....These require a hole of the correct size cut into your roof sheething and you shingle/seal these in.

    Also remember to have eave ventilation (Duro-Vent) to move the air in your attic, and make sure nothing like insulation gets in the way (plugs them up) of these doing their job.
    A very wise man once said.......
    "I'll take my chances with Misseurs Smith and Wesson. "

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys! I plan to do the soffit vents every bay to get good air flow, regardless of what type of roof vents I go with. I know you need as many square inches of soffit vents as you have in ridge or turbine vents. But is one type of roof vent not better than the other?
    Joe, I'm the contractor, and I don't know jack . That's why I'm asking here. I don't trust the helpers at the home stores. I have a tool guy at HD I trust. I have talked to a couple plumbers, one at each of 2 HDs that were very knowledgeable and helpful. Watched one guy take about 25 minutes to explain to a couple how to install a faucet. Very patient and gave them the confidence that they could do the job. But most of the guys in the roofing section I've seen are lumber expediters.
    Some information that may be helpful. The roof of the shop and the house have about 90% coverage in shade during the summer, which helps a lot. I'm a little unsure about cutting in a turbine when I'm not reroofing that section. Sounds like another leak to me. Keep the thoughts coming! Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
    Exclusively Irish!
    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas
    When Irish Eyes are smiling, they're usually up to something!!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...but most likely, I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, season 3


  7. #7
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    We lived in St Louis for five years and that is the only place that I have had turbins. Just like the guys are saying, they can make noise if not maintained. Also I had two of them blow off on two seperate occasions. I would stay away from them if possible. My neighbor here has ridge vents and he actually had ceiling water damage during a good blow from a thunderstorm. That is the only incident that I have heard of reguarding ridge vents but not many homes right here have them. My house, on the other hand, has neither ridge vents or turbins and my roof does not make noises, leak or have any rot and it is thirty years old with tons of humidity and heat. It does get hotter than the dickins up there though.

    The system that I liked best is the power gable vent set up. If your roof line is such that they can be installed you might want to consider them. The ones that I have had did not leak, did not make any funny noises, required no maintenance and removed hot air at a high rate. I guess that the only downfall is that it does take electricity to run them. I do not know how many years that they will run before they fail.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim O'Dell View Post
    But is one type of roof vent not better than the other?
    Jim,

    On the Canadian Ww'ing/DIY forums, discussions about roof turbines has been one of those hot button topics, almost like the Sawstop debate is on SMC.

    Some folks think those whirly-bird unpowered turbines are great.
    Attachment 5553

    Other folks maintain that they are no better than a non-turbine vent.
    Attachment 5554

    Some people rather ... aggressively disagree.

    The main argument is that if the wind is blowing -- which is what you need for a turbine to spin -- then the wind will just blow through your roof vents anyway. One fellow actually kept track and and found that a whirlybird turbine was no better than a non-turbine vent.

    Here is his findings. FYI.

    Personally, I had (officially) sufficient venting on my roof. It still gets darn hot in there! We put on a thermostatically controlled powered attic vent, it kicks in at 110F, if I recall, and we found that helped keep the upstairs bedrooms coller in the heat of the summer. Even with A/C in the house, we would get stratification because we have a large vaulted entryway for the cold air to "fall down" and we have kids that don't close their bedroom doors...
    So this helps keep the heat out of the attic radiating down into the house. I wouldn't do it on a shop, but I think it is a good idea for a house.

  9. #9
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    As a home inspector I will way into to this. I have never inspected a home that had attic problems because of ventilation problems. I think every time I have found a problem it has been related to leaking roofing or flashing problems. Even here in the deep south where 75% humidity is common in the summer. As I understand it, the main purpose of ventilation is not cooling, but keep the moisture levels down which leads to rot. Cooling is really secondary issue and I am sure it does help keep cooling bills down.

    Based on what I have read eve and ridge vents are the best because they encourage a natural air flow or air from the bottom to the top of the attic. They don't typically leave dead spots in the attic. So that is what I install in my houses I have built.

    On my current house I couldn't because of the style. We have exposed rafter tails and vents would have been UGLY! So I just have large gable vents that fit the style of the house.

    The only homes I have ever heard of having problem were with cathedral ceilings where there was on cavity left for air flow. Moisture would get trapped in there and rot the rood decking and sometimes the joists. I have not seen one yet, but I have heard the stories.

    My 2 cents worth
    Jeff
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Horton View Post
    Even here in the deep south where 75% humidity is common in the summer. As I understand it, the main purpose of ventilation is not cooling, but keep the moisture levels down which leads to rot. Cooling is really secondary issue and I am sure it does help keep cooling bills down.
    Jeff,

    Careful... This is a regional thing.

    In northern climates, cooling an attic is important -- even in winter. Proper venting keeps the roof cold, which is important. If the roof gets warm, then the snow melts and run downs, and when it gets to the eaves it freezes. This creates large (and impressive) icicles at the eaves. But more so, it causes the melting water to back-up under the shingles. All this wrecks shingles, wrecks eavestroughs, and wrecks roof decking.

    But, venting to keep moisture down is also a problem, as you described. In the summer it is warm moist air, but in the winter, you also have moisture problems, as when the warmth migrates through the insulation, it can cause condensation if the attic is not properly vented.

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