Ventilating your home is one of the most important things you can do to improve your comfort levels. Whether designing a new home or renovating your current house, don’t overlook your roof ventilation. Not only does sufficient ventilation remove unhealthy and stale air, but it also keeps your roof in the best possible condition.
So, follow our guide to discover the best roof ventilation Australia has to offer.
Why Ventilate Your Roof?
Roofs exist to protect the interior of our homes from the outside world—we’re talking leaves, twigs, harsh sunlight, and water. Moisture is one of the biggest threats to a building. If it gets into the house, it causes dampness, mould, and rot. Not only does this lead to unhealthy air—bad for inhabitants with respiratory conditions—but it also damages the structure’s integrity.
If left alone, the rot will spread. You may end up needing to replace the entire roof.
Newly constructed roofs are more airtight and watertight than those of older houses. However, water doesn’t just come from external forces. When you breathe in and out, you create water vapour. This rises to the top of your home. If it cannot escape, it will settle in your attic and start to cause problems.
If you have noticed lots of condensation in your home, it could be a sign of poor ventilation. So, what can you do about it? Adequate ventilation allows the moisture and stale air to leave the property, replaced by fresh air. Not to be dramatic, but good ventilation could make or break your home.
Best Roof Ventilation Australia
Let’s look at your roof ventilation options in Australia. Your choice depends on your budget and the type of house.
1. Box Vents
Box vents are one of the most common styles. You may know them by a different name—turtle vents, flat vents, or louvres. They are static; they have no moving parts. They work by using natural convection to draw warm and moist air outside. You will typically find them near the roof ridge for optimal effectiveness.
Box vents are usually made out of metal or hard plastic. While they are a protrusion from the roof, you can often find a colour to match your roof. Box vents are pretty unobtrusive, unlike some more overt vents—such as whirlybirds.
On the other hand, box vents aren’t the most effective system, and they can be trickier to install. You might need to install several of them. However, they are a more affordable option as they are mechanical. You don’t need to pay for upkeep or general running.
2. Power Vents
Powered vents are essentially the same as box vents but use power to motorize the movement of air. Accordingly, they’re very effective. The average Aussie home would only need one. There are two types of power vents: solar or mains powered.
- Solar power vent: Aside from maintenance costs, solar-powered machinery is essentially free to run. While Australia is blessed with many sunny days, a solar-powered vent might struggle during the winter months.
- Mains power vent: Unlike the solar version, mains powered vents plug into your home. Therefore, they work at night and on cloudier days. However, you have to pay for them to run.
Power vents, like box vents, are a subtle addition to your roof. The biggest drawback is that they require more maintenance because they have moving parts.
3. Wind Turbines
More commonly known as whirlybirds, wind turbines are a type of passive vent. They are an environmentally friendly alternative. Despite being one of Australia’s most popular ventilation choices, they’re no more effective than box vents. Moreover, whirlybirds require wind to work. If you don’t live in an especially windy area, there is little point in buying a whirlybird.
Furthermore, whirlybirds cost a lot to install. While they require little maintenance or running expenses, forking out $200—$500 per whirlybird is not ideal.
4. Ridge Vents
Ridge vents are one of the most substantial ventilation options the Australian market offers. The vent sits on the ridge of your roof—for a uniform look and maximum effectiveness, place ridge vents along the entire ridge. The vents are static, so they don’t require the running costs of the powered options but are more effective than whirlybirds or box vents.
So, how do they work? Ridge vents pull cool air through the entire roof space, ensuring constant internal temperatures. Essentially, it turns your entire roof space into an air vent.
Other benefits of ridge vents:
- Quick to install, especially if you need to fit them into your home retroactively
- Very little maintenance is required if any
- Very affordable—low initial costs and no running costs
- More attractive than whirlybirds or box vents
- Strong performance
5. Soffit Vents
Soffit vents work well in combination with ridge vents. The vents sit in your soffits or eaves at the bottom of the roof. The cold, outside air enters the roof space and draws up through the top to the ridge vent, where it exists. The system warms the air as it travels through the roof space, adding a layer of insulation.
Accordingly, the interior of your home stays at a consistent temperature and is moisture-free. Like ridge vents, soffit vents are subtle and unobtrusive.
To Sum Things Up
While ridge and soffit vents are a clear winner in our opinion, your choice depends on what you can afford and the type of house you live in. If you’re in an incredibly windy area, whirlybirds might be the cheapest and most effective option. If you have a particularly small house, a few box vents might do the job.
However, if you’re looking for the ultimate vent in terms of value and effectiveness, a ridge and soffit ventilation system is your best bet.