If you live in Australia, you know how important proper ventilation is for keeping your home comfortable and healthy. Installing a whirlybird is one option for improving your home’s ventilation, but you’re spoilt for choice in that regard.
In this article, we’ll define whirlybirds, discuss the benefits of installing one, the costs involved, and walk you through the installation process.
We’ll also compare whirlybirds to other types of ventilation and roof vents so you can decide what’s best for your home.
What Exactly Is a Whirlybird?
A whirlybird, also known as a turbine vent, is a type of roof vent that removes hot air from your home using wind power. A dome-shaped metal head spins as the wind passes over it, creating a vacuum that draws stale air out of your attic or roof space. The vent is typically made of aluminum or stainless steel and can be painted to match the colour of your roof, making this roof ventilation system slightly more aesthetically pleasing.
We classify whirlybirds into two types: passive and active. Passive whirlybirds spin using only wind power to remove warm air from your roof cavity, whereas active whirlybirds use a motor that you can control with a thermostat.
What Are the Benefits of Installing a Whirlybird?
There are several advantages to installing a whirlybird in your home. Whirlybirds can help you save money on energy by lowering the temperature in your attic or roof space. The vent helps prevent heat from building up in your home by removing hot air, so your air conditioning doesn’t have to work as hard to cool it. This is extremely useful during the hot Australian summer, and you need all the help you can get.
Whirlybirds improve indoor air quality by removing stale air and moisture from your home. Many people don’t think about this too often, but improving the air quality in your home with proper roof ventilators can significantly reduce the risk of getting ill with various respiratory problems. Preventing moisture buildup doesn’t just help keep you healthy, it also stops mould and mildew from rotting and decaying your roof space – a key reason for suitable ventilation is actually to protect your roof and preserve the structure.
Comparing Whirlybirds to Other Roof Vents
While whirlybirds are a popular home ventilation option, other options exist. In reality, many Australians will need to install various vent types to achieve a suitable level of air circulation throughout the roof space.
Ridge vents, for example, are installed near the roof’s peak to allow hot air to escape.
Along the eaves, soffit vents allow cool air to enter the attic, exiting through ridge vents. On the other hand, powered vents are powered by electricity and can be controlled by a thermostat.
While each option has advantages and disadvantages, whirlybirds are generally regarded as a low-cost and low-maintenance option. Whirlybirds, unlike powered vents, do not require electricity or wiring, making them less expensive to install without adding to your energy bill. Furthermore, whirlybirds do not require any maintenance or repairs, whereas powered vents may require repairs or replacement on occasion.
One potential drawback to a whirlybird is that many homeowners feel that this type of roof ventilator does not look attractive. Having a roof ventilator stick out of the roof can be jarring, so homeowners often prefer ventilation options that blend into the roof structure, like the RapidRidge ventilation system.
How Many Whirlybirds Do I Need?
Generally speaking, one or two whirlybirds should suffice for a small to medium-sized house in Australia. You’ll see many whirlybirds on larger industrial buildings, but you shouldn’t need too many for your purposes.
A professional roofer can assess your home and recommend how many whirlybirds you’ll need. They’ll consider your pre-existing ventilation, roof slope, and wind direction and suggest the correct placement position on your roof.
Roof Whirlybird Installation Cost
The price of installing a whirlybird depends on several factors, including the size of your roof, the type of whirlybird you select, and the complexity of the installation process.
A passive whirlybird costs between $100 and $200 on average, while an active whirlybird costs between $300 and $500.
Remember that these prices are only for the vent and do not include the installation costs. Installation costs vary depending on the job’s complexity, but you should budget between $200 and $500 for professional whirlybird installers. While installing a whirlybird can be expensive up front, remember to consider the long-term savings in energy bills. You can also be thankful that whirlybirds require very little roof maintenance.
Can I Install a Whirlybird on any Roofing Material?
You can usually install a whirlybird on any roofing material. So, that includes metal roofs, tile roofs, and asphalt shingles. You’ll also be able to install them on any roof style, including mansard roofs, gable roofs, and even flat roofs.
In some cases, though, installing a whirlybird may be more complicated. For example, if you have a metal roof, you may need specialised flashing to stop water from entering your home. If you have a flat roof, you may need to install a curb around the whirlybird to prevent water from accumulating there. Remember that, with roofing, we always need to avoid a situation where water pools!
The Installation Process
We don’t advise installing a whirlybird yourself without consulting a roofer. However, with the help of a professional, the process only takes a few hours:
- Determine the best spot on your roof, usually facing the prevailing wind
- Prepare the roof spot by removing the roofing materials there
- Install the base, usually made of steel, and attach it to the roof with screws and nails
- Attach the vent (the domed whirlybird) to the base
- Seal the vent to prevent any water from seeping into the home
- Test the vent (just see if the wind adequately turns the vent itself)
With roofing services on hand, these steps are relatively painless. Once the whirlybird is installed effectively, it requires little ongoing maintenance.
Whirlybirds can help reduce energy bills, improve indoor air quality, and protect your roof from damage by removing hot and humid air from your home.
There are other options for ventilation, and you’ll probably need a combination of different options to provide adequate ventilation.
Whirlybirds are generally regarded as a dependable and cost-effective option. When considering installing a whirlybird, it’s important to consider not only the installation cost, but also the long-term savings and benefits.