Common ridge vent problems & Solutions

Ridge vents are common, and if they are installed properly, the issues they bring should be minimal or completely eliminated. However, if your ridge vent is not installed correctly or is old, you might deal with various problems. We put together the best solutions for the most common problems you can encounter with your ridge vent. Keep reading to find out how to keep your ridge vent problem-free and maintain optimum ventilation in your attic. 

Given below is the list of the most common ridge vent problems and their solutions;

Ridge vent leaking

One of the most frequent problems with ridge vents is leaking. Leaking can happen due to a poor installation but also due to intense weather conditions. For example, if the fasteners of your ridge vent are not secured well enough, a strong wind can remove the ridge cap, allowing leaks to happen in case of rain or snow. Unfortunately, many people realize there is a problem with a leaking ridge vent only when it is too late rather than preventing such a situation. 

Fasteners might get loose over time, especially if you live in an area with excessive wind. It is important to strengthen the fasteners and fix any potential ridge cap issue as soon as it happens. The only way to prevent ridge vent leaking is by properly checking the ridge installation and how strong the fasteners are. If the fasteners seem loose or the ridge vent comes out of the roof easily, you will have to strengthen the fasteners or even replace them. If the ridge vent cap was completely removed by the wind, you would have to add a new one and make sure it is screwed in safely. 

Checking the ridge vent fasteners after every storm or intense wind will let you know if you have any reason to worry about potential leaks. Of course, you can do that yourself or hire a specialist, but it is important not to neglect this aspect. 

Ridge vents losing home’s heated air due to lack of soffit vents

Ridge vents can be responsible for facilitating the escape of heated air in your home if you don’t install matching soffit vents. It is not recommended to install ridge vents without soffit vents or soffit vents without ridge vents. Unless you have both of these systems properly in place, the air circulation won’t be proper in your attic space. 

If you install a ridge vent without the soffit vent, the chances are that you will have to deal with heat loss from the house during the winter months. This happens because the convection airflow in the attic will not be matched by any air drawn in from the house’s exterior. The negative pressure thus created causes the hot air from the house to be drawn into the attic space through the tiny spaces between the wall and the ceiling and other joints.

You can avoid such a problem by installing soffit ventilation to match ridge vents. Since soffit vents allow fresh air to enter the attic, they prevent any negative pressure development, and this prevents the attic from sucking out the hot, air-conditioned air inside the home.

Clogging

Another problem that you might encounter with your ridge vent is clogging. This will compromise the entire venting system that you have installed, and you will need to take immediate action. Clogging is a natural problem that appears in ridge vents as long as they are not cleaned and maintained properly. 

Clogging can happen due to dirt, debris, moss, or different residue brought by severe wind. This is why it is essential to clean the ridge vent regularly in order to fix this problem and avoid the clogging becoming more damaging. Ideally, you should clean the ridge vent twice a year, but a minimum once-a-year maintenance session would also suffice. 

You can clean the ridge vent by yourself or call a specialist to take care of this task. If you decide to clean it yourself, you will need a flashlight so you can see clearly inside the vent. Then, use a water hose at high pressure and run it down the drain. If you hear any unusual sounds, it is important to shut the water off and check again with the flashlight before you continue. This should eliminate all the clogging in your ridge vent.

Rodents getting in 

You might be surprised to discover that rodents can get inside the ridge vents, and they can create quite a hassle if you don’t attend to this issue as soon as you notice it. How can rodents get inside the ridge vent, you might wonder? 

No matter how good the quality of your ridge vent is, if its ends kept are uncovered, rodents, bats, and other animals of such, can easily squeeze inside of the ridge vent. 

You can prevent rodents and other animals from entering the ridge vent by choosing a design that covers not only the endings of it with a screen but also the sides of it. The blocking material you use on your ridge vent should still allow air to circulate in and out of your attic, but it should keep animals away from the vent itself. 

If your ridge vent was installed properly, you shouldn’t have to deal with rodents getting inside of it at all. So, take into account this problem even before it happens as preventing it can save you a lot of time and investment. 

Installation of attic fans near ridge vents  

Usually, people choose to install either an attic fan or a ridge vent. Attic fans are active ventilators, while ridge vents are passive ventilators. If you consider installing both an attic fan and a ridge vent, you will create more problems for your ventilation system. 

An attic fan will block the ridge vent system with acts as an escape system for hot air, and affect the airflow circulation by simply sucking the air in and eliminating it back out without regulating the temperature in your attic. Such a fan can attract not just air through the ridge vent but also water and snow. If the moisture of this level gets in your attic, you might have to deal with mold and mildew growing on the walls. 

Wind short circuiting ridge vents 

If your house is in a windy area, you will naturally be concerned about wind short circuits affecting the ridge vents. You don’t want outside air brought by the wind to affect the venting system. However, more factors could cause this issue to happen, and it is not all about the wind. 

The buoyancy of the hot air in the attic can also impact the venting system. The more hot air is in the attic, the more it will be released at the ridge vent’s highest point. If your house is not wasting energy, generating a lot of heat loss, you will not have to worry about buoyancy but the structure of your ridge vent. 

A solution to avoid such a problem is to install a ridge vent with an external baffle. This baffle will act as a shield against strong wind and allow the airstream to get over the ridge vent. As a result, the air lifted upwards will be sucked properly without any inconvenience caused by the wind. This effect is called the Bernoulli effect, and it will keep your venting system working properly regardless of the wind intensity or direction. 

If you choose not to add a baffle to your ridge vent, you take the risk of wind driving air inside your attic regardless of the structure of your ridge vent. 

Conclusion

Even if all these issues are common for houses that use a ridge vent on the roof, it is crucial to know that a proper installation and regular maintenance can avoid most of these problems. On the other hand, if your ridge vent is poorly installed from the beginning, the chances are that you will have to deal with even more problems as time goes by. The roof is the most exposed part of your house, and it is easily damaged by weather conditions as well as other external factors. 

Charles John

A novice DIYer who learns about home ventilation. I am a mechanical engineer and have a basic knowledge of HVAC systems but I learn continuously to make myself the best blogger in that space.

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