Talking All Vents: What is a Gable Vent? (And Why They Are Important)

wildfire ember safe gable vent up close

We’ve all noticed the difference it makes when you open a window on a breezy day to let fresh air into a stuffy room. But how does the rest of your home get air circulation?

Especially in hot summer months and cold winter months, most homeowners keep doors and windows sealed up tight for the majority of the time. That’s where vents come in.

Having the proper vents on your house is crucial not just for fresh, pleasant airflow, but for the actual upkeep and safety of your home, too. The attic of your house in particular needs to have exposure to regular airflow in the form of passive ventilation.

Let’s look at a few different types of vents and why they’re so important for any home.

Why is attic venting necessary?

If you’ve ever been in a house that’s been completely closed up for several weeks, you may have noticed that the air seems stale. That’s what happens to an enclosed space when there’s no ventilation.

If there were no vents on the house for both intake and exhaust, stuffiness is amplified. Regular airflow is important for the health of both a house and its inhabitants. Here are a few key benefits of proper roof vents on your home.

Maximize HVAC Efficiency

Did you know that the right vents on your home can actually save you money? An attic space that’s totally sealed means the hot air that rises will get trapped up there.

That means your air conditioning system will have to work harder to bring the overall temperature of your house down on warm days, resulting in a higher energy bill for you.

Airflow from ventilation keeps this hot air moving so your HVAC system can get the temperature under control more easily.

Protect Your Roof and Attic from Mold and Damage

Heat rises, as we all know. In your home, hot, moist air rises to and settles in your attic. If it has no way to escape (and if there’s no way for fresh, cooler air to enter), it will eventually lead to condensation and growth of mold or mildew.

Mold/mildew in your attic can be expensive to have professionally exterminated, and can even put you and your family at risk for health problems.

Plus, if you live in a snowy climate, this hot air can keep your roof warmer than it would otherwise be during the day. At night, it will refreeze when temperatures dip, which can result in the formation of “ice dams.”

An ice dam is a ridge of ice on the edge of your roof that acts just like a dam, preventing the snow from melting off the roof. Over time, ice dams can cause problems with the structural integrity of this important part of your house.

To preserve its longevity—because a new roof is expensive!—proper attic ventilation is key.

Provide Fresher Air for You to Breathe

There’s a reason we all want to crack a window when the air in an enclosed space feels stuffy—because stale air isn’t pleasant to breathe. Without the proper intake and exhaust vents on your home, stuffy air will become the norm.

For the best air quality in your living space, roof ventilation for passive access to outside air is crucial.

Watch the video below which shows (with science) how Vulcan Vents offer the most airflow of all fire and ember safe vents.

Protect your home from wildfires

Many people are surprised to learn that around 90% of homes destroyed by wildfires ignite because of wind-blown embers. These dangerous particles can travel miles away from the main flames, and they’re enough to catch your house on fire if allowed to enter through a vent.

Regular vents don’t stop embers. Vulcan Vents, however, are made for this purpose exactly. Our honeycomb matrix and intumescent coating layer will swell shut as soon as intense temperatures are detected, preventing these hazards from entering. Below we go into each layer of our vents:

Outside Layer: Our vents have 1/8” galvanized steel screen on the outside to stop rodents, insects and pests.

Middle Layer: The middle layer of the vent is made of an aluminum honeycomb matrix covered in an intumescent coatings. This coating expands when exposed to heat and flames. This layer prevents radiant heat from causing combustion inside your home. (expands and seals the vent shut when exposed to heat. This blocks heat and flames)

Back Layer: The back layer is made of a fine, stainless steel mesh. This physical layer blocks embers and keeps them out of the home. No activation is required for the layer to block embers. It’s a physical, long last barrier designed to keep embers out! (steel mesh blocks embers. Simple)

Regular vents are a liability in the event of a wildfire, but Vulcan Vents are a strong defense that can help protect your home from fire damage and destruction.

Key Attic Ventilation Options

If you’re planning to or are in the process of building a new house, you should be familiar with which types of vents you’ll need. Consult with your contractor and/or roofing expert for their recommendations, because the vents that are necessary for your particular house will vary depending on its design.

You should also talk to them about equipping your home with Vulcan Vents if you live in a wildfire-prone area. That said, it’s worthwhile to familiarize yourself with some of the different types of vents out there and the uses and benefits of each.

Here are just a few of several different types that you’re likely to find on houses in your neighborhood.

Gable Vents

Gable vents are found on the outside walls of the attic of your home, on the “gable end.” They’re designed to let air flow in and/or out of your attic space to prevent condensation buildup that can lead to mold growth. They’re also often selected for aesthetic reasons.

Soffit Vents

Soffit vents are usually placed on the underside of the eaves of a house, though they can sometimes be found under arches, beams, decks, balconies, cornices, or even the vaults on top of a home, too. The placement is slightly different from gable vents, but the objective is the same: Keep fresh air circulating throughout the attic space.

They’re intake vents, specifically, that draw up cool air from the base of the roof as moist, warm air flows out of exhaust vents.

Continuous/Ridge Vents

Continuous/Ridge vents are, of course, found on the ridge or peak of your roof. They typically run the entire length of the ridge, or most of it. They’re typically used for exhaust, or so that warm air that rises to the attic has a way to escape.

While gable vents are often chosen for their aesthetic appeal, ridge vents are chosen because they can’t be seen from the ground at all. They blend in seamlessly with the shingles, which is desirable for some homeowners. This way, the vents can do their job without anyone knowing they’re there.

Choosing the Right Vents for Your Home

Whether you’re doing a home improvement project like a major remodel or building a new house altogether, it’s important that you take your ventilation system into consideration.

Choosing and installing the right roof vents isn’t a DIY project, though; you should always consult with your roofers and contractors for advice on what’s best for your particular home. If you already own a home and live in a wildfire-prone area, your home should be equipped with fire-safe vents like Vulcan Vents.

Find an expert installer in your area to outfit or retrofit your home with these vents today.

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