Why Roof Ventilation Is Important for Residential Solar Users

A good quality roof with proper ventilation is non-negotiable if you’re a rooftop solar user. This is incredibly important for existing solar users and homeowners planning on making the switch because the lack of or improper roof ventilation can become a menace at best and dangerous at worst.

Learning about roof air ventilation and implementing proper measures can help you keep your roof from damage and also allow you to make the most of your solar arrangement.

What Is Roof Ventilation?

Roof ventilation is an arrangement that ensures the temperature and humidity levels of your attic and interiors are at par with the prevailing weather conditions. In simpler words, it prevents your roof from unnatural heating, which can lead to structural damage to its internal parts.

Proper roof ventilation is an important element that ensures the longevity and good performance of your roof. In fact, it can prolong the average life of a roof.

So, how does roof ventilation work?

It works on the principle of convection: hot air rises, and then cooler air rushes in to take its place.

When hot air trapped in your attic can exit, and cool air from the outdoors can replace it through the eaves, your roof area is adequately ventilated. The flow of air in the attic or the upper structures of the roof is facilitated by strategically placed vents.

This ventilation system on your roof can work in three different ways:

  • Passive Vertical Ventilation—where the hot air from the attic escapes through ridge or hood exhaust vents, allowing cooler air to enter it via soffit vents or windows.
  • Active Vertical Ventilation—exhaust vents suck out the hot air from the attic. These exhaust vents can be powered by wind (turbine), solar, or electric energy.
  • Passive Horizontal Ventilation—also known as cross-ventilation, this happens when there’s a breeze blowing outside so that air can enter from one vent and exit from the other.
What Is Roof Ventilation

The best types of roof ventilation can vary depending on the structure of your roof, ambient temperature, direction, and the location of your house.

Passive vertical ventilation is the most adaptable and reliable of the three roof ventilation options. That’s because it works with almost all kinds of roofing systems, provided you have accommodated it during the initial construction of the house.

The importance of ventilation cannot be understated, and having a roof inspection checklist can be of great help to you.

Improper ventilation can land you in a soup: it’s bad for the structural integrity of the tiles and can even void the manufacturer’s warranty on your roof. Given that critical roof repairs can cost around $1500 to $7000 or more, it’s better to invest in robust systems for ventilation so that you don’t have to bear extra repair charges when you get a solar array.

How Bad Roof Ventilation Affects Your Home

Improper or the lack of roof air ventilation affects your quality of life. So, it’s not just the structural integrity of your roof that’s on the line; you can suffer from discomfort, exorbitant electricity bills, and a damaged solar array if your roof has lousy ventilation.

Poor roof ventilation can lead to:

Heat Buildup

Robust ventilation systems prevent the buildup of excessive heat in the attic or the upper areas of the house. So when it fails, the heat does not have an escape route, and it radiates to the rest of the house, making your interiors unbearably hot.

This is especially true of homes that are situated in areas with hot weather and do not have adequate insulation.

Improper ventilation and insulation can make your home feel like a sauna at all hours. This may make you reach for the thermostat, affecting the overall heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) setup of the house.

You could end up using your air conditioner for prolonged periods and significantly increasing your electricity consumption. Even if you have a solar arrangement to offset your energy use, excessive use of the air conditioner for days at a time will eat into the usable solar capacity of your setup.

How Bad Roof Ventilation Affects Your Home

Moisture Accumulation

Then, there’s the trapping of moisture that directly results from faulty flat roof ventilation.

If your ceiling is not properly sealed, this humid air can go into your walls and tiles to “sweat.” This is the kind of harmful moisture buildup that triggers the growth of mold and mildew. These fungal growths can affect your home's internal air quality.

Mold can get on your furniture, bedding, and even clothes. What’s worse is that you can have allergic reactions due to mold.

This means poor ventilation in your home can be the silent killer affecting all its inhabitants.

Solar Panel Degradation

Last but not least, ill-managed ventilation on your roof can also affect the performance of your solar array. A hot attic can increase the surface temperature of solar panels and reduce their efficiency.

Solar panels work at their best at temperatures around 77°F. And with every degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature, its output efficiency decreases by 0.3% to 0.5%. Without proper ventilation, even the best solar panels will not work at their maximum capacity because of high temperatures.

And if you happen to live in a hot climate region, the lack of proper roof ventilation compounds the problem. Too much heat from the roof can affect your PV module to the point where it could even become a fire risk.

You also must recognize the damage that degrading roof tiles can cause to your solar array. A flimsy roof can damage your solar panels and cause serious performance issues.

This is why you should not underestimate the importance of proper roof air ventilation in the performance of solar panels.

Solar Panel Degradation

Get Your Roofing Right with AMECO

For almost 50 years, AMECO, a solar and roofing company in California, has helped homeowners with the solar roof installation process, roofing materials, roofing cost calculator, and more.

From guiding owners regarding roof insulation thickness to providing all kinds of assistance to solar residential roofing installation in California, we have done it all.

Trust us when going solar, and experience the AMECO edge today.