Why Ridge Vents Don't Work (We Have The Answer)

Kirstin Harrington
by Kirstin Harrington

There are a ton of different attic and roof vents to choose from. When you’re looking to improve your home, it’s critical to use high-quality products that get the job done.

Ridge vents don’t work well because they don’t pull air through the house consistently and it affects the airflow. Pests and critters can easily enter your home through a ridge vent and ridge vents can also cause leaks. You should never install a ridge vent if you live in a warm climate as they are not ideal.

Today we’re going to dive into the exact reasons why ridge vents aren’t the best option. I added a handy dandy comparison chart that includes other vent options, along with their pros and cons.

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What Are Ridge Vents?

According to Wikipedia,

“A ridge vent is a type of vent installed at the peak of a sloped roof which allows warm, humid air to escape a building’s attic. Ridge vents are most common on shingled residential buildings.”

Chances are if you own an older home, there isn’t any roof ventilation at all. This is because these homes aren’t as air-tight as newly-built homes. The air movement in the house is excellent, despite not having any vents.

Why Do Homeowners Install Ridge Vents?

Homeowners who add on ridge vents do so for a number of reasons. It’s a great way to upgrade to a more energy-efficient home.

Some houses actually require a vent on the roof to prevent things like condensation on the windows during winter months. Like any improvement you make on your home, it’s important to compare and weigh the pros and cons.

Why Ridge Vents Don’t Work

Let’s take a look at the top five reasons ridge vents aren’t worth the hassle. From everything from preventing mice to stopping leaks, we’ve got you covered.

After that, we’ll go over the alternatives, so you know exactly what works best for your needs.

Ridge Vents Don’t Allow For Consistent Ventilation.

When you’re going to the trouble of installing a vent, you want the airflow to be consistent. How well ridge vents work depends highly on the energy-efficiency of the home.

You have to have air movement towards the vent for it to work correctly. If not, you’re going to run into more problems down the line.

If the rest of your house doesn’t have circulation, a ridge vent isn’t going to be your best option. Something to consider is whether or not you have baffles installed in your home.

If you don’t, a ridge vent will provide you with no ventilation. Another part of the ventilation issue is that you have to have air crossing over the vent for it to work.

This is why you’ll find ridge vents on roofs, which brings me to the next issue.

Ridge Vents Can Cause Leaks

Living somewhere with seasons and various weather patterns is great. You may experience beautiful summers, rainy springs, and snowy winters. If you have a ridge vent, this is something to be concerned about.

Some storms create straight-line winds that will cause rain to blow horizontally. When this happens, water will pour directly into ridge vents, going straight into your attic.

Having your attic checked for water damage after every storm is not only inconvenient, but it can add up. If you don’t have it inspected, it could lead to mold, ceiling damage, and more.

Not Made for Warmer Climates

If you live somewhere like Texas, California, or Arizona, a ridge vent shouldn’t even be on your radar. They’re designed for homes in colder climates, not warm ones.

Other options are available if you’re looking for a vent to help keep your house cool during the warmer months. These options tend to be cheaper and a lot easier to install, as well.

Installation Isn’t Easy

The penultimate con to ridge vents is that they’re a pain to install. First of all, if you have a flat roof, these vents won’t work for you.

Second, they have to be installed at the peak of your roof, which can be a safety hazard for some. Your roof’s shape plays a major impact on whether or not ridge vents are worth the trouble.

They have to be installed at the highest point of your roof, making them beneficial for folks with steep roofs.

Initial Cost of Roof Ridge Vents is Higher

Something else to keep in mind when it comes to ridge vents is the price. While some homes benefit from having them, they tend to cost more upfront than the alternatives below.

It’s essential to have a budget whenever doing a home improvement project. Roof ridge vent installation can cost around $500 on average. If you’re replacing the vents, expect that price to double.

Ridge vents are like your home’s exhaust system. Depending on the age of your house, having a vent may be crucial. Consider comparing the alternatives and find which one will benefit you the most.

Different Roof and Attic Vent Options

Below are four alternative options for roof and attic vents. I’ve included a handful of pros and cons for each one to give you a better idea of what will work for you. Hopefully, this is a helpful tool that you can use to find what you need.

Vent TypeProsCons
Wind TurbinesEnergy efficientSaves Money Easy to Install Causes you to rely on weatherCan be made low-quality
Hardwired Roof VentsDifferent installation optionsAsphalt roof protectionStops mold growthPowerful motorCarbon monoxide riskCan increase energy costRoof leak risk
Solar Powered Roof VentsCost less over time Makes your attic coolerBetter for the environmentWorks without power Relying on the weatherBigger cost upfrontLess powerful than motorized fan
Box VentsDoesn’t take up a lot of roomBlends in wellNo moving partsNo consistent ventilation Not as powerful as motorized vents
Ridge Vents Air flows naturallyBlends in with the roof Easily reduces air pollutants Hard to installDoesn’t work with warmer climatesCan be more expensive Not guaranteed ventilation Can cause leaks from rain

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Related Questions

Do ridge vents get clogged?

Yes, ridge vents can become clogged. There are a number of different things that can be the cause behind a plugged ridge vent.

It can be something as simple as too much dust, mold, or even mildew. Things like a wasp nest can also block parts of a ridge vent.

This is why it’s important to perform routine maintenance on whatever vents you do have.

Should you see light through a ridge vent?

If you have ridge vents or are planning to install them, you may be wondering if seeing light through them is normal. Indeed it is! If ridge vents are installed correctly, you should see light about a foot from the ridge’s end.

How much does it cost to replace a ridge vent?

We all know that money is a major player when it comes to home improvements. Installing a roof vent costs between $300 and $700 on average. This includes labor and all materials needed.

Rates for replacement can vary based on things like roof type, size, etc. Ridge vents tend to run about $2 to $3 per linear foot. So, if you have a 40-foot-long roof, you could expect to pay between $80-$120, plus labor.

Kirstin Harrington
Kirstin Harrington

Kirstin is a passionate writer who loves helping people learn new things when it comes to home improvement. When she's not behind a keyboard, she enjoys DIY projects, crafts, spending time with her pets, and making videos. She hopes that with all she writes, someone is finding a solution to their home improvement needs.

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