Gable vents are a type of passive vent found, as the name suggests, in the gable ends of a house. Gables are the tallest points of a wall that go into the crook of the point of a roof. As these are the highest pieces of an attic, the warm air is easily able to move outward. Gable vents can be decorative and/or functional depending on their location and other ventilation forms installed.
Gable vents are passive, which means they rely on the weather to move air in and out. As these vents are commonly found on opposing sides, creating an open system for breezes to move completely through an attic. Similarly, for gable vents to be most effective, they are commonly paired with soffits. These are the mesh areas found on the bottom of a roof where the lowest pieces overhang a wall. With soffits, gable vents will not only allow air in, but also act as an external vent to flush warm air with cold brought in from the soffits below. When warm air rises it naturally pulls in air beneath it. Therefore, it is most effective to pair gable vents with another ventilation option down-line within the system.
Why are Gable Vents Important?
All forms of attic ventilation are important to a healthy roofing system. Some systems are more efficient than others, but they all accomplish the same task., preventing the growth of mold. Preventing mold growth aids in keeping both residents, and the roofing system healthy and happy.
Under a roof, excessive warm air indicates trapped moisture in an attic. When this air remains stagnant for long periods of time, it creates a breeding ground for mold growth. Ensuring proper airflow within an attic or beneath a roof will defend against this growth. Gable vents are a popular ventilation option for most homes as they add both décor and function. Most forms are ventilation are used in conjunction with other system. Often these are soffit vents which, as previously stated, are found on the underside of a roof overhang. This is the lowest point of a roof that can aid in ventilation. Soffits allow air to enter the system, where it will then exit from a gable vent, or other system higher up in the attic.
Ridge Vents Vs. Gable Vents
Ridge vents are another ventilation option found toward the top of a roofing system. Unlike gable vents, ridges are found on the roofing system itself, at the point where different slopes meet. Ridge vents are much larger than gables in terms of air volume. Because of this, they are more efficient and effective. When warm air rises it has a much larger system to escape through. Also, ridge vents can be both passive and active depending on their baffling. This also increases their efficiency and effectiveness by forcefully moving air out of the system. While gable vents are not the worst ventilation option for a roofing system, they are far from the best, most effective option.