Home Garden

How to Check Roof Vents

Roof ventilation is designed to release the hot air that rises and accumulates in your attic and near the top of raised ceilings. Proper ventilation is needed in both summer and winter. Summer requires releasing hot air to cool your home, and in winter hot air accumulates which, combined with moisture from cool winter air, can lead to mold and mildew. Checking vents annually is part of proper home maintenance.

Things You'll Need

  • Flashlight
  • Water hose
  • Damp cloth
  • Bleach
  • Screwdriver
  • Ladder
  • Broom
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    • 1

      Locate all vents in the house. Use a flashlight to illuminate areas where there is no other light source.

    • 2

      Take any removable screens off. Thoroughly rinse them with a water hose to remove any dirt, spider webs, leaves or anything else that might be restricting air flow. Any screen that is too difficult to remove can be cleaned with a damp cloth.

    • 3

      Look for damage on the screens. Tears, holes and fraying allow bugs, birds and rodents to access your home and nest around the screen, ultimately restricting the air flow around vents.

    • 4

      Examine the frame around each vent. Look for rot, termites, rust on metal flashing and other signs of wear. Insulation must not cover the vent, and should be tucked or tacked before the frame of the vent begins. Untacked insulation might loosen and clog the vent.

    • 5

      Look at the vents from the exterior. Use a ladder to climb onto the roof and inspect all louvers to make sure they are securely in place. Look at ridge vents to make sure there is no rust or corrosion or any screws missing that attach vents.

    • 6

      Unscrew turbine vents and other post- or canister-shaped vents. Clean the inside of the vent with a damp cloth. You can use a mild bleach solution to make sure no mold or mildew has accumulated in the vent. Secure the unit back in place.

    • 7

      Sweep or wash out ridge vent drains. Leaves and debris can block the drains, creating buildup around the vents and restricting air flow. Look at the drains to make sure there are no cracks, holes or structural issues with the drain.