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Winter and Gable Vents?

Gable vents should not be closed during the winter to avoid the attic becoming too warm and conducive to the growth of mold and mildew. Round-the-year roof ventilation, to which gable vents contribute significantly, is the key to keeping the roof and attic in good condition for a long time, requiring little maintenance.

During the winter, the gable vents help the moisture inside the attic to escape. If you cover the gable vents during the winter, the attic may become either too moist or too warm, depending on whether heat is leaking into it from your home. In either case, the construction and materials used in the attic would get damaged if the gable vents along with other roof vents are not kept open during the winter.

The growth of mold and mildew that can harm the interiors of the roof is possible during the dry and snowy months of winter. Keeping the gable vents open and clearing the snow when they accumulate around the vents is important to keep the underneath of the roof dry.

So, should gable vents be closed in winter? Our answer to this question is that gable vents as well as other roof vents should be kept open throughout the winter. This will ensure that the temperature inside the attic is the same as the outside temperature and that would prevent forming a cozy environment inside the upper part of the roof for any biological growth to begin.

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Roof vent maintenance for winter

Ahead of the winter, home maintenance is an important task to ensure your dwelling is both warm and cozy during the cold and snowy weather and also fit to fight the harms that it can cause to your home.

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This is achieved through bearings, which are essentially concentric rings separated by lubricated steel balls. The inner ring is locked to one part of the vent, the outer ring to the other. The two rings can rotate independently of each other thanks to the ball bearings, which roll around the two rings creating a smooth rotation.

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A common concern among homeowners is about heat and energy conservation, especially during the winter months. An inadequately-insulated home would leak heat and bring down the temperature inside your living space. In this case, maintaining the required temperature would consume more energy and that would reflect in your power bill. In this light, homeowners’ concerns about heat and energy conservation are justified. But thinking that an open gable vent can allow heat to escape and cause energy bills to escalate is wrong.

However, taking the help of a roof maintenance service and ensuring that all the roof vents are open and working properly ahead of the winter is recommended.

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gable eave vents

It’s OK for the attic to be cold during winter

Some people might think that an open vent during the winter can let cold airflow into their homes. But this too is a misplaced concern. A properly maintained roof would mean that your living space is completely sealed off from the upper part of your roof, or the attic. An open gable vent would ensure the temperature inside the attic and outside is the same. But the cold air in the attic would not flow into your living space inside the home because the attic and your living space are supposed to be sealed off from each other.

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So, it is quite normal for the attic to have a lower temperature than that in your living space in the winter. If the heat is finding its way into the attic, you need to upgrade the attic insulation, and not close the roof vents or the gable vents.

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If you keep the roof and gable vents closed during the winter, it will lead to the creation of ice dams. In this case, water builds up underneath the roof, especially shingles, and causes damage to different roofing components including gutters.

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As the temperature inside the attic grows due to closed gable vents during winter, the snow on the roof melts more easily and starts flowing along with the shingles and the gutters. As it travels over uneven temperatures and snow-blocked surfaces along the roof, the water refreezes, this time at spots that can get damaged due to the presence of ice or water for a longer duration.

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Clearing gable vents in winter

During the winter months, snowstorms are quite common. This brings and deposits a lot of snow all over your roof and the vents, including the gable vents. Sometimes, the vents get blocked while at the other, the snow sits heavily on the roof and vents. This prevents the free circulation of air through the attic or can cause damage to the structure of the roof. So, the gable vents and other roof vents must be cleared of snow, especially when the precipitation is heavy.

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Don’t attempt to clear the snow yourself

But heavy deposits of snow on the roof or the vents should not prompt you to undertake the task of clearing it yourself. Climbing a roof without adequate training and proper gears is dangerous in itself and doing so while the snow or ice is stuck to the surface is all the more dangerous.

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The best way to clear the snow deposits on your roof and vents is to ask a roof maintenance contractor to undertake the task. A bona fide contractor would have the required license, training, equipment, and insurance coverage. He will also have the experience to do the job professionally without causing any damage to the vents.

Take care of gable vents

If you follow some basic maintenance principles for your gable and other roof vents, the cold and snowy winds of winter will not be able to cause any damage to your beautiful roof.

Here are some easy tips:

  • Remove any debris that might have accumulated under the eave, in the attic fan
  • Remove unwanted stuff like twigs, leaves, and other such materials from exhaust vents
  • Make sure you have cleared all the blocks in the gable vents and air can circulate freely through the attic

Final thoughts

So, should gable vents be closed in winter? Gable vents as well as other roof vents perform a very useful task of allowing a free flow of air in and out of the attic. This is necessary to keep the space inside the attic free from germs, mould, and mildews that can harm the materials, weaken the structure, and spoil the look of the roof.

There is no need for covering the gable vents or any other roof vents during the winter, thinking that it might help conserve energy. That’s a wrong notion. Rather, the homeowners should try to keep the vents free from any blockage so the air can circulate without any difficulty.