A Homeowner's Guide To Roof Vent Leaks
Your roof is vented so that hot air and moisture don't collect in the attic, as this leads to condensation and mold problems. Sometimes issues with the ventilation system can lead to a leaking roof, though.
Most homes have vents under the eaves and in the ridge of the roof. These are sufficient to provide ventilation in many cases. There are baffles in these vents that keep moisture out while allowing for better air circulation.
In climates or homes where additional ventilation is needed, some roofs may also have motorized vents. These vents are generally powered by solar energy or wired into the electrical system. These vents will open and close in response to temperatures in the attic and moisture outside.
The basic vents may develop a leak if debris becomes lodged in the baffles or vent opening. Birds' nests and dead leaves are common culprits. Leaks can also develop around the flashing that seals the vent assembly to the roof.
Motorized vents can leak due to the reasons above, but they can also leak for other reasons. If the motor system suffers damage or failure, the vent may remain open during heavy rain. An electrical failure, such as a blocked solar panel, can also lead to an open vent in the wrong kind of weather.
Acting quickly can minimize water damage during a vent failure. If you notice water leaking into the home from directly below the vent, begin by putting a bucket directly under the leak in the attic.
If it is safe to go onto the roof, you may be able to close the vent, or at least temporarily cover it with a tarp, to prevent leaking until a permanent repair can be made. In the event it's not safe to go on the roof, an emergency call to a roofing repair service may be needed.
Fortunately, the vents are usually one of the easier roof repairs. Your roofer may only need to clear out obstructions in the vents or wash off the solar panel. In some cases, a motorized vent may need repairs or replacement of the opening mechanism or an electrical component.
More extensive repairs will be necessary if the seals or flashing failed. In this case, the roof decking and shingles surrounding the seal failure must be inspected for damage. Repairs will be made to any waterlogged roofing materials, and then the vent will be resealed and flashed so future leaks won't occur.
Contact a residential roofing service if you notice a leaking roof vent.