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Thread: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Niagara Falls, Ontario
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    Default turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    I am thinking of replace two roof vents (one on each section of a roof of a side split home) with turbine vents. Has anyone had any problems with turbine vents ie. snow/rain in the attic, noise etc.? Any opinions/advice with installing them. Your opinions are much appreciated.
    Craig

  2. #2
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    Milton, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    If you buy inexpensive ones the bearings will squeek and drive you and your neighbours nuts (either that or it's tiny frogs in my neighbours pond ) LOL
    I really don't think they are that effective, the spinning turbine is "powered" by the natural convection through a well ventilated roof, It doesn't suck the hot air out like one may think. A powered roof vent will probably lower attic temperatures by about 40 degrees and will be more beneficial on the overall cooling of your house.
    Last edited by Pete in Milton; 05-25-2010 at 08:11 AM.

  3. #3
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    North Bay, On
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    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    The turbine vents can be hit or miss. I have heard of some people having no problems with noise on them and have heard of some people having to go up and oil them to stop the squeak. If your roof isn't very high and you don't mind going up there to do some maintenance occasionally you should be fine with them. There is also a 'maximum' vent on the market which doesn't have any moving parts and it sit high just like the turbine ones so it won't be buried in the snow. They are a little more expensive though. You can google Maximum vent to see what they look like.

    HTH

    Al

  4. #4
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    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    I've been told that it's the horizontal exterior wind that powers them.

    What was said above about buying the quality one's with good bearings doubles for me.

    For the record: I will be re-roofing my house this summer. They won't be going back on with the new roof. I don't think I could give you any more of a reason than esthetics though.
    If at first you don't succeed do it the way you were told.

  5. #5
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    Burlington, Ontario
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    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    Depending on how many vents you have per attic section. One other option is a solar powered attic vent. Has a small fan and a solar panel on the exterior of the vent. Fan kicks in when its sunny. The good ones include a thermometer to kick in when the temp is above X.

    When fan isn't running its just a normal passive vent. Only downside is that you can only have a single roof vent for the attic space since otherwise it will turn the other roof vents into inlets not exhausts which will mess with air flow.

    Only helps if you get sun on that side of the roof though.

    Scott

  6. #6
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    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    I put one up about 11 years ago. It was not an expensive one. It is still there. I needed it because of condensation on the underside of the roof.

    The only times there have been noticeable squeaks were:

    1. when it got knocked off level by a big hailstorm, and

    2. occasionally in winter when it presumably got an accumulation of ice on the moving part making it off balance.

    The axis is supposed to be installed vertically but I can show at least one near my place that is not anywhere near vertical and it seems to work.

    They are definitely powered by the wind. I have heard one complaint that they leak, but I have no evidence of that.

    A powered one might be better to cool the house on a hot, calm summer day.
    It ain't the things you don't know that get you in trouble. It's the things you know for sure that just ain't so.

  7. #7
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    Toronto
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    Default

    I've have them for a couple of years. No problem. Before I had some in a square shape, round edges, about 4" high from the roof. Probably installed when house was built - 50 years ago. Reason I put turbine vents is this: during the winter, when we need venting the attic space usually there is a snow on the roof. Old one which are not tall enough where covered with snow, and as that there is no ventilation. Friend of mine in Ottawa area have other type of vent, tall one, and looks like a chimney, but no rotating parts. He is very happy. I wanted to install same type, but unfortunately, they don't sell they products in Toronto. :(

    My 2 cents...

    Milosh
    Last edited by digger; 05-25-2010 at 10:58 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    I added a whirlybird vent on my shop 5 years ago and have zero problem with it.
    Mount it up high towards the ridge where it can do the most good.
    Please remember that free advise from the Internet is worth what you paid for it ...

  9. #9

    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    Quote Originally Posted by CS in the Falls View Post
    Any opinions/advice with installing them. Your opinions are much appreciated.
    Craig
    I'm in the "Not!" camp.

    Years ago I remember reading studies that demonstrated the worthlessness of roof-top turbines. When the wind doesn't blow, they're no different than a passive vent. When the wind does blow... well then the wind is blowing enough to go through your soffit vents and out through the roof-top vents anyway to cool off the attic, so you really don't need one.

    (Is anyone still in contact with "Ken in Regina" ?? I remember that he posted extensive measurements on thtis topc that he had made using attic-mounted thermometers and so on. I couldn't find them here, I suspect it was the last version of this forum where he did so.)
    It's not about you.

  10. #10
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    Jim

    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    The two roofers we use both only use them under protest, they don't think they actually do any good. Sure they spin in the wind, but they don't really provide good suction out, especially if there is no eave venting to draw from.

    One of the best things to do is to ensure adequate eave ventilation combined with an appropriate amount of passive roof venting, and with many older homes with really low heel heights on the roof framing, this is hard to achieve without lots of work. If you have gable ends, and vent their is a big help too.
    JIM
    Calgary, AB

  11. #11

    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    When I built my shop I went with a full length Ridge vent, of course I also have adequate soffit venting. The attic space of the shop is used to store my lumber, I have perhaps 3500 bf ft up there at the moment, so I am often up there sorting through my lumber for different projects. Even in the heat of the summer the attic space is tolerateable, unlike the attic of my home where only 4 small rectangular roof vents are installed. If I spend more than 5 minutes in the attic of my home I am completely soaked in sweat. where as the shop attic I could spend hrs up there. the heat is not in the least bit unreasonable. So Needless to say I am Sold on the ridge vents and intend to install this on my home as well.

    John

  12. #12
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    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    I have ridge vents in/on my roof. They do work well except for the underachiever eave vents my builder didn't provide. The insulation is blown in and smothers the eaves (built before someone invented those carboard or foam insulation dams that allow air to pass by) When I cut my soffet vents the sudden sucking of air reported that more are needed. The heat melts my eyebrows when I visit my stored junk.
    Bill "Hickory" Simpson

  13. #13
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    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    On the question of whether they do any good.

    The first winter after my house was built, we had a drip in the upstairs bathroom. Some of the ceiling was removed to find frost on the underside of the roof. This was likely due to a less a than perfect seal around the chimney chase.

    (After all, how do you get a plastic seal to chimney AND stay 2" away from it.)

    I put in the whirlybird the next summer and have had no problems since.

    The house has a metal roof with soffit vents and a vented ridge cap all along the roof.
    It ain't the things you don't know that get you in trouble. It's the things you know for sure that just ain't so.

  14. #14
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    New West, BC
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    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    As John In Abbotsford indicates, if you want to go passive, then use continuous ridge vents.


    At worse case is, it involves replacing only the ridge caps on your roof BUT ... this is only going to work if you have lots of soffit ventilation (unhindered by insulation in the attic area). If you don't, a ridge vent or turbine isn't going to make very much difference.

    I build my 20x16 shed with really good insulation, soffit and ridge venting. Even with two windows, it still won't get over about 22C inside in the heat of the summer (>35C outside ... unless I open the door/window)

    If I had inadequate soffit ventilation then I would add two gables vents; one passive at one end (mounted low; watch for weather issues) and a powered one at the other end (mounted high)

  15. #15

    Default Re: turbine vents --- to install or not to install?

    Come on, if you've got to drive something to spin on your way out of the attic it can only slow you down. Just provide enough passive vents on on the ridge and along the soffit and don't fall for gimmicks.
    And for goodness' sakes if you make sure there's a good air seal between the attic and the living area you won't have to worry about frost in the attic anyways.

    Honestly, whirlyvents, you've got to be kidding me.

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