Should you cover roof vents in the winter? Pros, cons & considerations

HVAC Logo IconBy Tom MoorSeptember 19, 2023

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During the winter months, home maintenance needs differ from when it’s warm outside. Roof ventilation is a concern to many homeowners, especially those concerned with energy and heat conservation. Should covering your roof vents be on your winter home maintenance to-do list? Read on to find out.

Should I cover my roof vents in the winter?

Roof ventilation is important year-round. During the winter, your home’s roof vents allow moisture to leave the attic space, preventing the growth of mold and mildew that can occur even during this typically dry period. You should absolutely leave your roof vents open during the winter – do not cover them!

During the winter, roof ventilation works to keep temperatures even. Closing your vents makes the attic space too warm and dry – dangerous conditions for mold as well as pests. Keeping your roof vents open keeps the roof at an even temperature to prevent damaging ice dams, where water backs up underneath your shingles, freezing and causing damage to your roofing components and structure as well as your gutters.

When the attic becomes too warm due to closed vents, snow and ice on the roof readily melts. This causes free-flowing water to run between shingles and down to the gutters. Hitting uneven roof temperatures caused by blocked vents leads to the refreezing that is troubling.

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It’s ok for your attic to be cold in the winter because the roof vents are open. An attic with good air sealing will not cause your home to become colder or expend additional energy for heating. If heating energy is making its way into your attic, the way to solve this problem is by upping attic insulation rather than closing roof vents.

Clearing roof vents in winter

Heavy winter storms lead to snow and ice accumulation which may affect your roof ventilation’s ability to allow free-flowing air to move through the attic. Ice buildup also weighs on the roof structure, which is dangerous when it becomes heavy. It may be necessary to clear your roof vents after heavy winter precipitation.

To do so safely, it is best to enlist the help of a snow removal contractor. You should not attempt to climb upon an unsafe roof covered with snow and ice. A licensed, insured contractor will use the proper tools to alleviate snow and ice accumulation while protecting roof vents from damage.

Caring for roof ventilation

Make sure your roof vents perform properly during the winter by performing some easy maintenance in the fall.

  • Clean under-eave to remove debris
  • Clean attic fan to remove debris
  • Clear sticks, leaves, and other materials away from exhaust vents on the roof

These steps will allow air to come and go from your attic, maintaining proper roof ventilation throughout the winter. Mold in an attic becomes a dangerous and costly problem – prevent moisture accumulations with simple maintenance for your roof vents.

Find roof ventilation help on

HVAC contractors have the roof ventilation solutions your home needs to maintain proper attic temperatures and airflow throughout the winter. Get the help you need by finding a licensed, local HVAC company.

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