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Question DetailsAsked on 6/21/2013

When using ridge vents, should the gable vents be sealed up?

I installed ridge vents last year. This decreased the upstairs temp significantly but I am wondering if the two gable vents were sealed would the vents function better.

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3 Answers


AS a former energy weatherrizer, I always tried to seal the gable vents from the inside if the home had adequate soffit vents to feed air to the ridge vent. Besides heat most attics also have a moisture problem in the insulation. It lowers the R value of insulation if moisture builds up in it. The air pattern with a gable vent does little to reduce this and might even make it worse. You should take a plastic rake and pull back the insulation from the soffit vents and put a shute (available at big box stores lowe's etc) to keep the ait flowing up to your ridge vent. Many times older homes do not have adequate soffit venting. Your utiility company can confirm this and give you the formula. You also might consider a radiant barrier, I installed one 2 years ago and reduced my summer electric costs by half. See my blog for more.

Jim Casper Former Energy Conservation Gur

ps LCD is full of wet beans on this subject


Answered 6 years ago by jccasper


Typically yes but it depends on the of your roof, how it is framed, how far away the gable vents are from the ridge vents if they weren't run continuous, and where you are in the country. I often go with "the more ventilation the better" in a South Texas attic. However, that isn't the case in northern areas with freezing winters.

Ridge vents work by allowing the air that heats in your attic to escape as it rises, pulling fresh air in from the soffit vents. As long as you have adequate soffit vents and they are unobstructed the ridge vents will out perform any other non-motorized vent system. Gable vents can actually get in the way of this heat rising effect allowing cross breeze or cooler air to enter the attic and circulating the hot air back down. I'd suggest having a home energy audit performed by your power company (often free) and ask their opinion for your area and home specifics. If the gable vents are small and don't let much air in I wouldn't bother with changing anything. If they are large and inhibit the job of the ridge vent then seal them from inside so you don't have to do siding work outside.

An easy test if it will make a difference in your home is to close up the gable vents with cardboard or pastic for a few days. Take before and after temperature readings in the middle of your attic to see if it is better or worse. If better, keep the vents sealed, if worse (hotter) open them back up.

Todd Shell

Todd's Home Services

San Antonio, TX

Answered 6 years ago by Todd's Home Services


The "shute" Jim Casper refers to is commonly called an eave baffle or air chute - it is a plastic or coated cardboard piece about 26-30 inches wide and about 3-4 feet long that is stapled to the faces of adjacent rafters all across the width of the eaves, with the flat part extending from rafter to rafter at the lower edge of the rafters, from the point where the joists meet the house wall inward into the attic. They are intended to keep the insulation from blocking the low area where the sheathing and rafters cross over the wall, so you maintain the air gap between the rafters. Here is a link to how they work and look -

Oh - and Jim - thanks for the vote of confidence. So nice to know my Masters in thermodynamics and heat mangement and 30+ years in heat and cold management was a total waste.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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