How to Install Turbine Roof Vents

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How to Install Turbine Roof Vents

Turbine roof vents, sometimes called whirlybird vents, offer a way for home and business owners to remove hot air from attics and other such spaces. Hot air rises and usually becomes trapped by the roof overhead, but with turbine roof vents, this hot air can be released easily and cost effectively, in most instances. Shoppers should also know which type of turbine vent they need before buying one. This primarily depends on the budget and whether they want to install a standard or solar turbine vent.

The following sections instruct installers on the different types of turbine vents available and how to install turbine roof vents. As with all installation projects, installers should keep safety foremost in mind, wear and use the appropriate safety gear, and if unsure about an aspect of the project, look online or consult a roofing specialist for more information.

Types of Turbine Roof Vents

Before installing a turbine vent, shoppers first need to know which type they need. This decision primarily depends on budget constraints, as well as if they need a standard turbine roof vent or a turbine vent with sealed bearings. The table below lists the two different types of turbine vents available.

Roof Vent Types


Turbine Vent

Requires no outside power source; driven by the wind or, in the case of no wind, by the hot air escaping through the vent; needs to be lubricated occasionally

Bearing Turbine Vent

Turbine vents with sealed bearings do not need lubricating; cuts down on any maintenance required, saving time and money; reduces noise produced, since mechanisms are always lubricated

The proper ventilation of any building is important. Turbine vents can help save on an energy bill and also help a roof last longer, as the removal of hot air helps keep the roof from expanding and contracting too much, which can shorten its functional life span.

While turbine roof vents provide a very easy way to cool the interior of an attic or loft, they must be installed correctly or they will not work properly. Installing turbine vents requires a tape measure, marker or pen of some sort, drill with drill bits, sheet metal screws, hammer, utility knife, reciprocating saw, tar paper, silicone, and the turbine roof vent kit. Also consider wearing protective gear, such as safety glasses and gloves. The following sections contain instructions on determining where to place turbine vents, how to prepare the roof for installation, and how to install turbine roof vents.

Determining the Number of Turbine Roof Vents Needed and Their Placement

To determine how much ventilation an attic needs, turbine vent installers should first calculate the floor space of the attic. They can do this by multiplying the length times the width and dividing the result by 300. The resulting number equals the total feet of ventilation required. Divide this number by two to get the number of feet for the amount of intake and exhaust ventilation required.

Federal housing law states a minimum number of ridge vents, or flat vents, that are needed for venting hot air in any building. Make sure to take these laws into account when determining the amount of ventilation needed. Most personal homes also have soffit intake vents, and these, too, must be added to the overall total ventilation. Anything left over is the amount of ventilation needed that can be filled by the turbine vents.

For example, if after all of the ridge exhaust vents and soffit intake vents have been added to the total, and owners have 600 feet of exhaust ventilation that is still required, they can divide the total of 600 feet by 300, giving them a total of 2 feet of ventilation still required. This means that two 14-inch turbine vents would adequately vent hot air from the attic or loft space.

Preparing the Roof for Installation of the Turbine Roof Vents

After determining the number of turbine vents needed and buying and receiving the turbine vents, installers can then prepare the roof for installation. The first step is to determine where to place the turbine vents on the roof. Most owners prefer a part of the structure not visible from the front of the building.

Next, climb into the attic or loft to gain access to the underside of the roof. This allows installers to avoid cutting into any rafters, which can affect the overall stability of the roof. Place the neckline of the turbine against the inside of the roof, and use the marker pen to trace around the edges of the vent. Measure to find the center of the circle. Next, drill a hole up through the decking, felt, and tiles. Do this for all of the turbine vents.

The next step requires installers to climb onto the roof to cut the vent holes. Before climbing up onto the roof, make sure to have all of the items required for installation, as well as any safety equipment. Once on the roof, place the vent on the surface, centering it around the hole drilled up from underneath and cut around it with a utility knife.

Next, remove the shingles and felt in the area around where the turbine vents will be installed. Installers can do this by removing the roofing nails. Once removed, cut the shingles individually to fit around the turbine vent. Also at this time, installers should use the reciprocating saw to cut into the decking of the roof. They should also loosen the felt at the four corners of the vent base so that it can be mounted directly to the decking material.

Installing the Turbine Roof Vents

Once the hole has been cut all the way through, workers can now install the turbine vent. Slip the vent through the newly cut hole in the roof and continue assembling according to the provided instructions manual that comes with the turbine vent kit. Put the turbine onto the vent base and level it. Screw the assembled turbine vent to the decking using sheet metal screws.

Once satisfied that the vent is installed correctly, apply more tar paper around the edges, sealing any potential openings around the base of the vent. Put the loosened felt back into place and replace any shingles removed, sealing them with silicone as necessary.

How to Lubricate Turbine Roof Vents

For those with older turbine roof vents that do not have sealed bearings, the vent's inner parts will occasionally need lubrication to prevent squeaking and keep the turbine in proper working order. To do this, owners need a 6-foot stepladder and extension ladder that reaches the roof of the structure, as well as a silicone-based lubricant. The steps necessary to lubricate a turbine vent are described below.

Inside Lubrication

Gain access to the attic from the inside using a stepladder positioned underneath the attic access panel. Once in the attic, find the noisy turbine; be careful to only step on the ceiling joists when walking in the attic area. Once the turbine in question is found, apply a silicone-based lubricant to the moving parts of the turbine, including the bearings. The bearings are found in the track where the pipe coming out of the roof meets the moving parts of the turbine vent.

Outside Lubrication

On the outside of the building, place the extension ladder against the side of the structure. Have a friend hold the ladder steady against the building to steady the ladder. Carefully climb onto the roof, walking or crawling to the turbine that is making the noise. Apply the silicone-based lubricant to the pivot point, as well as any other part of the turbine that seem to contribute to the noise.

Buy Turbine Roof Vents on eBay

If you have decided to purchase your turbine roof vent online, visit the eBay marketplace to choose from many product options. To do a search of the marketplace, enter relevant keywords in the Search box on any eBay page, like "galvanized turbine vent" or "bearing turbine vent," for example. To narrow the list the list down, click on the Categories options so that the results are limited to certain departments, such as building m aterials or ducts and v ents. Also visit eBay's Search Tips page to read about other ways to search for turbine roof vents. There are even eBay Stores that provide roof vent product options.

Buy Turbine Roof Vents Online With Confidence

For a quick, easy, and secure shopping experience, visit eBay. Once you have found some applicable product listings, make sure to read all of the product specifications, including product cost, item quality, sizes, and colors. And before bidding or making a Best Offer, ask the seller any other remaining questions by clicking the Ask a Question link on the seller's listing page. Do not forget to check the seller's feedback rating to make sure their past sales performance, as rated by other shoppers, is adequate.


The proper ventilation of an attic or loft helps improve the endurance of a roof and the home itself. If heat and humidity build up in an attic space, the roof supports can become twisted, potentially causing roof failure. Likewise, the expansion and contraction that heat can cause in a roof lessens the length of time between having the roof replaced, and it can lead to leaks and the buildup of even more moisture in the attic space.

When doing any project around the home, keep safety top of mind. This is especially true when working at heights, such as on a rooftop. Try to have a helper present to hold the ladder, and call for help in case of an accident. To increase safety, take extreme care when moving up and down the ladder and once working in the attic or on the rooftop. If unsure about which products to buy or how to proceed with the installation process, shoppers should look for answers online or by asking a roofing professional for more information.

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