Monday, 18 June 2012

Do Whirlybirds Realy Work?

We get asked this question a lot by consumers looking for a suitable ventilation solution for their home. So we thought put our thoughts down in a blog to help answer some of the most often ask questions when it comes to whirlybird roof ventilation.

Q. Do whirlybirds really work as a form of Roof Ventilation in the Newcastle area?
A. Yes, they have stood the test of time for many years throughout Australia.
Q. How much will a whirlybird cool my house?
A. Newcastle borders on the edge of an oceanic/humid subtropical climate like most of central and northern New South Wales, so summers tend to be warm and winters are usually mild. Rainfall is heaviest in late autumn and early winter, so these are the danger times for mildew build up in roof spaces. So it’s not just cooling that whirlybirds can help with. However, in summer, roof temperatures can soar in Newcastle to over 70 degrees Centigrade, and, boy, that’s hot! Properly installed whirlybirds can bring this down by as much as 20 to 30 degrees, which can really help the load on your air conditioning.
Q: Do whirlybirds only work on windy days?
A: This is a very common misconception, but think about it some more and you will realize that, even in Newcastle, hot air rises! So in completely still conditions the hot air only builds up in a roof space when there is nowhere higher for it to rise to. Edmonds’ whirlybirds are designed with streamlined ventilation gaps in them so you often see the whole thing moving around slowly, simply because the rising air forces it to turn all by itself.
Q. What 'features' should I look for when choosing a whirlybird and why?
A: If you live near the sea, and many people in Newcastle are not that far from it, then coastal stainless steel bearings can be an important factor so that the salt air doesn’t cause corrosion and stop the whirlybirds moving in the long term. We use Edmonds because they have a terrific 15 year warranty and are Australian manufactured.
Q. Is there anything I can do to help improve the performance of my whirlybird?
A: If you have sarking under your tiles, which can be either in the form of boards or roofing felt in Newcastle, and your house has eaves then eave vents can also be installed, usually a pair for each whirlybird. Alternatively, if you have a gable at each end of your house then you can add gable vents. Having vents through to your roof space allows the cool air to be drawn in to circulate the air throughout the roof space.
Q. Do I have to clean the whirlybirds?
A: Usually the occasional rainfall we get in Newcastle helps to keep them clean. Whirlybirds are low maintenance systems so you can just relax and forget about them while they go about doing their job, silently and effortlessly.
Q. How many whirlybirds does an average house need to effectively ventilate the roof space area?
A. Edmonds recommend the rule of thumb that one whirlybird be installed for every 90 square metres of roof space. However, we always suggest we do a thorough investigation of your roof because it really does depend on the design of your roof and the type of venting that would best suit its specific needs.
Q. Is there any type of house/roof they are not suitable for?
A. Whirlybirds have been installed in every type of house or roof that we’ve encountered in Newcastle. Special features might be required for some types of houses. For example, a flatter roof may require overflashing. Also, if your flat roof has skillion or raked ceilings then you could require a vent to be placed through from the ceiling to allow the heat of the house to rise up into the air above.
Q. Can you put in some new roof windows or Solatube's at the same time?
A. As a Solatube Premier Dealer we can provide you with a new Solatube Daylighting System to bring natural light down into your home. Alternatively, if you want to make use of your roof space and be able to look out from a new bedroom onto your garden then we can install regular Roof Window Skylights.


  1. Nice article about suitable ventilation solution for homes. I learn something new on blogs everyday and yours is stimulating and provides new ideas. Thanks and keep up the good work!
    Toronto House Renovations

  2. I think the flashiness of a tin roof does a great job at hiding faults.
    Florida Roofing Contractors

  3. Living in Victoria, I am seeing an increase in the number of whirlybirds being installed. They certainly look better now with the powder coating than the old galvanised ones of yesteryear.
    Roof Ventilation Melbourne

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. For what it is worth here is an excellent diagram that highlights how roof vents work - Roof Vents Guide.
    What is great about this guide is that it shows the benefits that roof vents provide in both summer and winter conditions.
    Hope it helps.

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