INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – This week’s Home Zone is about cutting a hole in your roof. But why would you even want to do that? One of the biggest reasons is to add a vent pipe.
I recently had to put in a vent when I installed a radon system that vents gas out of the top of the roof. But this time of year, climbing up on a roof is not always a good idea. They can be slippery and dangerous, especially if your roof is high or steep. That’s generally why the professionals are called in.
But I found a system that allows you to install a vent pipe without ever going on your roof. I found one product online that allows you to do all the work from inside your attic. In my case, I bought what’s called a “Kozy Kollar” for about $115. It is a bit more expensive than traditional exterior vent piping systems but doesn’t take much time and is safe for a homeowner to do. You do it all standing inside your attic, reaching up to the underside of your roof.
The Kozy Kollar is a heavy-duty rubber vent that allows a PVC pipe to go up through it. It will work on a 0 to 12-pitch roof, and it takes about an hour to install from start to finish.
The first step is to select the part of the attic roof that is directly above the vent pipe for the easiest installation. The directions say after you’ve chosen the location, remove any nails that penetrate the roof in the area near the mounting plates. This can be done by positioning a Sawzall at a right angle to the nail and cutting it off flush with the sheathing. You can also use a few other high-speed tools that do the same thing.
The next step is to use their provided cardboard template to mark out the area to be cut. Generally, centering it between rafters is a good idea to give you the most room to work. To set the Kozy Kollar square with the outside of the building, the template should be aligned with a framing member such as a roof rafter or plywood seam. I chose to then drill out the four corners I traced by using by the template. This allows you to easily get a Sawzall blade into the holes to cut out the rectangle.
Here’s where you need to be precise. Follow the instructions and don’t cut the hole too big or too small. The directions say to cut on the line you drew. I found cutting just barely outside the line was best. If you do cut the hole too big, the system may not seal well. If it’s too small, the bolts may not come back through the newly made roof hole.
Before you put the Kozy Kollar up through the hole, screw in the six provided bolts. I did that part on a kitchen counter as it’s easier than doing it overhead in an attic. This is also a good time to put the included sealant in the channel of the Kozy Kollar. That sealant is what makes it water tight.
Now that the bolts are in, the sealant is in the channel, and the hole is cut in the roof, slide the Kozy Kollarthrough through the attic roof hole at an angle. It should easily fit. Don’t drop it outside! Then turn it so it’s facing the correct way and so the posts can come back through. Then lower it down, making sure the studs come through.
Here is when you put the two thin metal plates onto the studs/bolts that are sticking down through the attic roof. Those metal plates go beyond the edges of the hole you cut out. When you tighten all the nuts onto the bolt posts, it will tighten the collar to the roof. But how tight should you go? Hand tighten all of them. Then the directions say to tighten to approximately three-foot pounds. If you don’t have a torque wrench, tighten the nuts with a regular wrench just enough to start to bend the two pieces of metal, as per the instructions. I found it took only about one full turn with a wrench.
After that, you are basically done. Just slide the pipe up through the vent. There are a couple of different size Kozy Kollars for different size PVC pipe. I bought the one that works for a 2 or 3 inch pipe.
I pushed the pipe through the rubber boot. I then connected that pipe to the radon fan, with couplings provided by the Festa Radon fan I bought. Then I connected the bottom of the radon fan to the incoming PVC pipe with a similar provided coupling. I plugged the radon fan into a nearby outlet I wired in, and the fan worked great.
This was all done without ever having to go outside to install the vent. Another helpful tip is try to cut your roof hole at a height where you don’t have to get on a ladder and where it’s not too low. I found it best to do everything just about head height.