Choosing a Solar Attic Fan
Solar attic fans are a great way to reduce your air conditioning bills in summertime.
In hot, sunny weather, air temperatures in poorly ventilated attics can reach temperatures significantly higher than the outside air temperature, warming your house and increasing your cooling bills. In winter, condensation can build up, damaging roofing and insulation materials.
Solar powered attic fans work the same way conventional electric powered attic fans do. They reduce heat buildup in the attic by drawing hot air and moisture out of the attic through attic vents and drawing cooler air into the attic through soffit vents located under the eaves. Unlike electric attic fans, however, there is no need to connect them to the electrical system of your home. Instead, they are mounted on the roof and powered by a small built-in solar electric panel. Some manufacturers also build models that have separately mounted solar panels to take advantage of the sunniest location on your roof.
- How to Install a Solar Attic Fan | This Old House
In this how-to video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva explains how to keep an attic cool
Solar attic fans can be installed on shingled, tile, and metal roofs. They run quietly, and most homeowners have even found that solar attic fans run quieter than the electric models!
Solar attic fans work best when installed on roofs or sections of roof that get little or no shade during the day. Some experts also recommend sealing all air leaks to the attic from the rooms below for maximum effectiveness, to ensure that you do not inadvertently draw cool air out of the home.
When purchasing solar attic fans, pay careful attention to the manufacturer's specifications about ventilation requirements and the size of the area the fan is capable of ventilating. Some large houses may require two fans to effectively cool the space. Homeowners with especially dark shingles or steep roofs may require more powerful fans than those with lighter shingles and gentler slopes.
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