Using an Attic Fan: 6 Tips
About Using an Attic Fan
An attic fan is designed to exhaust hot air from the attic. With proper installation and use, the fan will cool a hot attic by pulling in outside air that is cooler and pushing the hot air outside. This will keep the attic ventilated and reduce the temperature. In colder climates the fan will help reduce humidity in the attic.
If you are thinking about an attic fan, following are 6 tips to consider.
1 - Types of Attic Fans -
There are two types of attic fans - the roof top or gable end fan. The home attic fan is generally mounted on the roof toward the back of the house and about two feet below the peak.
2 - Powering the Attic Fan -
The attic fan can be electrically powered or solar powered:
- Electrically powered attic fan units require a 120VAC power.
- Solar powered units are capable of generating their own electricity through the use of a solar electic panel, also known as a photovoltaic panel.
3 - Benefits of an Attic Fan -
Without an attic fan, attic temperatures can reach 150 degrees. By adding an attic fan, upstairs room temperatures can be lowered by 10 degrees, air-conditioning costs can be reduced by up to 30% and the life of the roof can be extended because roof shingles are kept cooler. An attic fan uses less than 300 watts and can pay for itself within three years.
4 - Insure Safety -
To shut off the attic fan in the case of extremely high temperatures, a firestat should be be installed. The firestat is a thermostat preset at a fixed temperature, usually 125 degrees, and is necessary in the case of a home fire. For more safety, a motor that is well-lubricated will allow for quiet maintenance-free operation. The attic fan should be installed with a heavy screen to stop pests. Metal construction is preferred to plastic construction, as plastic will crack over a period of time.
5 - Install a Thermostat -
The attic fan should be installed with a thermostat. This will allow the attic fan to cycle on and off only when it is most beneficial. Additionally, it will save the homeowner from regularly having to climb up into the attic to reset the thermostat.
6 - Help the Attic Fan Work Properly -
The attic fan will suck the air-conditioned air up into the attic if the attic is not well sealed from the rest of the house, or if it has blocked soffits - this will make your air conditioner work harder, which in, turn will increase utility bills. To keep this from happening, use air sealing and insulation strategies, such as loose fill insulation or fiberglass rolls. This should be used to help the attic fan work properly. The soffits should never be covered with insulation as this will prevent air flow.
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