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Solar Powered Attic Fan

Updated on May 10, 2012
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.


Why Ventilate the Attic?

Attic ventilation is important. Without it, hot air gets trapped up in that space. The hot air contains moisture and the moisture is what causes the problems:

  • The moisture condenses and saturates the roof decking. Over a period of time this can cause wood rot and deterioration of the roof.
  • Excess heat build up can cause curling of the shingles.
  • Excess heat in the attic can make the upper story rooms uncomfortably warm and make air conditioners work harder

The heat in the attic can easily reach a whopping 150 degrees! Modern homes have focused on being more sealed but when it comes to the attic, less is more.

Solar Powered Attic Fan

An attic fan is one of the best ways to clear the heat out of the attic but many of the fans designed for this purpose are run by electricity. It is clearing the heat out of the attic space, however it is draining your wallet at the same time, and increasing your carbon footprint. What to do?

Solar powered attic fans are an excellent way to safely clear the heat out of the attic in an earth-friendly manner. The solar powered attic fan is designed to work for free, using the energy it collects from the sun, the very energy that is heating your attic up in the first place.

Most of the solar fans do not require any specialized licenses to connect, and you will not need an electrician. They are easily a do it yourself project for most people with some experience in home improvement. And, one of the best things of all, they are very quiet.

On the other hand, if you live in an area where you don;t get alot of sun the solar powered fan will not work very well. On a bright, and sunny day the fan will move about 800 cubic feet of air per minute. In order to get significant cooling in your attic you will need several thousand feet of cubic air to be moved.

Do the research for the size of your house. In order to get the best results from a solar powered attic fan you will need to have more than one. Locate it on the west side of the house if possible, so that it gets the most intense sunlight for the longest part of the day.

How to Install a Solar Powered Attic Fan

It is quite simple to install a solar powered attic fan.

  1. You will need to cut approximately a 12 inch hole in the roof of your home.

  2. Next you will loosen some shingles.

  3. Nail the fan in place.
  4. Replace shingles.

That's it. There are models made specifically for flat roofs as well. Some fans have remote solar panels. These are great when the area you want to install the fan does not get enough sunlight. The solar panel is usually about 12 inches square and can be mounted up to twenty feet away from the fan.

Environmentally Responsible

Solar attic fans are another step to take on the road to becoming more environmentally responsible. By lowering your air conditioning use, and extending the life of your roofing materials, the attic fan will not only pay for itself in a financial way but in its positive impact on the environment.


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    • HC0303 profile image

      HC0303 7 years ago

      Thanks for such insightful hub. I learned more about solar powered products.

    • profile image 8 years ago

      I am wanting to build an underground strawbale home. Any ideas of any knowledge of this from anywhere?


    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 10 years ago from Sydney

      Never would have thought of a fan in the attic.

      Did find a rowing boat in the attic once in a farm house

      a thousand miles from No where.

      The farmer told me it was for the floods.

      Used three times in the last 100 years because the floods had risen so high. I was not around at the time.

      True story He showed me photos

    • PeteMaravichFan profile image

      PeteMaravichFan 10 years ago

      Very Interesting!!