The 6 Best Solar Attic Fans
6. Rand Solar Gable Fan
- adjustable angle mount included
- can reduce interior temps 50 degrees
- slightly overpriced option
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
5. Amtrak Solar
- high-speed efficient fan
- easy do-it-yourself installation
- louder than other options
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
4. Durabuild 527S-DUB
- backed by 5-year warranty
- whisper quiet motor
- may allow water to leak in
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
3. Broan 345SOWW Surface Mount
- suitable for 3200 cubic foot attic
- durable abs housing
- resists sun fading and cracking
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
- prevents mold and mildew buildup
- handsome stainless steel frame
- affordable price point
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
1. Natural Light
- no wiring required for installation
- optional snap-on thermostat
- great reviews from owners
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
Benefits Of A Solar Attic Fan
If you've noticed your utility bills skyrocketing without noticing a corresponding increase in the comfort of your home, then you may be losing a lot of cold air — and hot cash — out of your attic. A steamy attic can affect the whole house, causing your air conditioner to have to work harder to keep your home cool.
In that case, a solar-powered attic fan could be just what the doctor ordered. However, before you spend money on a fan, it's important to first check your insulation. If your house isn't properly insulated, then anything else you do will be nearly useless, as all the treated air will literally fly out the window.
Once you've made sure that your house is sealed up tight, however, installing an attic fan is a useful next step.
Of course, you may be asking yourself, "How will a solar-powered fan work inside my attic? You will have to attach a solar panel to your roof, but that should require minimal work, as these fans leave a small footprint.
The most obvious benefit of the fan is that it will drastically lower the temperature in your attic. This keeps the heat from spilling out into the rest of the house and forcing your cooling system to work overtime. Not only will this save you money on your electric bill, but it will also prolong the life of your HVAC unit.
Plus, using less energy to keep your house cool is better for the environment. Since the fan will take all of its juice from the sun, it won't use electricity, which is notoriously bad for the planet.
Your roof will also be grateful for the help, as fans can prevent moisture from building up and damaging your roofing materials. This is especially important when the mercury drops, as many roofs suffer water damage during snowstorms. This is due to the fact that heat from the house gets trapped in the attic, causing the snow on the roof to melt. The water can then get trapped and re-freeze in your eaves. Even if it's not snowing, mold can still easily form if moist air in the attic has nowhere to go.
What To Look For In Your Fan
While buying a solar attic fan is a smart move, that doesn't mean you should get the first one you come across. There are a number of factors to consider before pulling the trigger.
The first thing is your climate. If you live in a place that's hot most of the year, you'll naturally put more of a strain on your fan than living in a cooler climate would. This means that finding one with a long lifespan is paramount, so you might have to shell out more up front, but you should make it back in the long run.
The next factor is the size of your attic. The larger the room, the bigger and more powerful you'll want the fan to be. If you've got a smaller attic, you can still get a strong fan (and you'll likely reap the benefits from it), but you could probably pay less and still get the job done almost as well.
You also need to consider the size of the solar panel, and whether you'll be able to place it in direct sunlight. Some units have to be mounted directly under the panel, while others allow you to run wires from the panel to the fan, giving you more flexibility in placement. The important thing is to make sure the panel is getting enough light.
This may require consulting a contractor to see how feasible the installation will be. Installing a solar fan isn't the most difficult job in the world, but it will still require moderate carpentry and electrical skills, so you may feel more comfortable handing the job off to a professional if you're not experienced yourself.
Other Ways To Cut Cooling Costs
One of the easiest ways to keep your cooling system running effectively is to be sure to change your air filters regularly, preferably once a month. This is especially crucial if you have pets, as hair, dirt, and dander can all clog up a filter quickly, forcing your air conditioner to work much harder to do its job.
Also, the more sunlight that hits your home, the hotter your home will be. You can mitigate some of this heat by installing trees and other landscaping to shade your home — without blocking any solar panels, of course. Investing in some heavy curtains and keeping them closed is another easy way to beat the heat.
A programmable thermostat can also save you some dough, as you can be set it to work more when you're home and awake, and less when you're not. These can also prevent you from accidentally using too much electricity, especially if you're the type who immediately turns the thermostat down every time you get hot.
Of course, putting fans in more rooms than just the attic can also help. This can help circulate the cooled air that the AC is putting out, while also keeping you refreshed at a lower cost. It's much cheaper to run a fan than the air conditioner, so use the AC as a last resort.