Why would we need an attic fan when we rarely even go to our attics? We'll just be wasting our money and energy. Contrary to this logic, Attic fans are great ways to save energy, because we seldom spend time in our attics, we don't realize that there are intense changes in temperature that's happening there throughout the year. Hot air that enters through the attic can make its way through our home, requiring us to keep the air conditioner longer thus adding to our electric and gas bills. Installing an attic fan is a great way to dispel the heat.
How it works
If you are interested in installing, it really isn't that hard. Just be aware that there are construction codes that should be followed. These codes tackle issues on attic fan placement and wiring. Attic fan ventilation draws the cool air inside through attic vents and disperses the hot air outside, thus cooling our living space below. However if an attic has blocked vents and is not well sealed from the rest of your home, attic fans will take the cool air from air conditioners into the attic. This will defeat its purpose; at worst this will consume more energy making your air conditioners work harder which in turn increases the electric bill instead of reducing it. So in installation be sure that the right vents are open. But this is not the only purpose of attic fans. They also regulate air circulation, which reduces vapor to build up. Excess moisture trapped in the attic can cause rusting, rotting and increase in mold and bacteria which can affect your health. All of these can be prevented through the use of an attic fan.
There are different types of attic fans to choose from, each having its own advantages and disadvantages. Electrical attic fans need electricity to operate. There are those that you have to manually turn on and off, there are also those available with thermostats, a nifty feature that allows efficient energy consumption. But the power cost, of this attic fan can increase especially during summer. On a typical hot and sunny day an electrical attic fan can consume 300-400 watts of energy. Assuming every month is like that of summer that would be a monthly operational expense of not more than forty dollars. Installation of electrical attic fans also requires wiring. If you are willing to spend extra cash, it would be advisable to let a qualified electrician do the wiring for you so not to cause fire hazards with faulty self wiring. Electrical attic fans can range from 50-100 dollars in local DIY and online shops.
You can also opt for a solar attic fan. This type of attic fan is more energy efficient but has its limitations. Since it relies on solar energy, during the winter and other climates, the lack of solar resources will not allow it to function, promoting moisture to build up. Solar attic fans can be bought in your local DIY shops or and ordered online, this item can cost you around 300-500 dollars, around 200 dollars more than an electrical attic fan. But since these product do not require any wiring and operational cost, it can compensate for its price.
Wind powered attic fans. These fans rely on natural energy to operate. It is best to use these fans if you belong to a region where wind power is abundant, else it would be hard to maximize its use. These are good for those who want a greener approach and want to spend less in their electric consumption. Installation of turbine vents is required to allow wind access. When wind speed is of high levels, these fans can exhaust much air. But since wind speed is usually low during hot days, wind powered fans may not be the most dependable attic fan alternative.
In an event of a fire, in theory, an attic fan could spread the flames. But there are attic fans in the market with a feature to shut down if temperature in the room will rise above 180 Â°F (82 Â°C). Also since attic fans bring air from the outside, it also carries dust that may irritate and cause allergies. In places where humidity is high, it can also bring in moisture to the attic, which can lead to the formation of mold and mildew. And because attic fans are mounted on rooftops, this makes it more prone to damage, especially in those areas with harsh weather.