Adding an attic ventilation fan could significantly improve your home’s energy efficiency and reduce your utility bills. Your attic is a living, breathing barrier from the weather. During summer months, your attic can reach temperatures as high as 170 degrees. The heat trapped in your attic can reduce the effectiveness of your AC. Even in attics with good insulation, poor ventilation can account for up to 30 percent of your total cooling costs during the hot months! During winter, a poorly vented attic space can result in moisture buildup, wood deterioration, and mold.
Types of Attic Ventilation Fans: There is an attic ventilator for every home and budget. There are gable- and roof-mounted fans for different types of roofs. There are electric, solar, and non-powered vents as well. Electric are the more reliable while solar are an emerging technology. The non-powered vents are simple turbine ventilators, which use wind power to spin the turbine and vent the attic.
Gable Attic Fans: Gable attic ventilation fans are installed on either end of the roof peaks. Most gable fans are designed to be less than 16 inches wide to fit perfectly in between onto your attic wall studs. When installing a gable attic fan, you also need a louvered shutter to vent the attic. If the attic does not have an existing shutter, one can be purchased with the fan for less than $20. These shutters automatically open when the fan powers on.
Roof Attic Ventilators: Roof ventilators onto a flat part of your roof and are designed to fit perfectly within your roof structure. Roof ventilators are contained in a weatherproof, bell-shaped cover and need no additional parts for installation. Most roof-mounted ventilators have a screen under the dome to keep debris, birds, and other critters out.
Choosing the Right Size Attic Ventilation Fans: Don’t just buy any attic fan, take the time to determine what fan will suit the needs of your home. To determine what size attic fan you need, take the square footage of attic floor area, multiply it by .75 CFM and you will come up with the size you need. For example: If your attic is 1,500 square feet, you will need a fan that is (1500 X .75) 1,125 CFM. Fresh air is another important variable to consider. Almost every home is built with soffit vents to prevent the fan from creating a vacuum in your attic.
Attic Fan Thermostat Setting: Every attic fan comes with a thermostat to set the temperature at which the unit will turn on. Some high-end models include a humidistat, which performs the same function for humidity.
Installing Your Own Attic Ventilation Fans: Installing an attic fan is a simple project for an experienced DIYer. Don’t fret it you have to cut a hole in the roof, most fan kits come with templates for the hole size. A typical attic fan should take four hours to install with basic hand tools. If you lack access to electricity in your attic, consider a solar model which requires no electricity. If you’d prefer an electric model, call a qualified HVAC professional or electrician to run power into your attic.