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Which Kind of Attic Fan is Best for my Home?

Backlit Fan
source: Flickr – ToastyKen

Attic fans are a great way to keep your home cool in the warm summer months. If you live in a hot climate like Austin, an attic fan will save you lots of money by reducing the pressure placed on your air conditioner as the amount you use it. Because hot air rises, your attic is an especially hot part of your home. In the summer, the temperature of your attic can reach as much as 150 degrees. This heat transfers to the ceiling and eventually makes its way back down into the rest of your home. An attic fan counteracts this by forcing out the hot attic air and pulling in the cooler, outside air, lowering your air conditioning bill by as much as 20% or more. Additionally, over time an attic fan will save you the cost of hiring a roofer since attic heat can damage your shingles.

Electric Fans

An electric fan is the most popular type of attic fan and should be installed by a professional electrician who can connect it to your home’s power. Most models come with a thermostat so you can set the fan to go on and off at certain temperatures, thus saving money by having your fan run only when necessary.

Solar-Powered Fans

Recently, as green energy has risen in popularity, many environmentally-friendly and cost effective options have made their way to the market. One of the more popular options is the solar-powered attic fan. This fan provides the air-flow and cooling necessary while using none of your utilities. Though more expensive than traditional electric fans, it will save you money on your utility bills. This type of fan is best installed in an area with many months of sun, and on a house with good exposure to sunlight. The only downside is if you wish to run the fan during the evening you’ll need to purchase a fan with either energy-storing capabilities or a reserve battery.

Wind-Powered Fans

A wind-powered fan is another natural-energy option. If you choose this type of fan you’ll have to install turbine vents in order to allow access to the wind. Additionally, you’ll be putting yourself at the mercy of the wind, and if you live in area that doesn’t experience much of it, the fan will be less effective.

Cooling Tips

Whatever fan you select, it’s important that your attic be properly insulated. If not, a large amount of cool air will escape and be lost, and hot air will seep into the rest of your home. In the winter the converse effect will occur, raising your heating bills. Ventilation is also important for both warm and cold seasons. During cold months improper ventilation can lead to moisture buildup, which, if not allowed to escape, can rot your roof. In the summer months, the stagnant, hot air will have no place to escape and will dry out roof supports.

Whatever type of fan you select, consult with a professional who can inform you on the best option for your home’s needs. Additionally, be sure to only hire a professional to install your attic fan in order to ensure safe and efficient operation.


Mark Stevens is a writer from New Jersey who has written over 100 home improvement articles. Want to ask Mark something? Send him a message.

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