Are attic exhaust fans worth it? What are the pros and cons of installing a ventilation unit, especially a solar-powered one? We’ll be discussing all these in today’s guide.
Do Attic Fans Work?
Attic vent fans are usually installed for ventilation purposes.
This brings to the question their real utilitarian value. In other words, people have splitting opinions about the benefits of having attic fans installed, and so the question arises; are attic fans worth having?
Homeowners wanting to know will surely find real answers here.
Attic Fan Pros and Cons
Are our attic fans a waste of money? Do they use a lot of electricity? How efficient are they for ventilation purposes?
Attic fans aren’t a new concept as they’ve been around for the longest. While some people claim these have no benefit, others swear by their efficacy as a ventilation system.
Here, a balanced discussion will be had on the pros, and cons of attic fans.
In the end, you get to make a decision based on these findings.
Are Attic Exhaust Fans Worth It?
Attic fans are ventilation provisions mostly installed on the gable or roof of a home.
These might be powered by wind, solar, or electric systems. The primary functions of attic fans include the removal of warm attic air, lowering attic temperature, as well as helping to prevent moisture buildup.
Now attic fans require a significant amount of intake air to function. Such intake air provides ample venting for an attic fan to pull from.
Without this, you’re likely to have your venting system pulling in conditioned air from a home interior. This then defeats the purpose of its installation.
Here, let’s find out. Do attic fans help?
The Functions of Attic Fans make them Desirable but…
Attic fans are still in vogue because of the perceived venting benefits derived from their use.
However, these fans can sometimes depressurize the attic area which in turn causes a loss of conditioned air, thus increasing your cooling costs during summer.
This reality has made some homeowners go for other types of ventilation provisions like passive vents.
To provide a better context on the utility or otherwise of attic fans, we’ll start by highlighting the positives followed by the negative side of having these installed.
Advantages Of Installing Attic Fans
How much difference does an attic fan make?
When attic fans are installed in a home, they offer several benefits.
Such benefits range from the prevention of ice damming, making for a cooler attic, preventing mold growth, and also preventing premature roof aging.
We’ll proceed to provide further explanations on each of these benefits.
Prevention of Ice Damming
Ice damming is one of the common issues homeowners experience with poorly aerated or inadequately ventilated attics. With poor ventilation come leakages of warm air from a home’s interior to the attic area.
This leads to a chain of events that sees snow melting on the roof due to the warmth.
Upon refreezing, it’s turned to ice which mostly forms along the eaves which are the coldest sections of the roof. The continuous melting of ice results in an accumulation or damming which affects effective draining.
With proper ventilation provided by attic fans, these issues are prevented.
Making for a Cooler Attic
Does the attic fan help air conditioning?
Without proper ventilation systems such as attic fans etc, attics become heat traps during hot weather.
This is easily transferred down the house, thus raising air conditioning costs. Also, the continuous running of your air conditioning units will lower their lifespan.
This is where the usefulness of attic fans becomes obvious. These fans help vent out hot air from the attic, thus eliminating the “heat trap” problem posed by unventilated attics.
Preventing Mold Growth
Mold growth prevention is crucial for homes. It’s common knowledge that such is caused by moisture presence. Moisture issues become worse when proper ventilation is absent.
With attic fans, moisture and humidity issues are eliminated, thus removing conditions that support mold growth.
Preventing Premature Roof Aging
Heat stress has been given as the primary reason for premature roof aging. One of the most affected roof types is asphalt shingle roofs.
These tend to be costly and will cost homeowners more in overall maintenance costs. Thankfully, attic fans serve to prolong their lifespan by providing the cooling necessary.
Cons of Having Attic Fans
Attic fans have their downsides which are quite obvious to users.
These range from the possibility of inducing a roof leak to increased carbon monoxide risk, as well as energy cost shoot up. So, what do each of these concepts mean?
Let’s jump into details straightaway.
Possibility of Inducing a Roof Leak
This mostly applies to attic fans installed on the roof. Here, the possibility of a leak arises when flashing isn’t properly installed in place.
One way to go about minimizing the problem is having the attic fan installed or mounted on the gable. The other is to ensure proper flashing is put in place.
Increased Carbon Monoxide Risk
Here, Negative air pressure is likely to result when powered attic fans are installed.
This poses a risk of poisoning especially when furnaces or natural gas burning devices are used in homes. As powered attic fans vent out air, they’re likely to create negative air pressure.
This results in a situation where exhaust gases are pulled back into the home, thus increasing the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
This is a health risk that can be devastating when there aren’t carbon monoxide detectors around.
Increase in Energy Costs
With an attic fan, energy costs may increase due to multiple reasons.
One of them includes the loss of conditioned air in a home to this venting appliance. However, there have been ongoing debates among users about the potential increase in energy costs due to attic fan use.
Solar and other Attic Ventilation Provisions
Over the years, attic fans have evolved in designs. Apart from electric-powered fans which have been popular for the longest, there are those powered by renewable energy sources like solar.
While this is true, there have been debates and criticisms about the efficiency of this ventilation system.
If you’ve heard such debates, you might have your concerns or questions to which you might want to find answers. This article makes it all plain by taking a look at the pros and cons of solar-powered attic fans.
Solar-powered fans are designed as off-grid attic ventilation systems that help eliminate energy costs incurred from electric grids. Apart from solar attic fans, there are other natural ways to vent an attic.
These include offset ridge vents, soffits, and ridge vents.
The availability of venting options has led to many people asking why solar should be considered since the natural provisions are highly efficient. Also, some issues are common with solar attic fans.
This has led to many homeowners having a preference for natural attic ventilation systems over solar attic fans.
By the end of the article, and based on the facts provided, you should be able to make up your mind.
To know for certain whether solar attic fans are worth it, you’ll have to make multiple comparisons.
First off, you’ll need to take a look at the pros and cons of solar-powered attic fans. By going through each of the points given, you get to decide whether they’re convincing enough to help you make a decision.
Here, we’ll be looking at the pros and cons of solar attic fans for an in-depth understanding of how they compare.
i. Benefits of Solar-Powered Attic Fans
Because these types of attic fans are powered by a renewable energy source like solar, it’s immediately viewed positively by buyers.
One definite benefit everyone knows of is the fact that there are no ongoing costs. Also, solar attic fans provide the needed protection from dampness. Attic temperatures are reduced as well.
Zero Ongoing Costs
Whenever solar attic fans are installed, they eliminate the need to make recurring energy payments as is common with electric-powered attic fans.
Buyers have to make the initial sacrifice is which typically costlier than other types of attic fans.
While providing the needed protection from moisture, it also serves the entire duration of its lifespan without the need of hooking to a power source outside its standard provisions.
The best part is there are deliberate campaigns to encourage solar usage by the government.
Protection from Dampness
One of the primary reasons why solar-powered attic fans are made is to help eliminate moisture.
Moisture issues can be damaging to a home and with this out of the way, a major advantage is derived by homeowners or users of this ventilation control system.
Reduction or Drop-in Attic Temperature
Homes without sufficient attic ventilation tend to have attics serving as heat traps that eventually transfer to the lower areas of a home. In other words, there is no proper venting out of hot air from the attic.
This is where solar-powered attic fans come in handy.
Solar attic fans help with proper dissipation of heat which in turn reduces your cooling expenses. This is most beneficial during the hotter seasons of the year.
ii. Disadvantages of Solar-Powered Attic Fans
As you’ll soon discover, solar attic fans aren’t foolproof. In other words, this fan has its downsides too.
The disadvantage of installing this type of ventilation system include having the potential to cause dampness, being expensive to install, negative air pressure leading to increased cooling costs, and might not generate sufficient energy.
May Cause Dampness
This might sound a bit contradictory, but the truth is, solar attic fans have the potential to cause dampness. This is seen during installation.
Here, holes have to be drilled through the ceiling. After installation, covering the drilled hole may not be neatly done. This may cause water seepage which in turn results in dampness.
However, this problem can be prevented. The best possible way to prevent such dampness is to have a trained and experienced technician perform the installation.
When it’s done right, you have nothing to fear.
Expensive to Install
One of the things you might notice as a solar attic fan buyer is the cost of purchase. This is most expensive compared to other alternatives.
When multiple fans are to be installed, the price doubles. Overall, you may be spending more to get a solar attic fan than someone that buys an electric-powered fan.
The only comfort lies in the fact that you’ll be spending less over a long period due to zero energy payments required.
Causes Negative Air Pressure
Although solar attic fans help lower attic temperatures, they eventually cause negative air pressure within your home. Here, conditioned air is drawn up through your ceiling and is pushed out by the attic fan.
This means you’ll have to spend more on cooling costs.
Plus, your air conditioning units tend to work longer to cool your home. This reduces their lifespan. Here, it’s evident that solar attic fans set a chain of reactions that could cost you more money over the long run.
Insufficient Energy Generation
Because solar-powered attic fans work only during the daytime, it means efficient cooling doesn’t happen when the sun is down.
There isn’t sufficient power to sustain or maintain a working fan all through. This is unlike what’s obtainable with mains-operated attic fans.
This is a clear disadvantage because it means cooling isn’t as efficient as it is with other alternatives. However, the only consolation will be that your attic fans work the hardest when the sun is hottest.
This might be overlooked by some users.
Do Attic Fans Make A Difference? You Get to Decide
With the details on attic fan operation covered above, you get to decide whether it’s worth having around your home.
These points may not be sufficient enough to form an opinion about the benefits or otherwise of attic fans. So, to get help, it’s best to consult an energy expert regarding the topic.
With the information made available, it’s clear that the choice lies with you.
Also, you get to decide whether a solar-powered attic fan is worth installing or not. Different things work for different people. So, what might not sit well with you might be acceptable to another homeowner.
Was this article satisfying enough? We have highlighted the state of solar attic fans by pointing out where they measure up and other areas they don’t.
You may also want to explore other attic venting systems available. It’s important to note that such could impact your home’s overall energy consumption as seen with the attic fan.
By working with professionals, you’re guided on the best option available.
Have you been able to make up your mind yet? We understand how tricky this discussion can be. This is why we’ve provided both the pros and cons for your consideration.
Are attic fans good or bad?
In the end, you’re left to decide on what is best for you.