What is a solar powered attic vent and what does it do?
A solar powered attic vent is an attic ventilation fan which runs solely off solar power. These ventilators fall into the category of active (powered) attic ventilation, where outside air is forced through the attic and out the vent to effectively cool the attic space. This method of attic ventilation is many times more effective than passive (natural) ventilation since the air inside the attic is exchanged more times per an hour with a powered vent than with a passive vent.
Does my roof already have ventilation?
Static vents or ridge vents will help but generally do not provide sufficient air movement to pull heat and moisture from the attic – especially during the winter or when the ambient air is stagnate. If you have electric fans in the attic, you will benefit from increased air movement in the summer but at a cost of 350 to 400 watts of power per day! Often, electric attic fans have a thermostat that keeps them inoperable during the winter, just when you need them to expel moisture! A solar powered attic fan runs whenever there is sunlight – and, at no cost of operation.
What are the cost benefits of installing a solar attic fan?
How much money you will save is greatly dependent on the price of electricity in your area, the amount of attic space in your home, the efficiency of your attic insulation, and the amount of ventilation your solar attic vent is able to provide. In our experience, a typical installation will usually pay for itself in savings within 1-2 summers of use verses Powered Attic Fans that can cost up to $35 per month to operate.
Is a building permit required to install the Solar Powered Attic Fan?
To our knowledge, no permit is required.
Is additional wiring required?
No. There is no additional wiring or a need for an electrician to install the unit.
Can the solar powered attic fan be used to vent garages?
Yes it can! Many of our customers are using the fan to reduce the temperate in the garage or storage shed.
How is a solar attic fan controlled?
A thermal switch is often used to control a solar attic fan. This switch only allows the fan to run when the attic is warmer than 80-90 degrees F. Running the fan only when the attic is hot extends the life of the fan motor and results in less heat loss to the attic in winter, but does not allow the fan to reduce moisture build-up in the attic at all times and does not allow the fan to prevent ice dams during the winter.
Why would I want to cool off my attic?
During the summer, as the sun radiates heat onto your roof, your roof’s shingles or tile becomes very hot. This heat is transferred through the roof and in turn heats up the air inside your attic. If the hot air stays inside your attic, the heat from this air will eventually enter your home. While attic insulation slows this process, it does not eliminate the heat transfer process entirely. If your attic is not very well insulated, it will do very little to stop the heat from getting through. Additionally, a hot attic stays hot long after the sun goes down, so the process of heat transfer into your home never really ends. By removing the hot air from your attic, the process of heat transfer into your home is minimized. The less attic heat that is transfer into your home, the less your air conditioner will need to work. If your air conditioner unit doesn’t need to run as much to keep your home cool, you save energy and money.
Are solar attic fans very loud when operating?
No, not at all. You can barely hear them running when you’re standing right next to one. The fan blades used in our solar attic vents are specially designed for whisper quiet operation.
How are ridge vents, turbine vents, or gable vents different from a solar attic vent?
Ridge vents, gables vents, and dormer vents work by passive (natural) draft air convection. This means that as hot air rises in your attic, it should flow out from these vents creating a natural draft through the attic. However, as you have probably noticed if you currently have any of these vents installed on your home, they are not very effective at reducing the temperature of your attic.
Turbine vents are designed to pull hot air out of your attic when the wind blows. These vents are equally ineffective at removing attic heat due to frequent mechanical problems, low air moving capability, and a dependence on the wind to supply the power needed to induce a draft through the attic.
Solar attic vents operate on the principle of active (forced) draft air convection. Our vents create an air draft through your attic many times more powerful than that of natural draft air convection techniques. By inducing a greater air daft through the attic. these solar attic vents can effectively cool your entire attic and keep it cool throughout the day.
Can my attic have too much ventilation?
The amount of ventilation an attic needs is determined by many factors, but in general the more the ventilation your attic has, the better off you will be. As attic air turnover is increased and fresh make-up air is brought into the attic, the attic temperature will begin to approach that of the ambient outside air temperature, which in turn minimizes heat transfer into your home. As long as your attic has plenty of fresh air make-up ventilation, more airflow through the attic will only increase the cooling performance of your solar attic fan.
Does a solar attic fan qualify for a federal tax credit?
Yes. Both the purchase price and installation cost of a solar attic fan qualify for a 30% federal tax credit. The credit applies to equipment placed in service between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2016. IRS Form # 5695 (Download pdf here) is needed to apply for this credit. Enter the installed cost on line 1 of the form.