As most homeowners already know, attics can get very hot. Lacking proper ventilation from the rest of the home, these upper level rooms can feel like they are baking in the sun, sometimes leaving you with room temperatures that often exceed 100 degrees in the summer.
Many consumers looking to take advantage of the sunlight that relentlessly beats down on their roofs are buying solar attic fans because they require no electricity, reduce their carbon footprint, and are just as good as traditional fans. However, as many solar attic fans require installation, it is important that you are as informed as possible before making a purchase.
Roof-mounted vs. eave-mounted vs. portable
There are three main types of solar attic fans: roof-mounted, eave-mounted and portable. The type that best suits your home depends on the shape and size of your roof. Do you have a flat or pitched roof? Does it have a gable wall with vents? These are just a few of the questions you should consider before choosing the most convenient solar attic fan for your home.
Roof-mounted. The most efficient and powerful solar attic fans are roof-mounted fans. They are more expensive than other types and usually require a relatively complex installation. It is often advisable to hire a technician as you will need to make a proper vent hole in the roof before installing the fan. While this installation process can be lengthy and expensive, roof mounted fans will naturally get the most solar energy, which can save you money on electricity costs in the long run.
Gable-mounted. If your roof has an eave with a vent, then an eave-mounted solar attic fan is recommended. There is no need to cut a hole in your roof, just mount the fan on the vent. While installation is much easier than a roof mounted fan, placement on the eaves means you won't get as much direct sunlight and therefore less power.
Portable. Considered to be the most convenient type, portable solar attic fans require minimal installation and can be placed almost anywhere the sun hits. These fans are usually inexpensive and lightweight, which means you can easily move them from the attic to another room. However, as these fans provide very little ventilation and are usually smaller than their installed counterparts, you can expect to get much less power and airflow.