Solar Attic Fan

How a Solar Powered Attic Fan Can Save You Money!

A solar attic fan can be an excellent addition to any home as long as you understand how they function and know how many you’ll need on your home to make a real difference.

solar attic fan

Not only can you save money, but you can prolong the life of your roof and prevent heat damage from the build up of excessively high temperatures during warmer weather.

How Do Solar Attic Fans Work?

There are two types of solar power attic fans: gable-end and rooftop. In order to operate a solar fan in your attic, you’ll first install solar panels onto your roof. The energy captured by the solar panel is stored in a battery so that when the sun isn’t shining down directly, such as a cloudy day or at night, there is power available to run the attic fan.

ventamatic solar fan

An attic fan will remove the hot air that gathers inside the attic on those extremely hot days. Attics without proper air circulation run the risk of mold or mildew developing as a result of too much moisture gathering and being trapped inside the attic space.

Solar power attic fans are installed on the inside of the attic of your home and on the exterior roof. You’ll have to make a hole in the roof to install. Attic fans can be a nice supplement to a solar air conditioning unit.

These solar fans are best utilized in climates where the sun shines most of the time.

You can also find solar fans which do not have moving parts, which are known as solar ventilators. These can be installed on flat or pitched roofs without an adjustable base.

You can learn more about their pros and cons, and how they work here!

Easy to Install Yourself

You’ll need a few things in order to install your attic fan(s). The fan itself is the easiest part of the install process. The installation of the solar panel is a bit trickier, so if you think you’d like to have help with that part, hire a professional (just for the solar panel).

For installing the fan, you’ll need the following:

  • Wood screws, washers, nuts, screws, wire connector nuts

  • Standard electrical box, which is plastic

  • Lumber

  • Pre-assembled solar attic fan kit

  • 12-volt DC attic fan

  • Bracket mounts – Z shaped

  • 14-gauge electrical cable

  • DC powered thermostat

  • Sealant – rubber butyl

  • Timer - optional

  • Basic tools – drill, pencil, saw, tape measure, wire stripper pliers

Benefits to Using Solar Power Attic Fans

Solar Power Attic Fans

There are, as with any solar powered appliance or equipment, pros and cons to a solar attic fan. On the plus side, they cost nothing to operate once they’re installed and can have a dramatic effect on your energy costs when it comes to cooling the home. These fans operate quietly, so you don’t even realize they are working.

Professional installation is not required since there is no electricity involved, so you’ll save a lot of money in that area too. It is possible that the life of your roof and your home could be extended with the use of attic fans because moisture doesn’t have a chance to build up and cause damage.

Some Limitations of Using Solar Fans

There are some considerations with attic fans of which you should be aware prior to making the decision to purchase one or several for your home.

Solar power attic fans
  • Solar power attic fans only work efficiently when the sunlight is hitting it directly.

  • Unless you have battery backup power, the fan stops working on cloudy days and at night (allowing hot air to continue to build up)

  • Depending on the size of your home, positioning to the sun, and the climate in which you live, it could require several attic fans to significantly lower your cooling energy costs.

This could become a dilemma for some homeowners who wouldn’t appreciate the appearance of several attic fans on their roof.

The cost of a solar attic fan runs roughly $300 to $500, depending on the style you choose.

Solar Attic Fans Tips

Solar powered attic fans are great for areas in your home that are difficult to install electrical wiring in. The performance of your attic fan will vary a great deal depending on your climate, and also on the brand of fan that you choose.

Some tips to help you find a solar fan that works well:

  • Warranty and Guarantee - choose a fan that is warrantied and that offers a money back guarantee.

  • Noise - find out if the fan is noisy when it operates, or when the fan is not running. Some solar fans run quietly but are noisy when the fan is not operating.

  • Sturdiness - look for attic fans that are strong and durable. Seamless fans tend to be sturdier and to avoid leaking, and will not require caulking maintenance.

  • Appearance - before purchasing, find out how your solar fan will look on your roof! Look for models that blend well with your roof, and which do not detract from the attractiveness of your home.

  • Quality fan - make sure your fan is of good quality and can be replaced easily if needed.

  • Adjustable solar panel - allows you to get maximum benefit from the sun's rays.

  • Rustproof - Make sure your fan's parts are made of stainless steel or other rust proof materials.

  • Strong solar panel - a 20 watt panel should be enough to give you maximum energy from the sun.

  • Install on the southern side - make sure your fan can be installed with southern exposure to give you the most sunlight each day.

  • Thermal heat switch - for some climates and conditions you may find it helpful to have a solar fan with a thermal heat switch which will activate the fan when the temperature falls within a certain range. This will prolong the life of your fan and minimize heat loss in the colder months.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you also have solar roof vents, these may dilute the air flow from your solar fan.

Most Popular Solar Attic Fans

These solar attic fans and solar ventilators are some of the most popular models. After looking through dozens of models, these are the ones I would start with.

  • Natural Light Solar Attic Fanis the most popular on many fronts because of it's quality, and is sturdy, reliable, and has a 25-year Warranty on all parts.

  • Ventamatic Solar Gable Attic Ventilator is a model that can be installed without drilling holes in your roof, and works well, but is not as sturdy as some models. The main drawback is that it makes a high pitched sound when the fan is not running, on cloudy days or at night. -

  • Aura Solar Powered Attic Fan uses both solar power and wind energy, and has no moving parts, similar to a roof turbine ventilator, which operates both day and night, unlike solar panel powered solar fans. This fan is easy to install, however the solar panel is not adjustable which may be a problem depending on the sunlight in your area. -

  • Attic Breeze Solar Powered Attic Fan is sturdy and durable for extreme weather conditions, runs quietly, has a thermal switch and has a lifetime warranty on parts.

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