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What are the Advantages of Solar Attic Fans?

By R. Anacan
Updated May 23, 2024
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A solar attic fan is a solar powered fan installed on the exterior roof and on the inside of the attic of a home. Solar attic fans decrease the temperature of the attic area and may therefore decrease the interior temperature of the home as well. Depending on the size of the fan, it is estimated that a solar attic fan may be able to reduce the temperature in the attic by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

The main advantage of installing a solar attic fan is that it can help to reduce the interior temperature of a home. Attics can achieve temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) or more during the day. This trapped heat may seep into the home, causing the interior temperature to rise. An attic fan sits on the top of the roof, over an opening in the attic of the home. As the fan turns, it pulls the hot air from the attic and draws it outside. By venting the hot air in the attic outside, a solar attic fan can make the inside of a home cooler and more comfortable.

Another advantage of a solar attic fan is that by reducing the temperature of a home, it can help air conditioning and home cooling systems to work more efficiently, providing a potential saving in utility costs. Air conditioning systems are a major source of power usage in the average home. The higher the interior temperature, the harder the air conditioning system needs to work to cool the inside of a home. By reducing the gap between the current interior temperature and the desired temperature, an attic ventilation fan helps to reduce the amount of work that a cooling systems needs to perform to make the interior climate of a home more comfortable.

Solar attic fans not only help a homeowner save money on cooling costs, but can also help the owner save on the operating costs of the fan. Attic ventilation fans may either be electrically powered or solar powered. Fans that are electrically powered must, by its very nature, use electricity to operate. Solar-powered fans do not use electricity to operate but derive power from the sun through the use of roof mounted solar panels. Since they use no electricity, solar attic fans are therefore more affordable to operate than electric attic fans.

In addition to cooling a home and helping a home to be more energy-efficient, solar attic fans can also reduce the amount of moisture that is allowed to collect in the attic. Attics often attract residual moisture from a home. Over time, this moisture can cause extensive if left unchecked and untreated. An attic ventilation fan helps to draw moisture out and away from the interior of a home, creating a drier, less humid environment in the attic.

Solar attic fans can also help to reduce the wear and tear and increase the service life of a roof. While roofs and the materials used on them are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, over time the excess heat can cause damage to the roof. The extra ventilation provided by an attic fan can reduce the temperature in the attic area, which in turn may increase the lifetime of a roof.

The Solar Panel Guide is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Feryll — On Apr 02, 2014

When I compared the solar attic fan and the electric attic fan, I had no doubts as to which one of the fans to buy for the attic. While the solar fan has a greater purchase price, the difference is made up with installation costs. Installation, including wiring, of the electric fan evens out the cost.

There is no complicated wiring involved with the solar unit. Solar fans generally last twice as long as the electric fans. This is another area where the additional cost of the solar fan is negated.

The solar fan will not increase your monthly energy bill, and you don't have to be concerned with faulty wiring that could cause a fire or other damage.

Of course, if you know enough to install the electric fan then the installation cost will not matter so much, but for me, the solar fan is still the best deal.

By Sporkasia — On Apr 01, 2014

I like solar attic fans because they use the energy of the sun and eliminate the need for electricity. The primary reason we use the fan is to fight mold and mildew. When we are heating the house during the cold months, the warm air rises to the attic, mixes with colder air and causes condensation, which can lead to mold and mildew.

With the ventilation provided by the solar attic fan, the moisture is removed and the growth of mold is prevented.

By Animandel — On Apr 01, 2014

We discovered leaks in our attic. When it rained we could go into the attic and find several places where the roof was allowing water to seep into the attic space. Our shingles and roofing was not old, so we were surprised by the problem.

After getting a workman to come out and examine our attic, we were told that the intense heat in our attic was probably the root of the problem. As it turns out, the temperatures in an attic can get so hot that the roofing material beneath the shingles on the roof can get hot and become damaged.

We were told that the roofing material had become brittle because of the intense and continual heat. After having the roof repaired, we installed a solar attic fan, and the difference in temperature is unbelievable. This should prevent the need for another costly roof repair.

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