As I walk my neighborhood I start to take note at neighbor’s roofs and what the heck they have up on them. I see many vents, a few skylights and even fewer attic fans. Before getting into this business, and knowing very little about attic’s and roofs, I was the traditional consumer where my attic was just a place for storing a bunch of Christmas stuff and kids toys. How wrong I was….
Attic space is of course very useful however it is an area of the home that is often neglected. In the summer month’s it can reach up to 130 degrees or greater. The build-up of heat can cause the following:
- Living spaces to become hot and very uncomfortable especially in a two story home
- Air conditioning units to work harder in order to keep rooms cooler and more comfortable
- Utility costs to rise due to increased energy demand during July and August
- Deterioration of roof structures and materials
Many people assume that an attic fan is only necessary when it’s hot. Actually they are very much needed during the winter months as well. Cold weather and excess humidity can lead to the following:
- Leaks and structural decay triggered by ice buildup
- Damage to insulation and framing materials produced by moisture accumulation
- Weakening of internal structures caused by mold and fungus growth
So what type of attic fan would do the trick?
Powered Attic Fans
The benefit of a powered attic fan is that you can run it all the time. Typically a thermal switch is in place that can turn it on when temperatures reach their peaks. Unfortunately, the energy savings rarely exceed the energy costs of running a powered attic ventilator. This is because most attic ventilators use a fair bit of energy.
Roof vents include roof ridge vents, soffit vents, and gable vents. Each of these vents has slightly different designs themselves but can also overlap. For example, a soffit vent is a type of ridge vent, but ridge vents don’t necessarily have to be installed at your roof soffits. Studies are notoriously unreliable, as they are conducted in controlled, laboratory settings that often don’t play out in real homes. Older roof ridge vents would allow blowing snow to enter your attic space, causing structural damage.
Solar Attic Fans
Solar attic fans work like a powered fan however there is a solar panel tied to the roof which generates the power. Control heat and moisture buildup in your attic with Solar Star Attic Fans. Powered by the sun, they convert your passive vents into an active ventilation system that adds comfort to your home and prevents roof damage. They run when the sun is out and they run at all temperatures. The benefits of this is that is costs nothing to use except the natural energy of the sun. The added bonus is that many are energy star rated which means you receive a federal tax credit of 30% off the product and installation.
At the end of the day attic ventilation is extremely important. Proper ventilation can extend the life of your roof. It can reduce the load on your HVAC system, and it reduces moisture build-up in your attic. All powerful reasons to take a look at your own attic and what it needs.
By: Katy Radcliff