What is the best way to cool your home? The 3 common answers are:
- An air conditioner
- An evaporative cooler
- A whole house fan (a fan in the ceiling that circulates hot air away from living space and up into the attic)
The best answer is NONE of these – it’s an attic fan! The first step in efficiently cooling your home is to cool the attic as much as possible. On a 95-degree day the temperature in an attic can reach 150 degrees or more! This heat permeates down into the home, causing the air-conditioner to work much harder than necessary. An attic fan actively exhausts the super-heated air out of the house and pulls cooler air into the attic. 95-degree air is better than 150 degree air!
I really like fans, because moving air is the most cost-effective way to efficiently cool and heat a home. Excel has installed hundreds of solar powered attic fans over the years. They are whisper quiet, and don’t need an electrician to wire them. I like them so much I’ve installed 4 on my own home! The downside of solar powered fans is they don’t work when it’s cloudy, or after the sun goes down.
I recently purchased a new home and the seller told me not to store any plastics in the attic because they would melt. I knew immediately that the attic did not have enough ventilation. This house was a perfect candidate for a gable fan, so I installed a QuietCool Smart Gable Fan, and the comforting results were immediately noticeable.
Some facts about Attic Ventilation
- A poorly ventilated attic can reach temperatures of 150 degrees or more when the outside air temperature is in the 90’s.
- An Attic Fan can reduce the attic temperature by as much as 50 to 60 degrees.
- A hot attic can “cook” asphalt shingles, cause them to prematurely fail, and can void manufactures warranties.
- A cooler attic will make the house more comfortable, especially 2nd level bedrooms.
- Proper attic ventilation will save you money, because the air-conditioner will run more efficiently, as air conditioners typically use the most electricity in a home.
The best way to ventilate an attic is for air to come into one side of the attic and flow out the other side. This flow could be top to bottom or side to side.
Gable vents themselves are not normally effective enough to vent an attic properly. Gable-to-gable venting is most effective when a fan is installed at one end, pushing out the hot air.
Installing an Electric Gable Fan
Before: The Old Half Round Gable Vent without a fan
The Hole in the wall has been changed to a square, and new siding installed
After: The New Fan is Installed and the Square Gable Vent Cover Adjusts Automatically as the Gable Fan Operates
This particular installation was $2500 since there was an electrical outlet available nearby; however, if an electrician is required, the cost of installation is generally $500 more.
The Smart QuiteCool Gable Fan has a phone app that allows you to control the fan. The settings can be adjusted according to preference and need. The app displays current fan speed, attic temperature, and attic moisture, all variables that are very important in managing your attic (particularly moisture levels in the winter).
One of the best things about the QuietCool fan is how little energy it uses. In running some quick numbers, if the fan runs on high all day, the cost is approximately 3 cents per hour or 36 cents per day – a very inexpensive and environmentally-friendly way to cool your home!
The best system, however, is to have both an attic fan and a whole house fan. The attic fan will run all day to keep the attic as cool as possible, and in the evening the whole house fan will come on to bring in cool fresh air. The attic fan can be programmed to be on at the same time as the whole house fan, creating a literal wind tunnel of cool air through the house and out the attic.
Obviously cost is a consideration when performing any home improvement project. If a homeowner needs to choose between just one fan which should they use? My preference would be an attic fan. If I can reduce the heat in my attic, I believe that will keep the house cooler overall. Having super-heated stale air in the attic all day long, and then running a whole house fan in the evening will cause the AC to work harder than necessary.
To maximize your cooling efficiency and help reduce your energy bill, installing both an attic and a whole house fan at the same time is truly the best way to go.
Excel Roofing also appreciates efficiency, so if you schedule to install both fans at the same time, we’ll give you a 25% discount on your installation! Contact us and schedule today!
If you would like to have an Attic fan installed call or e mail us and we’ll help you stay
J Bretz, Owner