Can a Solar Attic Fan Save Me Money?

What Does an Attic Fan Do?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, an attic fan is a fan installed in your home or commercial property's attic or crawlspace. This fan is designed to improve the overall ventilation of your attic and supports your HVAC system. It is not uncommon for your attic to trap a lot of heat. After all, heat rises. In Arizona, where summer temperatures can be extreme, this means your attic can reach temperatures over 150°F. This hot air is pushed out of your home with an attic fan, and cooler air is brought in. This effectively cools the attic area, and by extension, your home or office.

How Do Solar Attic Fans Work?

When it comes to removing hot air from your attic or crawlspace, solar fans work the same way other attic fans do. They push the hot air out and bring cooler air in from outside. The primary difference is that they are powered by the sun. In places like Arizona, where sunshine is abundant, solar fans offer a great, cost-effective way to boost the ventilation in your attic.

Solar attic fans are installed directly into your roof. While you can install it yourself, it does require an understanding of roof construction and a fair amount of skill. It is good to work with a professional to ensure that the fan is installed and sealed correctly.

Should You Install a Solar Attic Fan at Your Property?

Solar attic fans can be used in both residential and commercial contexts. In recent years they have become very popular and offer many benefits to property owners. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that solar fans cost significantly less to run. Because they are not hooked into your home's electrical system, they do not increase your power usage. Instead, they utilize free solar energy from the sun. Additionally, you may be able to qualify for a federal tax credit if you buy a product that is Energy Star rated.

Solar attic fans can also help save you money on your HVAC operating costs. Generally, your attic is sealed from the rest of the house, preventing your HVAC system from unnecessarily cooling this space. However, if your fan is too powerful or your attic not well sealed, the fan may suck the cooled air into the attic. This means your HVAC system will have to work even harder to keep your home cool, costing you money.

Unlike traditional attic fans, solar fans are not as powerful and do not pull as much air. While this may mean that you need to install more than one, it also helps prevent air-conditioned air from being drawn into the attic from your home.

In addition to improving your home's comfort and supporting your HVAC system, solar attic fans can also help you reduce moisture buildup in your attic. Because attic fans keep the air circulating and continuously bring fresh air into your attic, any humidity or moisture is aired out and has a chance to dry. Reducing moisture can prevent mold and mildew growth in your attic.

Solar fans are also considered safer than traditional attic fans. Typically, an attic fan that is wired to your home's electrical system is more powerful than solar attic fans. Because of this, you risk pulling dangerous gasses, like carbon monoxide, into your attic, where they can become trapped.