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Most people only see an attic as a space for storing old books, clothes, and personal belongings. A few people get more creative and use it as an extra bedroom, especially in modern tiny homes that are becoming incredibly popular around the country. However, an attic can also play an essential role in controlling your home’s air circulation, and lower overall heating and cooling energy costs in freezing winters and blazing summers. You’re probably wondering how this is possible. Well, the solution is to install a fan, but not just any fan – a solar attic fan.
Solar attic fans are making a lot of noise in the eco-friendly and sustainable solutions market as an effective ventilation solution with no building permit or complex electrical work requirements.
Read on to learn how they work, their benefits, and how to choose the right one for your home. We’ll also share our top pick of the best solar-powered attic fans in the market today.
How Solar Attic Fans Work and Types
Before understanding how solar-powered attic fans work, you need to understand the importance of year-round ventilation. During winters or in places with cooler climates, ventilation removes excess moisture from the living spaces. In warmer climates, they help to push out hot air through convection. Even if you use an air conditioner at home, your attic still collects heat forcing homeowners to rely on their cooling systems more, and thereby, increasing their usage and energy costs. This effective ventilation method also ensures your home has fresh air at all times.
Here is a sneak peek of our review of the best products:
|Click to Edit||Image||Title||Buy|
|TopBest Overall||iLIVING HYBRID Solar Roof Fan||Check Price|
|Best Value for Money||Remington Solar Attic Fan - 30 W||Check Price|
|Best for Small Places||4 SEASONS Solar Fan||Check Price|
|Best Gable Mounted Fan||Amtrak Solar 50 W Fan||Check Price|
Read on to find out more…
A solar attic fan is essentially a fan that harnesses solar radiation to run its motor instead of conventional electricity sources. These fans can be installed in just a few minutes if you know what you’re doing or hire professional installation services. During the summer in which attic temperatures easily reach 160 ̊F, it expels trapped hot air from the attic, insulation, and ductwork, and pumps in cooler air from the outside. During the winter, it can help you prevent exterior cosmetic issues on your roof due to mold, mildew, and rot buildup as a result of warm air rising and condensing. The attic fan simply removes the moisture from the air to help prevent damages.
However, like all solar gadgets and equipment, attic fans are dependent on weather conditions and require plenty of sun exposure to operate efficiently. Unlike many gadgets, these fans don’t come with battery backup so you cannot use them at night.
Today, there are two types of solar attic fans you can find in the market:
1. Roof Mounted Fans
These are solar attic fans that are made for pitched or flat rooftops. You can also install these fans in your garage, workshop, room, loft, or barn. This design is popular in regions that are no stranger to hurricanes or tornados, and don’t require you to adjust the panel. More importantly, you can replace a damaged panel without necessarily replacing the entire unit.
2. Gable Mounted Fans
This attic ventilation device is mounted behind a static gable vent or an exterior wall. These solar attic fans are greater in size compared to their roof-mounted counterparts. However, they require more consideration during installation since they receive less solar radiation. As a result, they’re more suitable for open areas with small buildings.
Benefits of Solar Powered Attic Fans
The following are the main benefits of installing solar attic fans in your home:
Efficient Temperature Contol
Perhaps, the main benefit of adopting this solar device is its ability to ventilate an entire home efficiently at no cost. Depending on the quality and weather conditions, it can potentially lower your attic’s temperature up to 40°F, which is a huge relief, not just for you, but for your air conditioning unit, in terms of maintenance and operation costs.
A Great Green Initiative
Modern consumers are more eco-conscious and are looking for sustainable solutions to reduce pollution and environmental degradation. Switching to a solar attic fan is one of the cheapest ways to go green, and reduce your carbon footprint. Once you experience the difference they make, you can opt for more solar gadgets and products, such as chargers, pool covers, and panels.
Both hot and cold temperatures can damage your roof in different ways. Heat via direct sunlight damages the shingles whereas cold air can accelerate condensation resulting in water damage and mold buildup. Attic fans offer viable ventilation for any household, especially people that live in cities or towns with extreme temperatures.
Little or No Noise
Unlike conventional attic fans, solar-powered ones are super quiet, due to unique blade designs and lower motor speed. Plus, since they don’t run at night, you can sleep in peace.
Conventional fans move air much faster from the basement or ground level which can result in increased pressure of carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases in the attic. Solar fans operate at gentler speeds and steadily push out these gases. Plus, you don’t have to worry about short circuits, since they’re powered by a panel.
Not only is installing a solar attic fan pocket-friendly, in terms of cost and energy savings, you can also receive a tax credit for joining the green bandwagon by investing in solar energy. Many states offer up to 30% credit.
Things to Consider When Buying a Solar Attic Fan
If you’re ready to reap the benefits a solar attic fan can offer, here are the most important factors you need to consider before heading into the market to buy one:
1. Adjustable Solar Panels
Many solar attic fans come with a fixed solar panel, which can be a problem for angled rooftops. Not having adjustable panels can limit sunlight exposure and affect the performance of the fan. However, adjustable options are relatively more expensive so if you’re on a budget, you can still manage with fixed panels.
Fans that make a lot of noise can be a nuisance. Ideally, you should search for sound-proof fans or those with minimum noise levels. The number of blades and motor speed can also influence the sound produced. Generally, the higher the number of blades, the less air each blade has to cut through, thereby, producing less sound.
3. Construction Material
The construction material is often the most important factor you need to consider since you want to get the best value for your money. You need to ensure the solar attic fan is made of durable material that can easily last for at least two decades. In this situation, try to stick with manufacturers that primarily use aircraft-grade aluminum for the frame and blades, and stainless steel for the screen.
4. Size and Number of Fans
Choosing the right size is essential if you want the fan to do an adequate circulation job. To start, you need to measure the size of your attic by calculating its volume in cubic feet. Using this information, you can check what size of fan you need or how many fans you need to effectively ventilate the space. One fan should easily suffice for an attic between 1000-1600 sq ft, depending on its size (power) which can range from 700 to 1750 cubic feet per minute. For larger spaces, you’ll need 2 or 3 fans.
The Best Solar Attic Fans in the Market – Our Top 5 Picks
To save your time, money, and research effort, we have compiled a list of our top 5 picks of the best solar-powered attic fans using the factors above. Let’s check them out:
The Natural Light Solar Attic Fan is one of the best-selling options in the market today. It comes with a 36-watt solar panel that can provide up to 1.8 amps on sunny days to power a capable DC motor. The best feature of this attic fan is its adjustable panel which is set at 45 degrees by default but can be tilted to a flatter arrangement, depending on the optimal solar angle at that location. In terms of ventilation, it is ideal for attics covering an area up to 2625 sq feet. Another reason why this solar attic fan is making headlines is the fact that you don’t need professional help or hours to install it. Our experience is that it is good to go in under 30 minutes. In addition, it comes with a 25-year fan warranty.
- Air-tight and water-proof packing
- Straightforward installation instructions for DIY installation
- Quiet operation
- Quite bulky for its size
When it comes to cutting down cooling or air conditioning costs, the 10-Watt 4 Seasons Solar Powered Attic Fan can bring down your attic temperature by up to 50 degrees, which is great if you live in a tropical or desert region. This powerful attic ventilation system is housed by high-impact polycarbonate, which is corrosion-proof. The construction is water-tight, animal proof, anti-UV and anti-freeze. As a result, you can potentially get decades out of it depending on how well you take care of it. It also comes with a brushless DC motor, which is almost sound-proof. The manufacturer provides a 10 year warranty. We found it a pleasant surprise that the product came fully assembled.
- Low noise level
- Attractive modern design
- Easy to mount, comes fully assembled!
- Durable, insect, animal and hail resistant
- Suitable for small spaces only (up to 500 sq ft)
The Remington Solar Attic Fan is one of the most versatile options in the market, and available in different power options. Its 30-watt option is perfect for large spaces up to 2500 sq ft. Another outstanding feature this attic fan offers is its noise-dampening technology, which is perfect for attic dwellers who use the space as a bedroom, home office, or gaming room, etc. I actually saw one in operation and I can say it’s pretty silent. It only takes an hour to install and doesn’t require any professional intervention as long as you have a basic tool kit. The fan also includes a built-in thermostat and humidistat, which is great for monitoring performance. During winter, this attic fan can help reduce ice-damming.
- Great for cold climates
- Almost sound-proof
- DIY installation
- Only comes with a 12-month warranty
If you’re looking for an effective ventilation device on a budget, look no further than the Amtrak Solar Attic Fan. This highly affordable option is one of the best sellers in the market. It is powered by a high-quality 40 Watts crystalline solar panel which you can install in the gable vent, meaning you don’t have to drill a hole in your roof. It also includes a free thermostat for control and large fan blades attached to a 12V DC motor, which can easily cool a garage, shed, or living space.
- Comes with four mounting brackets and a special housing
- Easy installation
- Produces a lot of noise
The iLiving Solar Attic Fan offers the best of both worlds in terms of price and performance. It comes with a 20W adjustable polycrystalline solar panel which you can set at 15, 30, 45, or 0 degrees. The company offers a 15-year motor warranty. The fan is also waterproof. However, the best feature this solar attic fan offers is the smart thermostat control between 65-130 degree Fahrenheit that offers greater thermal protection.
- Suitable for hot and humid conditions due to waterproof housing and auto shut-off function
- 4 preset angles
- Multiple add on products available (AC/DC adapter for continuous running, on/off switch, etc).
- Suitable for up to 2000 sq ft spaces
- Requires professional installation in most cases
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions about a solar attic fan :
1. Are solar attic fans worth the money?
A solar attic fan is an inexpensive ventilation method that can provide better air circulation and make any space cooler, especially during hot summers. They only cost a few hundred dollars with installation and can help you save a lot more since they run on solar energy, making them worth every penny.
2. Are solar attic fans effective?
While a solar attic fan does not offer the same results as an air conditioning system, they are still effective in cooling the attic space. Besides, they’re cheaper to buy, install, and maintain and do not increase energy costs in your home.
3. How much is a solar attic fan?
A solar attic fan can cost anywhere between $300 to $700, depending on the brand and quality of the product. Professional installation services can charge anywhere between $100 and $200. Overall, they’re an incredibly affordable ventilation solution.
4. How many solar attic fans do I need?
The number of solar attic fans you need mainly depends on your attic size. For example, if your floor area is 150 square meters (1614 sq ft), one fan would be sufficient. For larger spaces like 300 square meters (3230 sq ft), you’d require at least 3 fans.
5. Is there a tax credit for solar attic fans?
Yes, as part of the green initiative, the US Federal government offers up to 30% tax credit on the purchase price of a solar attic fan, including its installation and maintenance. However, state initiatives differ so you’ll need to check local tax rebates based on your location.
6. Do solar attic fans save money?
A solar attic fan is powered by solar energy, which is an environment friendly, sustainable resource. Using this solution, you can save hundreds of dollars every year in utility bills while efficiently keeping your attic cool and ventilated.
7. Do solar attic fans work at night?
Panels require solar radiation to produce electricity and power the fans, which is only possible during the day. Unfortunately, most products in the market do not include battery backup. However, since your attic has been kept cool throughout the day, you don’t need to power it at night.
8. How long do solar attic fans last?
A solar attic fan typically lasts between 15-20 years depending on the quality of the panels and overall product. Regular maintenance and cleaning can also improve its lifespan, especially if you hire professionals to lubricate the oil ports and clean the shutters.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the benefits a solar attic fan can offer and how to choose the best one for your needs. While each of our top picks is a class apart from the rest and will do a great ventilation ob, the iLiving solar attic fan easily takes the cake in terms of features, cooling capacity, performance, and price. However, we recommend you gather the maximum information related to each product and technically evaluate them according to your needs before purchasing one.