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attic fan yes or no

How do the old fans compare to the new ones in efficiency? Even if I run the AC for several days in a row. A whole-house fan is a good thing, as my article explains. A. If, instead, you choose to install a fan and pay for the electricity to run it... well... it's your choice, but that decision doesn't make any sense to me. That paper notes, "Data measured at FSEC and elsewhere show that attics with nominal natural ventilation and [at least] R-19 ceiling insulation do not need powered vent fans. A half-ton window shaker can still do a LOT of dehumidification, even if it's not keeping up with the sensible load, but the windows & exterior doors have to stay closed for it to work, since any outdoor air introduced adds to the humidity load. However, this gets back to my question about whole house fans. Q. Other than making sure all second floor ceiling insulation is air tight and there are adequate soffit and ridge vents in place, is there anything else I can do? I agree with the theory and most of the recommendations. Unlike a ventilation fan, a whole-house fan — an attic-mounted fan that exhausts air from a home at night — is designed to cool a house (that is, to lower the indoor temperature). Attic Ventilation Fans Pros And Cons Warner Roofing Inc. There can be a danger, but it depends @ jrowen42 Just use the whole-house fan when nighttime temperatures are cool and daytime temperatures are hot -- that's all you need. See the answer to your first question. A properly maintained home doesn't have cracks in the ceiling.". Yes. Another thing to remember is to cover the large attic exhaust vent in the off season. As a result, the fans increase the homeowners' energy bills during the winter. And then the main part of my roof/attic has NO ridge vent but does have gable vents on both ends. On my home this meant cutting inlet vents in the wall or garage door. If you were supplying heat to your house with electric resistance heat at a cost of $0.14/kWh, that would cost you $36 over the winter. In a house not running an ac system any air being drawn from the house is being replaced by outdoor air. To conclude from that point that ALL attic ventilation is ALLWAYS a bad thing surely can't be correct. So, I put in an attic fan to relieve the hot ceiling. Bottom line, for my unique circumstances the PAV works, a bridge to the next step. Are they normally cost effective? This has caused my AC ducts to sweat causing water damage to the ceiling. Thank you, Martin, for showing me how to do the heat-loss calculation, and providing an example. For more information on this task, see these articles: How to Insulate and Air Seal an Attic Hatch. A poorly insulated attic can result in 25% heat loss in fall and winter—that's 25 percent of your average heating costs going toward energy that won't even heat your home. The AC will not shut off. My thought was that to move air through the attic without drawing air up from the home, we wanted to create cross-ventilation through the attic. Will a gable vent fan on a thermostat truly help cool our house Increasing duct insulation is part of the plan, I have already wrapped about half of the duct work, which means I have done the easily accessible part. A. So instead creating a negative pressure with attic ventilators I am creating positive pressure. Thanks again! Learn how easy it is to install an attic fan. Before providing a simple yes or no answer to this question, you must understand that there are a couple of types of attic fans available on the market. So they worked great. If there are signs that you have a damp basement, you'll need to address those issues. Your article does a great job of outlining how this happens. So I guess there would have to be a duct from the fan discharge through the roof. Attic fans are a necessary part of every home. I live in FL, and I'm considering a fan to exhaust hot air from the attic. A more alarming problem is that powered attic ventilators can also depressurize a house enough to cause gas appliances, like water heaters and boilers used to heat domestic water, to seep hazardous gases into your home. Although the logic behind powered attic ventilators is compelling to many hot-climate homeowners, these devices can cause some problems. You can't cool a space under those circumstances without an air conditioner. The solution is to seal any air leaks in your ceiling and to add more insulation to your attic floor. I guess it would have to be pretty big, too. Moreover, it is certain that operating the new fan you want to install will increase your electricity bill, because fans use electricity. No one builds an uninsulated house any more, but you are stuck with a relic. Powered attic ventilators are usually mounted on a sloped roof or the gable wall of an attic. Will never know. Kris, Thoughts on my Tamarack + an in- and an -out attic fan solution? They are relatively low -- usually on the order of 1.5 to 4 pascals. The fan is typically mounted behind a gable-end vent, but other … This work is expensive, however. Well, to me two anecdotes are more compelling than one article, no matter how many times it's been re-written. Whole House Ventilation Note: The bottom 2 paragraphs describe the essence of the problem. But very, very few ceilings are airtight. You can adjust the assumptions to fit your own case and run your own calculations if you want. ", A. The air-intake duct is connected to a damper box containing a large hinged motorized damper blade. I have never used one, but it seems like a good system. They are inexpensive. There is nothing wrong with whole-house fans. I guess it would be like having an really expensive roof window with a box fan in it. Real or imaginary? So we cam to the conclusion that rooms get hot due to radiation that goes down from roof to ceiling. The key is to right-size it for the load, but find one that can modulate down to very low levels so that the duty cycle is quite high, even when set to 80-85F. I have an area of wall where I can install it, so I won't need any holes in the roof. A. If your attic is too hot, it isn't necessarily a problem. If it is impossible to add vent openings to your attic, then your house is not a good candidate for a whole-house fan. Verifying that the attic insulation is still there would be an important first step. The problem is not the hot attic but the ducts in the attic. We are in West-Central Florida, a couple miles from the water. As I stated on my other post. Most of these fans require an 8-10" duct. Asphalt shingle roofs last 30 or more years in Vermont, and only 15 to 18 years in Texas. The attic, apparently like most on the island, doesn't have any insulation. You admit that "The insulation on the ducts is in very bad shape." If it's getting it's combustion air from the attic it can still backdraft, but the flues are usually plastic, and pretty clean. The same can be said for any mechanical equipment in the house that is not operating correctly. The evenings and mornings here can cool down to the 50's even if the days are in the 90's, which is one of reasons grapes grow so well here. I'm sure you will tell me it's a bad idea. Don't listen to anyone that tells you new attics don't need to be inspected, or that attic access panels shouldn't be opened. Response to Green Asalep The only way be reasonably comfortable was to be in one the of rooms with the AC and have it running. It is only about 1 foot thick. Considering lower materials cost, easier fabrication, and simpler attachment and removal, I'm thinking that I would be very happy paying an extra $1-$6 per year to use an R-5 flat cover on the ceiling of the hallway. If you want to install a whole-house fan, go right ahead. Several manufacturers make whole-house fans for homes without attics. If you have radiant barrier sheathing, the temperature difference between the two spaces won't be very great, and probably won't be enough to justify the use of the fan. This conclusion isn't speculation; it's based on pressure measurements. ), weather variables, and behavioral changes. For more information, see Creating a Conditioned Attic. It would stay extremely hot inside until almost midnight, despite us having (screened) doors and windows open and ceiling fans going. Several studies show that using a power attic ventilator does not always save more electric than it uses; even in a newer home with no cracks or air seepage. An exhaust fan installed as an exhaust-only ventilation system. That makes 3. I'll be building a large garage with attic storage in NE Texas. We use ceiling fans. Response to J Wing Choosing a whole house fan attic ventilation fans pros and cons image balcony broan 1600 cfm power gable mount attic ventilator 12 best rv vent fans and covers reviewed rated in 2019 roofs effective whole roof system using ventilation. If the response is to "just run it longer" than what is the purpose of the rule of thumb, and where does the energy cost savings come from when running 3x longer than a traditional 3000 CFM fan? Clearly, you need to address your immediate problem -- sweating ducts. I guess it would have to be pretty big, too. The key is solar reflectivity and thermal emittance of the roofing material. (It seems to me there is) But a sealed attic has no vents to dump the fan air from the interior of the house. For more information, see the articles below. Since I would need only 5 or 6 of these, that seems like an optimal solution if it can be easily retrofitted using a low voltage system and I can find something relatively affordable and controlled by the thermostat rather than these products designed to zone a system. Now all I have to do is satisfy the WAF, the Wife Acceptance Factor. In the summer, you can drastically reduce the temperature in the attic, helping to lengthen the life of the roofing shingles and sheathing. Another reason I opted for the attic ventilators is that I was hoping it wouldn't create a negative pressure situation that would disrupt my gas appliances. Thanks for sharing your anecdotes. Why should whole-house fans not be installed in homes with a furnace in the attic? Several manufacturers make whole-house fans designed to be installed in insulated roofs. An attic fan will turn on automatically when the attic reaches a preset temperature. Any thoughts. I'm not sure where you are thinking of installing these "motorized registers." What is a "well-vented sub-area"? Response to David Miller The most common mistake homeowners make when installing insulation is to block the flow of air at the eaves. He said there was condensation on the trunk duct. The cost of a conditioned attic is high- it may not be worth it. And I accept your assertion that you have no financial interest in promoting powered attic ventilators. Smells are merely an annoyance. The fan pulls warm air from the interior of your home and blows it into the attic. I do have soffits. Can an attic fan offer some benefit? If you post your questions on the Q&A page, more people will see your question, and you are more likely to get answers from people who have installed a Tamarack fan. My own experience points to anecdotes showing the attic fan is beneficial. If you are required to open windows to create displacement you are adding a human element that is not acceptable. If you live in a hot-dry climate with cool nighttime temperatures, whole-house fans are a good choice for energy savings and comfort. For instance, filtering dirty air through the edges of your nice carpet and wall outlets. Don't install a powered attic ventilator, since these devices, on average, use more electricity than they save. Thanks There are also 12 ground level windows (in 3 dormers) in about 500 square feet of space. ", Insulated Rooflines and Shingle Temperatures: Your input will be appreciated. "I also had a thought about adding an intake valve in the attic sheetrock access panel.". But does work. Don't listen to anyone that You can't cover them up. For more information, see this article: "My House is Too Hot.". Some day I'll make a compromise. People who live in old, uninsulated houses make compromises all the time. Still, an example calculation for an average home in New Jersey, and another in Vermont, would be enlightening. If you are talking about air leaks through your whole-house fan, the Tamarack solution solves that. Saving energy and needing insulation is the same. If the airflow is completely unrestricted, how can there be a pressure differential? Ideally, your installer would have found a way to increase the vent openings in your attic so that a whole-house fan could be installed. An attic fan is what it sounds like—it’s a fan installed on the ceiling of your attic. Most powered attic ventilators are controlled by a thermostat so that they turn on when the attic gets hot. Whatever that is. Basement? I know there will also be the potential of the attic air pushing its way into the house through cracks as well. Tyler, Our air conditioner is near that space. Attic fan reduced my electricity bill To solve that problem, you need insulation. Putting insulation inside the attic space would likely require cutting several different access holes and probably removing the kitchen ceiling. They want to sell you a product, first and foremost. There is a ridge vent, and one turtle vent. David, Good stuff! I do think that under CERTAIN circumstances an attic fan can be beneficial. During those hottest 3 months last year our house heated up quickly in the mornings and by early afternoon it was often hotter in the house than it was outside on the decks. I plan on upgrading my R38 fiberglass batt insulation and attic venting (soffits and ridge vents) but that is $$$ with a long payoff. I have no idea why anyone with a hot ceiling would think it was easier to install powered attic ventilators than a layer of cellulose insulation. My article provides several links to studies by researchers, including researchers at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) and Advanced Energy in Raleigh, North Carolina. Response to Carlos Alvarado As I explained in my article, How to Perform a Heat-Loss Calculation — Part 2, "The heat loss formula for determining transmission losses through floors, roofs, and walls is Q = A • U • ΔT. The results of my experiments, so far, differ from this article and all the other ones that say the same thing. Jrowen42, NEVER COVER ATTIC SOFFIT VENTS WITH INSULATION use rafter vents and soffit vents to maintain airflow. Thank you Martin. When the control predicts relatively mild weather, the ventilating blower will run at a lower speed than when hotter weather is predicted. Even at 10 or 11 at night, when it was comfortable outside, turning the AC off in those rooms meant that they would quickly heat up and become very uncomfortable. The exposed area of this box is therefore 26.6 square feet for the sides, and 11.1 square feet for the top. A better use of your efforts would be to perform air sealing work on the attic floor and to install thicker insulation. Any help you can give me would be great, on both topics. Everything is easily accessible including power, I would control the fan with a switch and/or a thermostatically controlled switch in the attic. It sounds like you have galvanized ductwork. I looked on Amazon and some other review sites and there are a lot of negative reviews of the HV1000. Near Vents, Supply Grills and Registers . Many factors affect shingle longevity; shingle temperature is only one factor. Like so many other "plug in" solutions attic fans certainly have the potential to make things worse rather than better. I recently moved into a three-year-old manufactured home with a switch labelled "whole house ventilation." The bedrooms can be filled with cool air, yet the hot ceiling makes them feel like being inside a broiler. So does ventilation to the outdoors when outside is cooler than inside and purely internal air movement when it's not. My home is in the Sacramento CA area. Attic Fan (roof mounted type) and ceiling shutters ? But I was wondering if I would just be better off installing a ridge vent along that main roof/attic. Gary, The plans called for R38 in all ceilings, R19 in walls and crawlspace. Its casing is made of aluminum, and the solar panel is made of polycrystalline. This would draw cool air from the well vented subarea and pull it into the attic hopefully displacing the hot attic air and thereby cooling the attic without creating negative pressure. It is noisy, but pretty powerful, and we try to remember to take advantage of the drop in temps at night. The consideration is that a powered attic ventilator will alleviate some of the heat load on the top floor of your home, whereby providing an energy savings from reduced use of your air conditioning system. Mike, Also, a local home center suggests closing off the other gables and forcing the air to recirculate through the soffit vents. It's sad, but it's true. advanced search: by author, subreddit... this post was submitted on 09 Aug 2019. There are even some Kickstarter ventures that have products on the verge of release. No point in the insulation alone, once cellulose is in it is a pain in the butt working around it. Attic has a light colored roof and is well ventilated with extensive eave venting, eyebrow vents, gable end vents and two turbine vents. "Will the old covered up soffit vents continue to work?". In fact it is quite rare for an asphalt shingle roof to last 30 years in Vermont. This can create a potentially hazardous condition for your family. If your space heating costs were only 1/2 the cost of electric resistance heat -- a more likely scenario -- the difference in R-values would cost you $18 over the winter. I don't recommend the use of fans to depressurize or pressurize your attic. Where? It would also reduce heat gain into A/C ducts in the attic, a standard practice in older homes. These fans should be supplied and installed by licensed contractors. There are many different types of attic fans, as well as different sizes to accommodate a variety of home needs. I've found two sites that recommend them if you have no AC and others saying there's almost always a bad idea. 2. Derek, A. I can get a roof mounted power attic vent fan that is 1400-1600 CFM. Outdoor shady spot under your grape arbor? That should solve your immediate problem. Living the the San Fernando Valley in the summer we would often run the AC for a few hours during the later part of the afternoon and then switch to the whole house fan once the temp outside fell below the AC set point. In most cases, a whole-house fan is mounted in the attic floor, above a rectangular grille in the ceiling of a central hallway. Other factors have not changed. Even though a manufactured cover costs more, it is far easier to install. The west-facing stucco wall routinely gets over 100F, even on days where the outside temperature never gets above 75F, and radiates heat into the house for hours. After all, you should have a thick layer of insulation on your attic floor to isolate your hot attic from your cool house. In the U.S., this type of fan makes more sense in the arid West, rather than in the more humid Eastern part of the country. Over 5 months, that would total 878,400 Btu, or 257 kWh. You don't mention whether your house has an atmospherically vented gas water heater. Asphalt Shingles BTW, I live west of Philadelphia, PA. This past summer,a major outdoor renovation forced me to disconnect the condensing units from the central A/C, leaving me with just the small window unit. Fans connected to thermostats can be placed at gable end openings to draw hot air out of the attic space when temperatures reach a preset level. However, the cost was prohibitive, so I installed an attic fan. Moisture, though, is the real problem since it can create potentially hazardous mold and mildew, eating away at your walls, ceiling, and trim. Bathrooms are wet, smelly places that often are closed-in and unventilated. However, this option still leaves me with a heat loss nightmare in winter. Green, Other Solutions If this hot, humid air contacts your cold ducts, you'll get condensation -- just like you will on the exterior of a cold can of beer or soda that you remove from the refrigerator on a hot, humid day. 1. I was not asking about "whole house fans". LESLIE: And they’re not blocked by any insulation or …? Most attics are dry and mold-free. This is less than a third of the surface area of the R-26 coffin in your example. The air leaks that I have addressed, and still working on, are already paying dividends. I can change this set-point, however I'd like to avoid having the ventilator run constantly. The first steps to addressing a damp basement are to make sure that you have roof gutters connected to conductor pipes that carry the roof water to a location far from your foundation, and to adjust the grade around your foundation as necessary so that the soil slopes away from the foundation in all directions. Position switches on windows or automatic inlet dampers, something is needed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. The whole house fan worked great in rapidly reducing the interior temperature of the house so that we rarely require the a/c to kick on. I'm in the position where there is HVAC equipment installed in the attic of a South Florida home I just purchased. Roof ventilation won't help much. Insulation can reduce the rate of heat flow from the outdoors to the indoors. A large portion of the problems I find in new construction homes occur in the attic. Dear Advisor. TOM: Yeah. 6,664 Posts #8 • Feb 16, 2017. Hi Martin - find your whole site very interesting (had visited reading about passive house and solar water/voltaic before) and almost thought my question would be answered in another comment above since the guy was also in Kauai but it was not. I'm hoping to learn whether I should be using this ventilation system in conjunction with my air conditioner, or if it is only useful for spring and fall when I can open my windows, or whether it should never be switched on in my climate. (They are cheap and not hard to DIY install properly.). I think so under some very specific circumstances. Response to Martin Holladay and Dana Dorsett One way to try to figure it out is to turn on the switch on a quiet day and listen for a motor coming on. If the air handler is located in the attic, the air intake grille can be mounted in a gable, in a doghouse dormer, or at the top of a false chimney. Q. We could get R-5 out of an inch of a high-quality foam. That would be equivalent to trying to air condition the outdoors. Turbine fans have no … Attic fans are a bad idea in general, but especially if you have AC. Response to Gary Seifer First things first. We are still waiting on that estimate to arrive three days later. We have no AC, and the only insulation is in the crawl spaces at the sides (since the room is half ceiling, which is directly underneath the roof). I was thinking of adding buying a floor fan for the garage but thought of an idea. (Your vented attic is basically outdoors.) Response to J Wing Take a look at all those cooling fins. I'm not sure whether this term refers to what you call whole house fans or something else. My wife is on blood thinners so she is always cold/ even though I want the AC on. In what year were those studies written? It is interesting that asphalt single warranties are based on having attic ventilation to code or the warranty is voided. Strip off all of the deteriorated insulation and throw it away. This happens were the two levels of the house meet. Thanks very much for your comment. Slenderman Horror Games. Gary, A. 5 points (100% upvoted) shortlink: remember me reset password. In theory, if your ceiling is perfectly airtight, you could limit or eliminate depressurization problems. If you want to cool your home at night, when the outdoor air is cool, then you need a whole-house fan, not a powered attic ventilator. I imagine this hole would need to patched. Since the desert southwest is prime territory for whole house fans and a common building style is flat roofs with either no attic space or very minimal, non-accessible attic space, what is an appropriate detail for installing a whole house fan? I realize I may have gotten green-washed & duped by the cheaper price! Used only 15-20 minutes at a time (as reported) would yield pretty low average efficiency, probably at lower efficiency& more energy use than a half-ton window unit that runs several hours per day, keeping up with the humidity. If there is no ductwork or HVAC equipment up there, who cares how hot it gets? Response to David Jones However, if you really care about shingle temperatures, the best solution is clear: choose white shingles! Asphalt is a great material for absorbing solar radiation and has poor thermal emittance. A. Mark: Yes, using fans to put positive pressure in the house would eliminate pulling conditioned air into the attic, but if the ceiling has leaks, you've now turned the problem from exfiltration to infiltration and are pushing hot attic air into the house. I have corrected my earlier comment. If the attic fan increases the comfort level of the house, it may be worth it. Are they worth it? (we hope the amount of air being exhausted through the attic floor is minimal because the house is air sealed). After reading your article, I'm wondering how the Tamarack would work if I had NOT installed the attic fans. "Since the desert southwest is prime territory for whole house fans and a common building style is flat roofs with either no attic space or very minimal, non-accessible attic space, what is an appropriate detail for installing a whole house fan?". Response to Lesley Matson And get the same effect (as a WHFan) , like my fathers house. I did not want to cut a hole in the ceiling for an exhaust vent as this opens up code issues (fire dampers) that complicate the design. Q. If you've done that, you don't have to worry about attic ventilation. I spent some time researching the Tamarack HV1000 after the author's recommendation. We have no AC installed. I read a little about back-drafting and other things of the sort. My 7 Pros Cons Of Attic Vent Fans Yes Or No Home. The soffit vents are kept open from being blocked by insulation with rigid foam baffles between rafters inside the attic. In addition the the article that Charlie suggested, you may want to read this one: Prevent Ice Dams With Air Sealing and Insulation. Are they noticeably quieter? As part of this construction I installed a small, 350 cfm, exhaust fan in the sidewall of a skylight well which was both unobtrusive and the high point of the house. The small window unit is plenty to keep the house comfortably cool. My experience has taught me to think beyond articles like this one. Also note that when the AC is on, stack effect causes a house to pull air from the attic. Interesting article. It is one story with an attic space. Well, it's possible that it will lower the attic temperature a few degrees. Turned out it had no power to it ...which I figured out when we were in the midst of a major remodel/addition. In other words, the rate of heat flow through a building assembly (in Btu/h) is equal to the area of the assembly (in ft²) times the U-factor (in Btu/ft² • hr • F°) of the assembly times the ΔT (in F°).". Cooling attic from subarea Regardless of the insulation level there is always a benefit (in the summer) to a cooler attic. He can do some things well, but can’t do anything really well.". The space is more friendly for air handlers located there. "I read a little about back-drafting.". Garage batts look thinner, perhaps R19 and not as well placed. We have ceiling fans in 4 rooms that work wonders. We put two in our attic, one of those solar roof vent fans, one a gable fan, and it does wonders for the attic temperature. He said the same thing. In both of my anecdotes, the human beings felt that the cost in money, time, work, and hassle would not have sufficient return in comfort. Homeowners should avoid them like the plague. Radiator FAN." For more information on different ways to insulate a cathedral ceiling, see How to Build an Insulated Cathedral Ceiling. The previous owners had installed a whole house fan, but never insulated the attic beyond 6" batts between the joists, and nothing under part of the attic. To ask your home improvement questions contact: Q. I was just looking for a solution to vent the night-time heat gain that piles up throughout the house between the hours 5pm & 9pm. What do you think, I have not seen this solution discussed here? And, yes, unfortunately the AC equipment and ducts are in the attic. If you know how to inspect an attic for air leaks, the first step is to spend a few days in your attic sealing air leaks. Most experts don't see any advantages to turbine vents (or whirligig vents). Published by Saum Hadi. Additionally, the hot ceiling effect was alleviated. Do You Need an Attic Fan If You Have a Ridge Vent?. My garage was much cooler this summer and my home AC bills dropped, with caveats. This applies to whole house fans as well. Do you have actual references? Attic ventilation-Useful or not-icicles on gutter Just for fun, here's a photo I took at a 2004 built Minneapolis townhouse - yes, this attic was completely uninsulated. But it is senseless to run a counterproductive electrical appliance (the attic fan) if that appliance is just adding to your electrical load -- especially when the benefit is much smaller that the added cost from running the fan. Do I install a whole-house fan, but duct it out through the roof? A. Moreover, if you use a powerful fan for your proposed pressurization, the fan will quickly remove all of the cool air from the crawl space, and the fan will be pressurizing the attic with hot air drawn from unknown sources, but probably from outdoors. Yes, I do. The advent of smart and automated homes are increasing the availability of these products, I just need to find the right system and products, I only need 6 of these smart registers or duct dampers. Dan, On the third point, the jury is still out. The potential for hazardous conditions is elevated in homes utilizing power exhaust fans during the summer when gas appliances are on at the same time the fan is on. What studies? In your next case -- a hypothetical house without any AC -- does an attic fan make sense? If that doesn't work, climb up in your attic and look for a whole-house fan. I have seen motorized registers that operate as part of a zoning system, I need to find some, that will open as the a/c system starts. Warm, humid indoor air is leaking out of your house and into your attic through ceiling cracks. On the middle level (living room/kitchen)(this section of the house has a semi catherial ceiling) . Is this a good situation for a whole house fan? The article says of R-5, "Clearly, that’s not enough insulation." They depressurize the house and cause your AC to work even more to cool all the infiltrating air, not to mention the considerable energy the fan itself uses. Energy regulations for new equipment phased out standing pilots as of 2012, but that was the industry standard type of furnace ignition 20+ years ago. The idea is to save energy by reducing the run time of your air conditioner by keeping the attic cooler. You are living in a poorly designed house. Wiring and plumbing penetrations of the framing were generally not caulked, but since there are two layers of insulation across the the attic, I hope that will be enough to restrict penetration of the ceiling envelope and that cooler air forced into the bottom of the attic will force warmer air to be pushed through the higher eyebrow and gable end vents rather than through the any penetrations in the framing, the path of least resistance. Make sure that each duct seam is sealed with mastic. If the windows are open in the house there is no "cooling penality" to having some air exhausted from through the attic. I live in Arkansas; our summers are hot and humid and our winters not too cold. Since I've already wasted $1050 for the two attic ventilators, do you think there's a way I could extend the wiring & install an indoor manual controller on the two ventilators & open the access hatch into the attic fully & just turn the ventilators on once it has cooled off outside? Response to Gary Seifer Electric is about 40 cents/kWh in Kauai so I started looking at solar attic fans because the whole house fans seem to consume so much energy and ended up here (very few non-manufacturer sponsored opinions out there on this topic) There is almost always a decent breeze so maybe one of those non powered turbine type fans? I'm not in favor of any attempt to use fans to try to change the temperature of the attic -- whether the fans are used to depressurize the attic (as typical powered attic ventilators do) or to pressurize the attic (as you propose). Click here to see a website with many inexpensive models of whole-house exhaust fans for flat roofs. Response to Fan Installation I certainly appreciate the information, as I appreciate all information provided by GBA readers. Outdoor dew points reach the 70s F in MI in the summer, making it uncomfortable indoors even at less-than-torrid indoor temperatures. It's cheap and it doesn't require any electricity to run. It seems like the primary argument against using an attic fan is that it could cause a pressure difference, and cause cooler air to be sucked into the attic from the living space. Once you get your attic floor insulation up to the minimum code level (R-30 in Florida), it really doesn't matter very much what your attic temperature is (with the usual proviso: you shouldn't have any ducts or HVAC equipment in your attic). There’s a lot of confusion surrounding attic fans. Response to Gary Seifer Attic Duct Sweating Thanks, Response to Rusty Tools (Comment #106) Read the other comments on this page, or do some Googling -- you can buy a whole-house fan that is designed to be mounted in a sloped roof assembly. There was at one time a whole house fan but at some point it was replaced with an air handler in the attic with hard duct. A sealed-combustion furnace might be able to operate, but I still wouldn't recommend the experiment. Answer + 5 Answered Gets super hot from June to September in Oklahoma. You either want one or you don't. The house has an old non working power attic vent fan. Make sure that there are sheet-metal screws in each duct seam. Not staying in the house long enough to make the investment worthwhile? Utilizing this type of fan in our area will introduce potentially humid and unfiltered exterior air into your home. Your plan to install an interior cover should work fine. During an average summer the outdoor air's dew point is above 65F about 1/3 of the time, and above 70F about 10% of the time, but there will be days-long periods when it's above 70F for the majority of hours, which is pretty uncomfortable. Response to Carlos Gonzalez "Do the new fans come with an outside temp sensor to coordinate with the AC?". That's good. I called an air conditioner repair man. A right-size mini-split will cost a LOT less than a conditioned attic, and a good one will operate at twice the as-used efficiency of a typical oversized central air conditioner, even if the ducts were inside the insulation & pressure boundary of the house. (Surely, MUCH more air can be drawn through the soffits than a single fan could ever hope to draw.) A properly maintained home doesn't have cracks in the ceiling. If you believe that your house has a hot ceiling during the summer, the solution is not a powered attic ventilator. Shingle color is a very strong determinant of shingle, sheathing, and attic temperature. Dana: I'm actually not sure if it has a standing pilot or electronic ignition, but I'm pretty sure it's getting combustion air from the attic. Most attics are vented; for years, this was required by code. In short, on the basis of currently available information, attic ventilation is only marginally beneficial to shingle durability. Subscribe to It’s up to you to find your way out of this creepy place! Is that correct? That statement is only true during the summer. Most who have them "get it" when I explain that conditioned air is pulled up out of every ceiling penetration. If the existing ducts are in very bad shape and aren't worth saving, you could remove and discard all of the exiting attic ductwork are replace the ducts with new insulated flex duct. If you do, indeed, have R-38 insulation on the garage ceiling, the temperature of your garage attic should be irrelevant. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/20). In addition, my garage is so hot that I cannot comfortably work in there. construction details. This seems like an approach that could also limit depressurization. Homeowners should always consult with licensed professionals, check a contractor's license through the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (call 311 for information) and ensure that their project complies with NYC DOB regulations before embarking on any home improvement project. If the attic is 115-140 degrees and I push 80-100 degree exterior air into the attic, I will monitor to see how much of a difference it makes. I don't think that the fans you have make any sense, especially if they are controlled by attic temperature. @ Jrowen42 In the case of my house, it is impossible to lay down another layer of insulation. The insulation on the duct is in very bad shape. If the attic fan keeps the house cool enough so that the owners leave the AC off, there is almost certainly an energy benefit. I am not arguing in favor of powered attic ventilation fans, but I just favor some clarity with regards to the general topic of attic ventilation (passive or wind/solar driven) vs. insulation. We have a pretty good AC system that we only run occasionally through the day to remove humidity and generally cool the air to maintain reasonable comfort - probably 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Take effective measures to prevent ice dams, including adding sufficient attic insulation. Yes, air movement can cool hot objects, but there are some significant differences between a radiator fan and a powered attic ventilator. Thank you! I'll get some temp readings, from the attic space and garage. [Website link deleted by editor]. Tom Shizenhausen. Can you advise me? But after reading your article, I don't know that we need an attic fan because we should have a whole house fan. whole house 'attic fan' He said he would have to get someone else to look at to see how to fix the problem. That 20,000 kWh would go a long way toward operating a pair of thermostatically controlled, powered attic ventilators (operated off the same thermostat) that had fans both blowing air into and out of the attic, through gable vents, with a balanced pressure so that air was not sucked through the ceiling of the house. Radiator FAN." In addition to providing nighttime ventilation cooling, the NightBreeze system provides year-‘round whole-house ventilation. I should have made that clear. Standard duct insulation consists of fiberglass insulation with a polyethylene jacket. Response to Rusty This approach can be supplemented by adding more insulation on your attic floor. In North TX and OK (where wife grew up, and West Texas attic fans were great. Whole house fans are best suited for dry climates, such as ours, where the temperature drops down at night. I've measured attic temperatures with various types and amounts of attic venting and there is really little effect that can be detected with venting on attic temperature. worked pretty well and was an obvious choice before the family had central AC. All this and trying to massively conserve water and reuse water where possible. Take your pick. Right now the registers are closed manually and I will reopen when I next turn on the a/c at the thermostat, but that is not a long term solution. If all else fails, hire an electrician to come to your house and figure out what the switch is hooked up to. If I do it, I figure a few mornings and $200-300 since I can do it myself. I want to address this issue so I am exploring solutions. Our fan is probably 20+ yo. Attic Fans Again Response to Brite Niezek The answer depends on the insulation details (and the airtightness details) of your ceiling assembly. The opportunity moment for converting the attic into a conditioned attic at least cost has passed, not to return for another couple of decades or so when re-roofing is in order. Damper leakage is minimal — at 25 Pascals, it’s about 1.4% of total fan flow. Even when whole-house fans seem to make sense in your home, they may not be a smart choice due to the following; if your home is located in a neighborhood where open windows may be a security issue; whole-house fans create a big hole in your ceiling which is likely to create a lot of heat loss during the winter, whereby increasing your heating costs; whole house fans are noisy; and lastly, when whole-house fans are used they can cause atmospherically vented appliances located inside your home to back draft, like a gas-fired water heater; whereby potentially creating a carbon monoxide issue. When I called the attic fan company I'd intended to get 1 whole-house fan installed, however when the installer came out we realized that the upstairs of my home had a separate roof that wasn't connected to the lower level roof, so he said I would need an attic ventilator on the lower roof. What would be wrong with replacing the power attic fan. And the few times I use my AC. I was thinking of installing one in my house, but our furnace is in the attic. I'm trying to make second floor bedrooms in an old brick colonial tolerable during a Michigan summer. I don't recommend the use of solar-powered attic fans, but logical arguments aren't always enough to dissuade homeowners from buying and installing them. Great post still! I didn't think much of it...seemed quiet enough. Do not place smoke alarms closer than 3 feet from any furnace or A/C supply and return grills or registers. Yes, installing an attic fan raises the electric bill. But the outdoor air is the source of the moisture -- so that proposed solution is clearly counterproductive. If the furnace has a standing pilot ignition high cfm fans can blow out the pilot. The question is if the house, including the attic, is very well insulated is there a application for an attic fan. Attic fan installation in a hot attic can help make your attic cooler and also reduce the temperature in the rooms below. After all, the cellulose insulation doesn't require any electricity. The other option seems to be SIP above the roof. And I suppose that even if we're really careful with it, we couldn't guarantee that the next owners would be just as careful if we sell the house. "And what's what the 'tight ceiling' claim over and over again? see the search faq for details. With a semi catherial ceiling on the middle floor ( house is about 1900sf). Your account raises several questions. Tom, If air is drawn in through the ridge vent while it’s raining, it might pull rainwater in with it, which could lead to leaking or mold in the attic. Whole-house fans are sometimes confused with ventilation fans that provide fresh air. Response to Kelly Jones So, for example, going from R-30 to R-38 insulation is the equivalent of lowering the attic temperature by 15 deg F (assuming starting point of 150 F attic temp and 78 F interior temp). I have not tested attic temperature. Attic power vent heat and moisture ventilation solution attic power vent heat and moisture ventilation solution 5 ways spray foam insulation impacts hvac performance pv heating best setting for your central ac thermostat swan plumbing . Yes, as the insulation level increases the potential benefit from the fan decreases. The high efficiency PAV I purchased from a reputable CA company worked for me. Will they cool the home? During the winter In the middle (livingroom/kitchen) section I will get some ice dams . The Best Attic Fans Options For Home Ventilation Bob Vila. Solar Attic Fans are easily managed and fixed and a great product for proper attic ventilation. There certainly shouldn't be enough heat flow downwards through the R-38 ceiling to cause any problems in your garage -- certainly not enough to merit the installation of a powered attic ventilator. Tamarack fans have been around for years, and have a good reputation. A powered attic ventilator (attic fan) has a different purpose: it is designed to lower the temperature of an attic by exhausting hot air from the attic and replacing attic air with outdoor air through roof vents. So are the gable vents enough or should I install ridge vents? Thanks for the article. General Discussion - Solar attic fan Yes or No? Rusty, We live in a very hot and humid tropical area. Typically whole house fans are used at night to bring in the cooler air and then windows are closed from early morning until evening, so that the cool air inside the house doesn't escape. Related . Discussion Starter • #1 • Mar 3, 2012. replacing retro fit attic installed undersized ac in a 48 year old brick with adequate wall insulation old wood good shape andersen windows and minimal attic insulation very well shaded lot. Does the whole house fan allow for adequate air circulation even in the winter to prohibit mold growth? Even if your anecdotes are accurate in all details, and even if you have no financial interest in promoting powered attic ventilators, two anecdotes aren't convincing. The first step would probably consist of installing some attic insulation. Response to Jrowen42 Hannah, This popular and premium vent is a favorite among seasoned road trippers and fans of the open road for several reasons. So you’re kind of not achieving the attic ventilation you want there. Donald Pagano, President - DRP Electrical Contracting. I also have a well insulated attic floor. Here is a link to an article describing the work: Creating a Conditioned Attic. Alas, air doesn't pay any attention to the smart arrows in illustrations. The type of problem you are describing is almost never related to attic venting -- except in the sense that a ridge vent can actually make your problem worse. We have a 2-story 2600 sq ft home, and installed the EXCELLENT Tamarack Ghost along with two attic fans, thermostat controlled, one blowing air out of the the attic, and one blowing air in (against the advice of my electrician, who wanted both blowing air out). If not for them, we would rarely need a/c. if late in the afternoon the house temps rise above the outdoor air temps there is actually a cooling benefit. But the house is incredibly comfortable. After reading your article it looks like we shouldn't get the powered attic ventilator that our friend was talking about. Increase your ventilation area, or consider a different solution. The normal solution to the problem you describe is to install adequate insulation -- and to make sure that it is installed well. attic fan but with no attic Again, keeping other things equal to your example, this would give us a seasonal cost difference of roughly $6. One mistake in the remodel was installing the furnace and duct work in the attic and heat is transferred from the attic to the ducts and then to the house. (No heating or AC in most houses there built by people not transplanted from the Mainland) Or would adding attic insulation be a better idea? That should solve your problem. I just cover the boxes completely rather than fussing with perimeter gaps and box knockouts. I live in central Florida and have a 5000 sqft roof over conditioned and non conditioned parts of the house. © 2020 Advance Local Media LLC. Q. Even so, there are areas where the ceiling is less than 10" from the roof, so not much room for insulation. Yes. Consider an attic fan, especially if you turn the A/C off during the day. No ridge vent or vented soffits. 2 Posts . Your thoughts? e.g. A room dehumidifier doesn't really help either- it just turns the latent heat of vaporization of the water it is removing into sensible heat (= higher temperature air). Consider a less-expensive solution that may have some drawbacks. Other Types of Vents. One last thought, attic ventilation is not there to get rid of heat, it is there to get rid of excess moisture accumulating from the home. This pressure balance improvement (and the cooling provided by the air flow) are most significant in the case of a leaky ceiling. To answer your questions: (a) No, I have never installed a Tamarack fan, and (b) I have no affiliation or financial relationship with the manufacturer (and neither does GBA). My 7 Pros Cons Of Attic Vent Fans Yes Or No Home Inspector. We still believe this is a good idea. My understanding is that it is possible that my attic is too hot (I have adequate insulation since I added some prior to new roof and new gutter install. If I don't depressurize the attic and I don't have leaks, what is the downside? Our house is total electric. 2018 Best Solar Attic Fans Pricing And Reviews Ohmhome. Even with this, we do not often use the a/c, the ceiling is insulated with R-30 between the joists with an additional R-13 or R-19 run across the ceiling joists giving a total of about R-45. Get free shipping on qualified No Yes Attic Fans or Buy Online Pick Up in Store today in the Building Materials department. Like so many other "plug in" The polyethylene jacket is an essential part of the system -- it blocks air and moisture flow from the attic air. Micah, Attic ventilation does not deserve the attention it has received in relation to shingle durability.” If your clients prefer cool shingles to warm shingles, the amount of ventilation behind the sheathing is far less important than the shingles’ color; so advise them to choose white shingles. Just as a note : We usually only run the AC when it is so hot that we just have to (which is not often). A ridge vent is an opening along the ridge of your roof that allows air to enter the lower eves of your attic to naturally take hotter air from the attic up through the ridge vent using natural convection. What if I could kill 2 birds with one stone and installed a whole house fan in the garage ceiling to draw in air (albeit warm air, but air movement nonetheless) to the garage and at the same time push the same 90 degree air into the attic to replace the 130 air that is up there. When I was about 16 my father installed an Attic power vent fan. Building a new house? In the meantime, we got another air conditioning person to come out on Friday. As you suggest, lay persons are jumping into PAV's without doing proper research and the on line vendors are not helping with this problem. The opening to the attic from the garage has been left open, and the attic fan is quite nearby the opening, so obviously we're pulling outside air directly into the attic. If it does, depressurizing your attic with the attic fan is risky, even if the garage door is open. Your argument rests on three legs. You investigate, and discover R-19 insulation that is "not well placed.". Are you at home with the A/C on all day? Sad that we have to go to these lengths after building with black roofs. thanks Furnaces & air handlers in attics are inherently inefficient even in the best case scenarios and maybe it's worth re-assessing, even if it has a lot of service life left. The physics say that a lower attic temperature (at the same dew point) will cause even more duct condensation. Finally, it's worth pointing out that there are many climates where three months of air conditioning is totally normal. Solar-powered attic fans hold a strange fascination for many homeowners, especially homeowners who are worried about their attic temperature. Best ventilation is open soffit venting to a open vented ridge-vent. Whats wrong with a large CFM attic power vent fan (say 1400-1600 CFM) and a set of ceiling shutters ? If your house has an unvented conditioned attic, then your attic is just another room in the house -- just like a bedroom in a finished attic. But all of the soffit area is covered with solid ventless soffit. SCOTT: No, I’ve checked most of that. There are soffit vents but no ridge vents. "In order to pull in enough outside air to cool the house at night, the NightBreeze requires a large exterior intake grille — usually about 3’x3’ (assuming the grille has 50% free area). Instead, you want a whole-house fan that is run when the outdoor temperatures are low -- not when the attic is hot -- and you want that fan to have a wall-mounted switch that you can control. The negative pressure created by the attic fan causes carbon monoxide to feed back into your home, rather than exhausting up through your chimney. 3. In those circumstances, insulation doesn't help. Yesterday the temperature in ducts reached 100 degrees when the exterior temperature was 88, so I realized the problem was worse than I thought. Bought a house with a whole house fan Yes, a mistake to install the HVAC system in the attic, but given job restraints I would probably do it again but wrap the ducts with more installation at the install. ", Q. There was one large flaw with the fan though, while the large fan duct was insulated and it had a damper on the end that exhausted to the attic, the heat build up in the attic caused heat to flow back into the house and would noticeably warm the house during the day. I currently open the downstairs door and stick a box fan in an upstairs window and it cools off in 5 or 6 hours. 2. The attic over living space is indeed R38, 10-12 inches thick and well placed. Yes Yes It will probably die regularly, but they are cheap. (You can certainly argue that the cost of electricity to power the fan outweighs the comfort benefit). This increase in your electric bill is especially guaranteed in homes without AC (because there is no possibility that running the fan might decrease electricity devoted to AC). TheDoc46 said: yes attic is vented thru vents in the soffits. The rule of thumb in the article (CFM/3) suggests that at 1000 CFM, the HV1000 is only adequate to cool 333 square feet of building space. We're not planning to move it right away. In our case it was a louvered opening about 30in square that we covered with a plywood piece every September or the attic would get really cold. It's hard to know what a switch labeled "whole house ventilation" controls. The Tamarack Technologies HV1600 whole house fan requires no maintenance and has an R-50 insulated doors, which, when not in use, form an airtight seal between your attic and living space.

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