How Can Exhausting Your Attic Save You Money?

Heat_Moisture_sans
Courtesy of Solatube International Inc.

Why is it important to exhaust your attic?  No one goes up in the attic, and if it is hot, who cares?  Well, actually you should care because your attic can trap moisture and heat.  In turn, this heat and moisture could do damage to your house.  This will cost you money in the long run, and how much depends on the damage.

 In colder winter climates, heat from your living area can migrate up to your attic through such building items as recessed lights, which are not air tight, unsealed vent pipes from plumbing fixtures, and attic hatches.  This heat can make snow melt and cause ice dams to form, which in turn can cause water damage to your house. 

solar star

Courtesy of Solatube International Inc.

On the other hand, these same leakages from your living area in the summer or in warmer climates can cause moisture to build up in your attic creating mold and plywood delamination in your attic.

In all of my previous houses, I always had exhaust fans in the attic for the reasons mentioned above.  However, when we built our present house, we went one step further.  This house has solar exhaust fans!  I obtained prices for both exhaust fans that would run by electricity and exhaust fans powered by the sun. With installation, the prices of the two were identical.  However, in the long run, the electrical powered exhaust fan would be more expensive to run since I would have to pay for the electricity that this fan would use.

 The solar brand I chose was Solar Star by Solar Tube.   They run continuously winter or summer, the cost to run them is nothing, and if there is a power outage, they still operate.   In addition, there is no noise generated from the fans.   I have had them for three years and they still run great.

 My solar fans are on the back of my house which faces south.  There are not any trees or other obstructions that would block out the sun’s rays.

  I chose to have the solar roof exhaust fans be installed by the person who sold them to me.  He had to cut through the sheathing and roof tiles and flash around the fan.  Flashing and caulking prevents water leakage. In addition, he sized the amount of fans that I needed based upon the size of my attic. My roof was already installed when we put in the solar exhaust fans so this product is not limited to new construction.

Solar Star does have a product that is made for northern sides of a roof if installing them on the south or west side of your house would be impossible.   So, why wait for damage to your house to occur, when you can simply install solar exhaust fans in your roof? 

           


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Comments

  1. 2

    Green Talk says

    Everyone welcome my friend, Max of buildinggreentv.com. This site has some wonderful articles and worth visiting. Max is right. Many people do not realize that adding insulation to your attic will help reduce your energy bills considerably.

    He actually beat me to what I was going to post about later. There are other simple but necessary ways to lower your energy bills in the winter. Look for my post soon as cool weather approaches us.

  2. 4

    Green Talk says

    Anna, I really can’t tell you because I did not install them myself. Do you already have an exhaust fan in your roof?

    There are no wires so you basically remove some of the tiles and cut through the plywood of the roof. You must caulk around the exhaust fan to make sure no water leaks into the attic.

    You could also call a distributor in your area and find out how much the cost of the solar star and installation. It may not be as expensive as you think. Go to the Solar Tube site and put in your zip code for finding a dealer. Take for example, brighter concepts who installs solar star exhaust in the Illinois area. You can get a DIY kit for $410 or have it installed same day at $500. I am not sure if this current prices. See http://www.solatube.net/prices.shtml. Also call customer service of solar tube and ask them how difficult it is to install. It is only supposed to take 30 mins to install.

    In addition solar tube sells a gable fan with a separate solar panel. This may be easier to install.

    Let me know what you decide to do.

  3. 5

    Anna Martin says

    Thank you so much for the advice. I’ve talked to my hubby about the project and he’s keen to have this done. We will already be up in the attic adding new insulation anyway, so since we’re already up there anyway, why not!? I didn’t mention that I live in Canada! So, I’ll call solar tube to ask where they distribute. Its sounds as though it might be worth having someone install it, if its only $90.00 more or so.
    Thank you so much for your help.

  4. 6

    Loretta says

    I live in a manufactured home. Does the attic exhaust fan suppose to run continuously, even in the winter when it gets down below freezing? Wouldn’t that make my furnace run more?

  5. 7

    Green Talk says

    Loretta, the exhaust fan does run in the winter because it is solar. However, your attic needed to be properly insulated so heat does not escape into the attic. Attics are supposed to be really cold. Mine is a freezer. Take a look at my articles how to winterize your house. (http://www.green-talk.com/2007.....our-attic/)

    Since I don’t know how your house is constructed, it might be best to call the technical department of the company who manufacturers the fans and explain about your house. I gave you a link in the article of the company. Let me know what they say. If you have any trouble, then get back in touch with me. Anna

  6. 9

    says

    Technology is often at its best when it’s invisible. That’s why we’re so keen on these solar roof tiles that can be laid in by any tiler to fit neatly into any standard pitched roof. Here’s a UK company offering them and an old story we spotted on the BBC about a guy generating so [...]

  7. 10

    Sandeep@roofer says

    hi mate
    So you mean to say that the solar exhaust fan is the right solution to protect your roof in summer and winters. I have one problem, the sun facing roof is covered with trees. So do u suggest me to install the exhaust on the other side and if installing exhaust on the other side will it be effective ? Please suggest..

  8. 11

    says

    Great article my friend. Exhausting the attic is a fine way to help cool down the house by releasing trapped warm air. Also mentioned in your article is the danger that a warm and humid attic poses. Termites might find the climate perfect for breeding, and mold can also grow. Airborne mold can travel down to the living areas and pose serious health risks to the whole family.

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