Keep Your Home Cool and Energy Efficient with a Solar Attic Fan

Keep Your Home Cool & Energy Efficient with a Solar Attic Fan - Lee Company

Are you plagued with high energy bills and a stuffy home? Don’t let the oppressive Tennessee heat and humidity get you down! With the current economic climate and inflation tightening their grip on homeowners, an energy-efficient solution like a solar attic fan can be your saving grace.

A solar attic fan is an exhaust fan that uses solar energy to remove hot air and moisture from your attic. Providing steady airflow to the attic helps regulate temperatures in the home and reduces energy costs throughout the summer when running an AC or cooling system can become expensive.

In this article, we’ll dive into the many perks of solar attic fans and why you should consider installing one in your home.

Beat the heat and save money with a solar attic fan

If living in the South has taught us anything, keeping the indoors comfortable in the summer is costly. While air conditioners help keep temperatures low, they use lots of energy – making them an expensive option if you want to cut costs.

According to the US Census Bureau, residents in Tennessee pay a median monthly electricity cost of $160, with electricity accounting for about 70% of total utility costs and over 18% of total housing costs. This puts Tennessee in the number 6 spot for the highest electric bills in the country. Not a position to brag about!

And here’s the kicker — the average attic temperature in the summer can reach 150°. The hot air that is trapped in your attic causes more heat to enter your home through the attic insulation and air conditioning ducts. This makes your home uncomfortable and causes your air conditioner to work harder, resulting in even higher energy bills. The SEER rating of your air conditioner actually decreases as the operating temperatures increase.

According to the US Department of Energy, a ventilated attic is about 30° cooler than one that isn’t. That means lower energy bills for you and a more comfortable home.

Other benefits of a solar-powered attic fan

Aside from the obvious energy savings, investing in a solar attic fan has a few other benefits. From increased comfort to improved air quality and ventilation, a solar attic fan can make your home far more enjoyable.

Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from this energy-saving solution:

1. Increased comfort

Are you tired of dealing with a stuffy, humid home? A solar attic fan can help regulate the temperature and make your entire home feel more comfortable. Think of it like a sidekick to your AC unit, providing extra protection against the heat!

2. Improved air quality

Did you know your attic can be a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other harmful toxins? Americans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors, where pollutants are often higher than outdoors. By improving ventilation with a solar attic fan, you can reduce the risk of these issues and enjoy cleaner, healthier air throughout your home.

3. Prolonged roof life

Your roof takes a beating from the sun’s harsh rays, which can cause deterioration and other issues over time. If an attic is not ventilated properly, it can become extremely hot and slow the heat transfer from the roof. This can cause the roof shingles to become even hotter and buckle and deteriorate prematurely due to this excessive heat.

With the average cost of roof replacement in Tennessee ranging from $4,500 to $9,500, any measure to extend the life of your roof is worth exploring. A solar-powered attic fan can help prolong the life of your roof by reducing the amount of heat trapped in your attic, which can prevent damage to the roofing materials.

4. Easy installation

Unlike traditional attic fans, a solar-powered attic fan is incredibly easy to install. There’s no need to worry about hiring an electrician to set up a power source. Simply mount the fan and let it go to work!

5. Eco-friendly solution

Are you passionate about sustainability and finding ways to reduce your carbon footprint? Or do you dream of living off the grid, disconnected from the traditional power supply? A solar-powered attic fan is a step towards achieving those goals!

Harnessing the power of the sun, this eco-friendly solution not only regulates your home’s temperature and air quality but also contributes to a cleaner and greener environment.

6. Eligible for tax credits

When you invest in a solar-powered attic fan, you may be eligible for tax credits that can offset the cost of installation. The tax credit allows you to claim a percentage of the cost of your solar PV system on your federal income taxes, and solar attic fans that are powered by solar PV panels are included in this category.

The current tax credit rate is 26% for solar PV systems installed in 2020 and 2021, and it increases to 30% for systems installed between 2022 and 2032, after which it will gradually decrease to 22% and eventually expire in 2035. You can view all the information about this program here.

With these incentives, the decision to invest in a solar attic fan is an easy one!

*Lee Company is not providing tax advice. The content on this webpage has been prepared for informational purposes only. You should consult a tax professional if you have questions regarding federal tax credits.

How does a solar attic fan work?

If the sun is the problem, can it also be the solution? Absolutely!

Solar attic fans may look like regular roof vents, but they are much more than that. These fans work by utilizing photovoltaic (PV) cells, which capture sunlight and convert it into electricity to power the fan. This solar-powered fan draws hot air from the attic, expelling it outside and leaving you with a cooler and more comfortable home.

The PV cells are typically made of silicon, which is a semiconductor that reacts to sunlight by producing an electrical current. This electrical current is then used to power the solar attic fan motor.

Ideally, the solar panel faces south to get the most sun exposure. The more sunlight the panel captures, the more power it can generate and the faster and more frequently the fan can run.

The solar attic fan is also equipped with a thermostat that senses the temperature in the attic. When the temperature reaches a certain threshold, the fan automatically turns on to expel hot air and bring in cooler air. This helps regulate the temperature in the attic, preventing it from reaching dangerously high levels — the kind that makes you sweat like a sinner in church and spend too much on air conditioning!

Installation is relatively easy. A homeowner with basic DIY skills and the right tools can install a solar attic fan in less than an hour. But it’s best to hire a professional if you’re uncomfortable climbing on the roof or don’t have the time to do it yourself.

Solar attic fans vs. traditional electric attic fans

Are you torn between the old-school electric attic fan and the modern-day solar-powered one? It’s time to settle this battle once and for all.

Electric attic ventilation fans, although effective in reducing temperature and humidity, have their share of drawbacks:

  • Operating costs: Electric fans come with a heavy load, making running expensive. With solar fans, you can say goodbye to operating costs as they harness the sun’s energy, which is entirely free.
  • Limited operating window: To lower energy costs, many homeowners opt to install a thermostat cutoff, which reduces the fan’s operating window. While a good idea, this actually limits the fan’s efficiency in extremely hot and humid weather. The fan waits until the attic temperature reaches a certain level before switching on — and by then, it’s already too late. This results in inefficient cooling and damage to the fan.
  • Motor wear and tear: Traditional motors in electric fans wear out easily, leading to costly repairs and maintenance. The recent technological breakthrough in solar fans has led to the creation of brushless motors that can handle extended operating hours without fear of burning up your investment. These motors work quietly without distracting vibrations or humming, making them a great addition to your home.

The verdict is in! Solar attic fans are a better option than electric attic fans. Not only do they use a renewable source of energy, but they also come with long-lasting brushless motors, no operating costs, and run all day long, providing better protection and efficiency for your home.

Do solar attic fans work at night?

So if solar attic fans are powered by sunlight, does that mean they won’t work at night? Solar attic fans are not equipped with a battery to store energy, so they will not work at night. However, it’s still an open vent allowing passive ventilation so that cool nighttime air will enter the attic. And with the addition of an inverter, you can make your solar attic fan work at night.

The surprising ways a solar attic fan helps in winter

Don’t let the name fool you! Solar attic fans are not just for hot summer days. They can be incredibly beneficial during the winter season too! Here’s why:

  • Vent harmful toxins: Attics are notorious for accumulating all sorts of hazardous toxins, from dust and mold to asbestos. A solar attic fan can help mitigate the risk of storing harmful pollutants by continually venting out stale air.
  • Balance temperatures: Solar attic fans help to maintain even temperatures in your attic, which curbs condensation and prevents moisture buildup in your attic space. Keeping the attic dry prevents mold, mildew, and rot from invading.
  • Prevent ice dams: Snow and ice buildup on your roof can cause water to pool, forming ice dams. This is a major concern for most homeowners in winter. Solar attic fans help prevent ice dams from forming by keeping your attic temperatures warm. And this saves you from having to shell out money on costly repairs.

Solar attic fans are the way to go in summer, winter, or any other season! Not only are they energy-efficient and cost-effective, but they also provide numerous long-term benefits for your home.

Factors to consider when selecting a solar attic fan

Every home is unique, and every attic ventilation fan should be tailored to the specific design of each home. When selecting a solar attic fan, there are several factors that homeowners should consider:

  • The size of your attic
  • The amount of sunlight your roof receives
  • Your climate and humidity levels
  • The number of vents in the attic
  • Whether you need a roof- or gable-mounted fan
  • Your budget

It’s a lot to consider! Fortunately, Lee Company can help you evaluate these factors and select the perfect solar attic fans for your Tennessee home. Our expert technicians can install your solar attic fan quickly and efficiently, so you can start saving money on energy costs in no time. Contact Lee Company today to learn more about the benefits of solar attic fans!

Interested in installing a solar attic fan?

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