Home Cooling with Solar Powered Attic Fans Works

After our recent post, Solar Attic Fans can Save Your Air Conditioner (August 11, 2011) we received some questions about the idea that blowing hot summer air out of your attic can result in a cooler house. The Broan Solar Powered Attic Fan can cool up to 1,600 square feet of attic space, running from first light, without need for a thermostat. It cools as the sun heats.
The following are responses to these critiques about solar powered attic fans :
"They suck air conditioned air from the house"
: If you have a properly constructed thermal barrier between your attic and the rest of your home there will be no air leakage. Thermal barriers are an important aspect of your house's overall construction and should be maintained. Where there is air leakage the problem is with the thermal barrier and not with the Solar Power Attic Fan. It is a main principle of Energy Efficiency efforts that you seal all air leakage in your house in order to maximize your cooling and heating effectiveness.
"They can cause back drafting"
: Once again, if your house is properly constructed, back drafting should not occur. If it does, the back drafting condition is in immediate need of repair and the Solar Powered Attic Fan is not at fault.
"They can pull bad, moldy air into the house from a crawl space or basement"
: Basements and crawl spaces that are clean and mold-free will not produce "bad moldy air." If mold and "bad air" are problems they should be addressed. Once again the problem is not with the Solar Powered Attic Fan. In fact, the Solar Powered Attic Fan will reduce mold conditions in your attic in the winter, blowing out moist attic air resulting from household water use
"They increase the likelihood of getting toxic fumes from the garage into the house"
If someone is running a vehicle in a garage for a great length of time there may be greater problems at home than an HVAC issue. And once again, the problem is with the production of toxic fumes in the garage, not with the Solar Powered Attic Fan.
These critiques have one thing in common - they use potential building conditions in need of remedy to question the value of a fan which would pull the hot air out of your attic, providing comfort and relief from the heat in your home. While HVAC contractors may see an awful lot of home defects, you should maintain your home in its best possible condition, and presumably want to avoid air leakage, mold, "bad air" and a toxic fume condition in your garage.
None of these addressable issues detract from the comfort that can be provided by allowing a solar powered attic fan to reduce the temperature in your attic without costing you a dime in electric bills. Reductions of up to 15 degrees from peak summer attic temperatures are typical, and with that much less heat radiating into your house due to the solar powered attic fan you will be more comfortable in the summer heat.
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I am a Seattle-based writer. Energy efficiency and the achievement of human potential are my goals. I have worked as a legislative aide and a database manager, and recently started building a money- and energy-saving household goods online store featuring sensible and affordable home environment solutions including ENERGY STAR qualified products. Contact: info@greenbespoke.com Twitter: @Greenbespoke @SaveWattsatHome