Upstairs bedrooms and attics can sometimes struggle to beat the heat, especially in those hot summer months. You’ve heard of attic fans, you’ve maybe even used them in the past. Electric attic fans have been common tools to help handle the heat for a number of years. And of course there is the more expensive air conditioner, as well as the newer air conditioner dehumidifier combo. More recently, the solar attic fan has come to market and we have all the need to know details!
What is the difference between an electric attic fan and a solar attic fan? What type of solar powered fan will work for you? Let’s delve into facts and information about these units.
- Summary & Comparison Table
- What is a Solar Attic Fan?
- Reviews – The 6 Best Solar Powered Attic Fans
- How Are Solar Powered Attic Fans Installed
Summary & Comparison Table
We’re going to cover the top 6 solar powered attic fans on the market. The following table will be a great reference point for you to come back to as you have questions or want to compare basic information between the fans. This table also has links to take you to directly purchase a fan when you are ready.
Solar Powered Attic Fan
Air Flow Capacity
What is a Solar Attic Fan?
Attic fans circulate warm air out and exchange it for cool air. The fan, when it works effectively, will keep your attic or upper area rooms from getting excessively hot. This will help keep the rest of your home cool while reducing overall energy costs because your cooling system will not have to work as hard to keep up.
Solar-powered attic fans do the job of a typical attic fan, but they operate wholly on solar power, rather than using electricity. The ability to use solar power rather than electricity is another great way to save money on those electric bills. The solar attic fan operates on a continuous cycle to circulate the hot, stale air out and exchange it to cool the air in the attic.
Solar powered attic fans are considered safer overall. These units are less likely to cause carbon monoxide gases to pull into the home than electric attic fans. Electric attic fans also consume energy and could affect your electric bill, while solar powered units are free to operate after they are purchased and installed.
Solar powered units measure their cooling capacity in CFM, which stands for cubic feet per minute. This is the anticipated rate at which the unit you purchase will be able to exchange and cool the air in your attic.
If your home has more than 1,000 square feet, it is recommended that you install 2 or 3 solar powered attic fans for the best overall results. These fans, while energy efficient will work better for smaller areas, but multiple units pair together well. It is possible that if you purchase an Energy-Star rated solar attic fan you could qualify for a tax credit amounting to 30% of your purchase cost.
Reviews – The 6 Best Solar Powered Attic Fans
Solar powered attic fans are simple to understand the basic concept. Most likely you are already somewhat familiar with attic fans, but could still use further information. We’ve shared with you the basic concept of how these solar units work. In this section, we will break down our top 6, with all of the pertinent information regarding our pick, including the pros and cons to be aware of!
The Natural Light 36-watt solar attic fan is one of the industry’s top solar unit options. All necessary installation equipment is included with the fan. This 36-watt unit cools at an average of 1,628 CFM and can cover an area of about 2,600 square feet.
The Rand Solar Powered Attic Fan is a gable-styled attic fan that operates at 30-watts at approximately 1911 CFM. This unit comes fully set with a thermostat and all necessary installation equipment. The gable is adjustable to catch the best angle for solar power.
This Amtrak Solar Powered attic fan is a powerful galvanized steel unit that operates on 40-watts at 1,300 CFM. The unit operates quietly and effectively and also works to reduce moisture levels in the area. The unit has a gable-style solar panel that attaches to the roof and a 14-inch fan to attach to a gable vent.
The Ultra-Low Profile unit operates on 24-watts at 1,339 CFM. The unit is designed to effectively cool a 2,100 square foot area. This unit has a small, modern design that is not large and wieldy on the roof. The make of the unit is not as hard on the roof as some units can be.
The Broan Solar Attic Vent operates on 28-watts of solar power, with a rate of 537 CFM. The unit is a one-piece small unit with a sleek appearance. This Broan unit has simple installation and works well for large-sized areas.
The Eco-Worthy Ventilator gable unit operates on 25-watts for the fan and 30-watts for the gabled solar unit at 1,960 CFM. The unit is lightweight and easy to install, despite its size. This unit comes ready to install and use. The wiring is already complete and ready for total installation.
How Are Solar Powered Attic Fans Installed
Most solar powered attic fans are self-installed. They do require some care as you install them. As you can see from the above reviews and descriptions, some models are installed directly into a hole in your roof, while some models have a solar powered gable that sets on top of your roof or is attached to an exterior wall.
Many of these solar powered units do not come with instruction manuals but offer downloadable instructions as well as instructional videos on the manufacturer’s websites. Because they are relatively simple to install, you may be able to install without the instructions. If you are unsure about installation, you can hire someone to help install your unit.
Summary & Conclusion
There are many different styles of solar powered attic fans – from large solar panels with fans for gabled vents to small, modern designs. It is important you determine what will work best for your home. These units can even have a positive effect on the winter months as the solar power allows them to effectively circulate unnecessary moisture out of your home.
While many of the aforementioned units boast square foot coverage of more than 2,000 square feet, it is highly recommended that if your home exceeds 1,000 square feet you consider installing multiple units for maximum efficiency. It is recommended that you consider installing at one unit for every 1,000 – 1,500 square feet for optimal efficiency. The units will work for the large areas but may work more quickly and efficiently when paired with multiple units. Note that these fans are distinct from whole house fans, which may also be installed in your attic.
The verdict is out and the numbers reflect that these solar powered units can effectively cool an attic space, which leads to more efficient cooling within your home. The best part about the solar-paneled units is that they do not operate on full electricity. Essentially your electric bills can be cut down for both the solar powered attic fan but also for more efficient cooling from your air unit.
Remember that there are multiple options and you need to decide what will work best for you. If you are considering the units that attach directly into your roof, make sure that you have an installation area that will provide adequate sunlight for the units to work at maximum capacity. You may need to consider that those cloudy days could hinder the efficiency of the unit. If you are considering the gabled unit, remember it will stick out more and the design can be awkward in size.
Solar powered attic fans have quickly become one of the most energy-efficient methods for helping to effectively cool homes that have attics or upstairs rooms. These units can also be great for garages, outbuildings, and some of them are even made to work effectively in RVs. Are you ready to try out a solar panel in your home yet and see how it can work for you? Don’t wait, start saving on those utility bills today!