When the hot air in your home rises, it often gets trapped in our attic, creating a huge radiator that can run up your AC bill. Attic fans push out hot air and replace it with colder air from outside. Attic ventilation has many benefits and is crucial if you are to maintain the integrity of your home. Contrary to what people may think, attic ventilation is just as important during the hot months as also in the winter. They are a wise choice for energy-efficient consumers. During summer, they use a small fraction of the energy while keeping the house cool saving you energy. While in winter, warm, moist air will rise to the attic and condenses when it reaches the attic. Attic fans keep your attic dry and mold free. They also prevent ice dams that cause rot. When correctly installed, attic fans save you money otherwise spent on replacements and energy bills.
However, depending on your attic requirements, the installation costs of attic fan can vary widely depending on your personal preferences and your area of residence.
Types of Attic Fan
We classify attic fans according to the power source, coverage and, by the installation points. Fans can be electric, solar powered, or wind-powered you choose your power source. While installing an attic fan, you can also choose between a whole-house fan and a ventilation fan. These differ according to where you fit them; on the roof or gable. Roof-mounted fans are installed directly through the roof while gable fans go into the wall, preferably near the gable vent. The types of vents also differ. You can choose to install passive vents that make use of natural stack effect forces using hot vs. cold air buoyancy to expel or let in air. Other types of vents are static, power, soffit or ridge vents.
Gable fans are more extensive than roof fans. Each fan has the maximum area capacity it is capable of cooling efficiently. The larger your attic, the larger the size of a fan you will require.
Roof fans are harder to install because setup is only doable when you’re having work done on the roof. Consequently, gable fans have more natural installation techniques as little manipulation to the walls is needed. However, both require that after completion, ensure proper sealing is secured to prevent back-drafting.
Attic fans do not require a lot of maintenance unless instructed by your manufacturer. Some parts need oiling annually, and the blades need occasional dust and debris removal.
As discussed in the fan type section, you can choose between electric, solar powered or wind-powered fans depending on the carbon footprint you want to leave.
Lifespan and Warranty
If you live in an area that’s hot year round, consider getting a fan with a long lifespan. Fans with more extended warranty periods ensure quality manufacturing and more extended operating hours.
Cost of Buying Attic Fan
There are several considerations to make to have a rough estimate of how much the whole installation process will cost you. The most significant investment you will have to make is the fan itself.
- The Placement of the Fan: It goes without saying that roof mounted fans are much more expensive to install that gable mounted fans. Cutting into the roof will increase installation costs because you will need sealing materials such as shingles, siding and acrylic caulk.
- The Size of the Fan: To achieve cooling results in the attic, you have to find a fan that has a cooling capacity proportional to the size of your attic. The larger the attic, the bigger the fan you’re going to need. Cooling capacity is measured by the number of cubic feet of air per minute that the fan is rated to move, CFM. To calculate the size of your attic, multiply the length and width of your attic. Next, you will need to calculate the minimum CFM rating of the fan you need to buy. To calculate the minimum CFM, multiply the square feet of your attic by 0.7. For example, an attic with 2000 square feet will need a minimum of a fan with a 1400 CFM rating. The common rating for average attic fans is 750 to 1700 CFM.
- Fan Type: Vents are the cheapest items in the installation process. You can get a vent for as low as eight dollars. Here is an estimated cost for attic fans based on the power source and point of installation.
Installation Cost of Different Type Of Attic Fan
- Both passive and static vent Attic fan is the cheapest ventilation to get for your attic. A gable mounted vent costs about 8 dollars. You cannot install a passive vent on the roof.
- Static vents are installed on the roof and the installation pricing starts from $37.
- Wind-powered attic fans are relatively cheaper than electric and solar powered fans. You can get a roof mounted wind turbine for only $67. The tradeoff to using wind turbines is their reliability during less windy periods.
- Electric Powered Attic Fans are reliable but a little bit more expensive. Their pricing starts at $88 for both gable and roof mounted attic fans.
- Solar Attic Fans have the most substantial installation cost. They are more expensive upfront but will cost you little to nothing on maintenance and operation costs. Also, another benefit is they do not draw as much air as electric fans. This means that they have fewer backdraft instances.
- Gable Mounted Solar Attic Fans cost a few dollars less than roof mounted solar attic fans, starting from $245. Roof mounted attic fans’ pricing starts at $272.
It is also crucial to remember branding should factor in while you’re choosing a fan, but it shouldn’t be the determinant.
Other Installation Costs.
It is important to note that solar and electric fans will cost you additional labor costs for wiring electricity. Roof-mounted fans also require additional materials since the process calls for cutting a hole into the roof and sealing it afterward.
Hiring The Professionals
If you are not installing the fan yourself, you will need to hire an experienced professional. You will need:
- A roofing professional to do the work on the roof, they charge between $45 and $75 per hour.
- An electrician to do all the wiring and hook up your fan to a power source. They charge between $65 to $85 an hour.
- A carpenter if you need alterations in the walls and ceiling of your home costing around $70 an hour.
Make sure you have all the materials before calling a professional who charges by the hour.
You will also need materials to cover up roofing holes and a sealant.
- Shingles cost $100 per square foot.
- Siding will cost up to $100 depending on the size of the hole.
- Acrylic caulk will cost you $4.
- Thermostats can be manual or auto costing around $27.
- A humidistat is a good investment costing around $30.
Your installation crew may also require additional electric supplies such as automatic shutters and roof caps.
Benefits of an Attic Fan
So you’re wondering why you need to install an attic fan while you already have AC? Here are a few reasons.
Energy efficiency: During the summer, attics tend to retain more heat acting as large radiators. This heat, in turn, spills over to the rest of the house and racks up your AC bills. Attic fans counter this by pulling in colder air from the outside.
Extending the roof’s lifespan: Without proper ventilation, condensed moisture is trapped between the plywood sheets and the ceiling. This cause rot and instability as the roof weakens. Moisture also encourages mold and fungus growth. Trapped heat also damages your shingles, and attic fans help to dispense of this heat.
Financing aside, the wisest thing you can do is prepare adequately before the installation begins. It is advisable to have the professional come in first to do an inspection and advice the optimum location to install the fan. Ensure you get a quotation and bargain your price. This guide will help you choose the best fan for your home and show you an affordable installation process.