Do You Need an Attic Fan?
LESLIE: Paulo in Virginia finds The Money Pit on WJFK. How can we help?
PAULO: Hi, I was wondering if you could give me any suggestions or recommendations on a solar-powered attic fan? I’m looking for ways to keep my house cooler, obviously, and you know, reduce energy costs. And I was wondering if you had any recommendations on that.
TOM: Yeah Paulo, does your house have central air conditioning?
PAULO: Yes, it does.
TOM: OK, I would definitely not recommend an attic fan. Because what happens is attic fans are so strong that they actually reach down into the conditioned space of your house, and they do that by using the wall cavities and where the outlets and pipes come through the walls, as places where they draw air from the inside of your house – it’s that air conditioned air – and it’ll pull it right up into the attic and exhaust it outside. So an attic fan can actually drive up cooling costs. A better option is just to use passive ventilation. That would be, for example, a continuous ridge vent across the peak of your roof; matched with continuous soffit vents at the overhang of your roof. This good natural ventilation that’s passive – it’s not a powered ventilator – does a really good job of letting out that heat in the attic space without taking any of the cold air from the interior of the house down below. OK?
PAULO: Alright. It’s a new house so I think I’m pretty much covered on those.
TOM: Well then, I would definitely not put in the attic fan. You don’t need it.
TOM: Alright, Paulo? Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.