Solar Attic Fans – Worth the Cost?

Solar attic fans are a hot topic in the solar industry. Some people believe that they offer considerable energy savings and many other benefits, while others believe that there are drawbacks to installing this technology in your home.

Not sure if a solar attic fan is worth the cost? Our pros at Solar Bear Orlando discuss the pros and cons of solar attic fans, so you can make the best decision for your home.

What is a Solar Attic Fan?

A solar attic fan is designed to do two jobs. The first job is to lower the attic temperature by venting hot air out and drawing cool air back in. The second job of a solar attic fan is to keep your attic dry.

How Do Solar Attic Fans Work?

A solar attic fan uses a roof-mounted solar panel to convert energy from the sun into electricity which in turn powers an electric fan on your roof. If the solar panel is receiving direct sun, the fan will draw hot air out of your attic. The drawback is that the fan won’t work at night or if it is cloudy outside.

The hot attic air that the solar attic fan vents out is replaced with cooler air that is drawn into your attic through ventilation in your soffit. You likely already have some of these since soffit vents are incorporated into the eaves of most houses.

Ventilation is vital to the solar attic fan system, and it won’t work if your home doesn’t have adequate soffit ventilation. Generally, you will need around 8 square feet of screened soffit ventilation per solar attic fan.

During hot summers in Orlando, a solar fan will remove superheated air from the top of your home’s attic drawing in cool air to lower temperatures, and ultimately cool your home below. In the cooler months, an attic solar fan will provide airflow throughout your attic, replacing its air regularly.

Pros of Solar Attic Fans

Advocates for solar attic fans point out several benefits including:

  • Reduced attic temperatures
  • Energy savings
  • A cooler home

Solar attic fan systems are quite effective in lowering attic air temperatures. A cooler attic reduces the burden on your HVAC system and saves you money on energy costs. This is one of the top reasons why homeowners install a solar attic fan.

Other benefits include:

Protection from Humidity

During the cooler months, humid air in your attic can cause a whole host of problems. Wet air can condensate on surfaces causing mildew, dampness, and costly water damage. A solar attic fan keeps air flowing through your attic, taking the damp air out and replacing it with cool dry air, eliminating the dampness and humidity.

No Ongoing Costs

After the initial investment in a solar attic fan, you won’t need to pay for anything else. Your solar system will generate all the power that it needs, so you won’t have to pay for fuel costs to run your solar attic fan.

You can enjoy savings on your energy costs and reduce the costs of home repairs that are needed due to water damage.

Cons of Solar Attic Fans

Solar attic fans do have some drawbacks including:

Solar Attic Fans Can Draw Cool Air Through the Ceiling of Your House

One drawback to using a solar attic fan is that you will need to have an airtight seal between your home and your attic to prevent the fan from drawing cool air up through gaps in your ceiling into the attic. This could put a major strain on your HVAC system as it tries to cool your home and the attic. 

The good news is that our team at Solar Bear Orlando offers spray foam insulation to combat this exact problem!

Learn More> Why is Insulation Important for Solar?

Solar Attic Fans Can be Expensive

Most solar technology does have a relatively high investment cost, though there are Governmental incentives to help you pay for the cost.

The important thing to remember here is that you need to weigh the initial costs of installation against the potential energy and maintenance savings over the solar attic fan’s expected lifespan.

They Don’t Generate Enough Power

Some critics suggest that rooftop solar panels don’t generate enough power to drive the electric fan long enough to make a difference to your attic temperatures.

While it is true that solar attic fans only work when the sun is shining, solar panels still work even when it’s cloudy out by collecting indirect sunlight. Also, your attic gets the hottest when it is getting direct sunlight, so the solar attic fan will be most efficient and work its hardest when it is most needed.

The Bottom Line

Solar attic fans have the potential to offer great energy savings for your home especially when paired with spray foam insulation and an energy-efficient HVAC system.

Related Reading> Avoid These Rookie Solar Mistakes

Save on Energy Costs with Solar Bear

You’d be surprised by the amount of energy savings you will experience with better insulation and a solar attic fan. So, whether you want to install a solar array on your roof, a solar attic fan, or insulate your home with spray foam insulation, our team at Solar Bear Orlando is ready to get the job done!

Start saving on energy costs and call Solar Bear Orlando today; (407) 904-7585!