I promised some D.I.Y. stuff a while back and I’ve fallen behind. I guess I was too ambitious and didn’t realize all the work that goes into this shit, plus having to actually get the content AND get the TIME to get the content, but just like those long ass ruck marches, I might not be at the front of the pack, but damnit, I’m going to get there.
There’s lots of things that you can do around the house to save a few bucks, some of them cost little to nothing, others cost a few bucks, but the payoff is near infinite. This solar powered attic fan that I installed was the latter.
As you know, Fort Livingroom is located on the west coast of Florida and it’s get hotter than a set of chaffed balls during the summer. Keeping the house cool is a challenge and it can get expensive because the air conditioner is almost always running. Although we have new double pane, energy star rated windows, heat is still getting in through the ceiling. The sun beats on the asphalt shingles on the roof, they get so hot they will melt the soles of your boots and that heat energy gets transferred through the wood into the attic then into the HVAC vents and the ceiling which affects your thermostat. The best thing you could do is to somehow cool the attic, but that would take more electricity, so really, the only thing you can do would be to use free limitless solar power to cool the attic. I bought this SOLAR POWERED ATTIC FAN from Amazon.
It came well packed with everything needed for the job.
The fan housing feels a little flimsy, but keep in mind, this is just going in your attic and will not be handled or moved once put in place. The brackets are made of aluminum to provide rust free, all weather endurance. The solar panel has 16feet of power cable which is plenty of length to reach from a gable vent cover to the roof.
I took it outside and hooked it up to test it and, with full strength sun, the fan was so powerful it blew itself over. Not really surprising when the manufacturer claims 1960 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air movement.
Even in low sunlight conditions, the panel puts out enough juice to keep the fan moving, so even on a cloudy day, you’ll get air movement in your attic. The fan has a 30 watt, high efficiency, brushless motor for quiet operation and it IS quiet. I didn’t use any rubber washers in the install, and there is zero vibration noise, just the sound of the air rushing through the vent. The solar panel is rated for 25 watts so you don’t ever have to worry about it putting out too much power for the fan. I can’t offer specific scientific testing of products, all I can do is make recommendations based on good experiences. I can say, between installing this fan and a new pool pump, my electric usage dropped from an average of 65KW a day to an average of 58KW a day. Yes, I know that is still high, but we just got here 9 months ago and we have just started to increase the energy efficiency of the property. Eventually the plan is to go full solar and pump the extra electricity back into the grid.
As far as the install goes, it shouldn’t take an able bodied person more than an hour and that’s being generous. The hardest part is moving the ladder.
Step 1 – Locate your gable vent.
Step 2 – Pry off the vent cover.
Step 3 – Attach bracket and attach the fan to the vent cover.
Step 4 – Pull the power cord through the vent
Step 5 – Put the vent cover back in place and hook up the power cord to the solar panel.
Given that everyone’s house is going to have a different alignment to the sun and available sunlight, I’m opting to not go into detail about where I put my panel and how I mounted it. Suffice to say that I used a free app on my phone to make sure that I’m getting the maximum amount of light on the panel as I can. Some of you will be able to mount the panel on the side of your home, on the ground, on a fence or on a roof. Just be careful if you’re going up on the roof, especially during the summer. No one needs a heat casualty dropping from the sky.
All in all, I’m very happy with the fan and I plan on installing another one on the other side of the house, just reversed so that instead of blowing the outside air in, I’ll have it blowing the inside air out of the attic. In creating a cross breeze, I’m expecting to drop the temperature of the attic by 20 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m also planning on installing soffit vents around the perimeter to allow the natural convection of air to flow from the soffits to the peak of the roof.
If all that doesn’t drop the temperature enough for me, I’ll likely get a bigger fan.
I hope this give y’all some ideas. Yeah, the fan costs almost $200, but in the long run, that $200 will end up saving you money on your electric bill. The electric companies get way too much of our hard earned money as it is. Invest in things like this fan and keep some more of your paycheck.