Can Proper Attic Ventilation or an Attic Fan Reduce Energy Costs in Homes?
If you’ve ever needed to get into the attic space of your home during the middle of a hot summer day in Atlanta, you know that it’s a dangerous place up there! Attic temperatures can easily reach 135 degrees or more, and having that heat trapped inside the attic is like putting a heating blanket 18 inches above your head!
In this Atlanta HVAC article, we want to take a look at one of the easy and low cost ways you can reduce some of the strain on your home air conditioning system, and look at how an attic vent fan can reduce energy costs for cooling your Atlanta home.
The Problem with Attics in the Summer
Attics are an area of most homes that is unconditioned space. Meaning, there is no air conditioning or heating of the attic space, and it simply heats up based on outside temps. Attic ventilation is important year round, but in the summer, can easily help you reduce cooling costs!
Just imagine when the temp reaches 90 outside, it could be as hot as 130-140 degrees in your attic, without proper ventilation. By installing an attic ventilator, you will allow (and help) the hot air trapped in your attic space to vent out, and cool off considerably! It may not get below 90 degrees up there, but at least it wont be a 150 degree oven!
Types of Attic Ventilators
There are 3 main types of attic ventilators commonly found in residential use. Electric powered, which is hard wired into your homes electric system. Solar powered, which gets all its power from a small panel that converts the sunshine to energy. And Turbine vents, which are driven by the heated air in your attic and spin with no power at all.
In addition to the types of power for your attic vent, you can also choose from a vent that mounts directly onto your sloped or flat roof, or you can install an attic vent to one of the gables of your home, behind a louvered vent that allows for air to flow through it.
Solar attic vents are desirable since they use no electricity, however, they don’t work very well on cloudy days, they are known to move much less air and they tend to cost 3-4 times the amount of a standard electric vent fan at the time of purchase, making potential saving much less, if at all!
Attic Vent Fan Installation
In our opinion, powered, gable mounted attic vents are the easiest to install for most handyman homeowners, since almost every home has a vent already on the gable, making the fan installation as easy as bolting it in place and sealing the air gaps around the vent, running power and turning it on! They aren’t always the preferred choice however due to the safety and electric needs.
To get an idea of how big of an attic fan you may need, get the footprint of the attic (length x width) and multiply it by .70. This will give you an approximate cubic feet of air volume your attic contains. Ex: 20×60 attic footprint, equals 1200 sf. 1200 x .70 = 840. This means you would need an attic vent that moved a minimum of 840 cfm.
Once you know how big of a fan you need, mounting the fan can be left to a professional or done yourself. Most Atlanta HVAC contractors can and do install attic vent fans, and the three companies we spoke to had a price range of $450-$600 for the basic installation, plus any additional electrical work that may be needed if no electrical source was in the attic space.
Conclusion, and Your Feedback
Installing an attic vent fan can drop the temps by as much as 20-30 degrees on a hot summer day! Eliminating that blanket of hot air in your attic and above your ceiling will effectively allow your home air conditioning system to work much more effectively, since it wont have to compensate for the extra heat.
Did you install an attic fan to your Atlanta home recently? If so, share your cost you paid, and the difference it made to the comfort and utility bills to maintain your home!