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heels_fan
1.20.09 The start of Socialism
Premium
join:2003-02-07
Columbia, TN
kudos:1

Attic/Gable fans

I am trying to help cut down on cooling/heating cost.

I am getting ready to add more insulation to the attic, but I also thought about adding some type of ventilation. Maybe like a gable fan.

Do any of you have any thoughts/experience on this
--
everyone is born ignorant. some are born stupid, others achieve stupidity and the rest have stupidity thrust upon them.



sempergoofy
Premium
join:2001-07-06
Smyrna, GA
Reviews:
·AT&T Southeast

I looked into this recently for the same reason as you. I was primarily interested in the solar powered units since they don't consume power from the grid and also don't require running power connections to the fan. There are a variety of solar power fans on the market. Some have a metal frame, others have a plastic frame. Surprisingly, the plastic framed units seem a bit more expensive.

Home Depot stocks at least one solar powered unit in their stores.

After considering a gable fan, I decided against it for reasons I cannot recall and focused on the roof units.

I have not yet purchased one to do the install. Only reason is procrastination and the fact that I do not own a reciprocating power saw which means I'll need to rent (or buy ) one.

I found two videos showing how to install them. One was on one of the manufacturers site and the other was a segment at »www.thisoldhouse.com which interestingly enough has it linked on the home page today (probably due to the high summer heat).
--
nohup rm -fr /&



Toadman
Hypnotoad

join:2001-11-28
Ex Ohioan
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T Midwest

I was definately considering putting one in when I got my new roof by my roofer really felt strongly against it. He recommended that we seal our gable vents, put in more soffet vents (including a new style soffet vent in the back of the house) and install a ridge vent.
His biggest reason against the attic (roof) fan is he told me that it causes a tremendous amount of heat swing within the house, unless the attic / house is completely sealed off (which no-ones is 100%) it pulls your air conditioning air up through the house. The other reason is that it will only pull from a portion of the roof and if you have gable vents, it will grab from the gables and pull directly up, leaving a 4-5 ft heat zone inbetween.


eakes

join:2000-10-20
Richardson, TX
reply to heels_fan

A power roof fan made a big difference at my sister's home in Nashville. Before installation all the ceilings were warm (almost hot) to the touch in the summertime. After installation there was a noticeble drop in that temperature and at night the attic is actually cool.

If additional insulation is installed make sure they do not block access to soffet vents. If they are blocked then there will be no way get an air exchange in the attic.



mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to heels_fan

A properly installed gable fan will save you some good money on AC in your area.

You have to have the correct amount (if not more) of soffit vents to get proper cooling and air flow.

You are trying to achieve the same temperature and humidity in the attic as outside but if you can get within 15 degrees in the heat of the day (2-5 PM) in the summer, you will love the money savings.



davidg
Good Bye My Friend
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-15
none
reply to heels_fan

i put a single gable fan in my attic and it dropped the temps from over 150 to a tolerable 120 or so. i need to add a 2nd one at the other end of the house due to the layout, but have not done it yet.

you CANNOT use a fan of any type if you have ridge vents. you use either a fan with a combination of soffit/gable vent or just gable vents. if you have ridge vents you use ONLY soffit vents. you want air to enter from as low as possible in teh attic and exit as high as possible so it draws out all the hot air.
--
Lack of Preparation on YOUR Part does NOT Constitute an Emergency on Mine!



boogi man

join:2001-11-13
Jacksonville, FL
kudos:1
reply to heels_fan

we did one years ago at my folks place and what a difference that made. they didnt and still dont have a/c but that fan was a big help in cooling things off.



dosdoxies
Premium
join:2004-12-15
Wallingford, PA

1 edit
reply to heels_fan

Depending on the orientation of your house, you should try to place the gable fan on the south facing side blowing out of the attic. That is pulling air in from the north.


wonderworm3

join:2002-07-18
Freeport, TX

2 edits
reply to Toadman

If you have gable vents at either side in your attic, then I will tell you how to add an attic vent fan that works for less that $20bucks.

Just go to Home Depot and buy the Lasko weathershield box fan with thermostat. It moves 2000cfm on the lowest setting which is 2X the air movement than most of the "gable" fans you will find at 3 or 4 times the cost. Plus, it uses much less electricity than these gable fans because it has much larger 20'' blades and is far more efficient at moving air with less power.

I set the thermostat to the hottest position and then mounted it to the highest point of the gable via zip ties and screws. Then I sealed off every open area left in the gable with cardboard to provide a good tight seal and good vacuum suction as it vents the hot air out (this is very important). I did not have an outlet in the attic so I just added a $2 one and plugged the fan into it. Done.

The fan allows me to keep my AC 1 degree warmer at night because I no longer get this huge thermal heat buildup in the afternoon that I used to get, and in the afternoon, the ac runs less to maintain the same temperature beforehand. Not bad for $20 bucks and 30 minutes of work.

And here's an even cheaper way to do the same thing if you already have an old box fan lying around. Just buy a cheap $4 electric timer and set it to turn on at 11am each morning and off at 8pm each evening (you can play with the times to find what works best for you). In the winter, just unplug your attic fan setup and use the hot attic to get free heat. You don't have to spend alot to save energy and money.



cocothebean
You Are My Nightmare
Premium
join:2002-11-16
Carson City, NV

1 edit
reply to heels_fan

To save money get a solar powered one!!!
No sense in lowering your heating bill and have your electric bill go up!!!
And I get one made of metal, plastic tend to split easily from the vibration of the fan spinning!!!



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT

If you're lucky enough it will only take you 10-15 years to offset the cost of the solar panels...



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
·surpasshosting
reply to heels_fan

Avoid wonderworm's advice and buy a product listed and intended for the purpose, duty, and location where it will operate. (e.g., don't be a cheapskate and burn your house down)

I put a gable fan in a few years ago due to poor ventilation (soffits are blocked). No significant decrease in billing, but comfort level went up. No more "hot spots" at the ceiling.
I blew in another 4" of insulation prior to installing the fan - but it didn't help much.
I would recommend doing both though.
--
All we need now is a car that runs on milk.


wonderworm3

join:2002-07-18
Freeport, TX

3 edits

said by nunya:

Avoid wonderworm's advice and buy a product listed and intended for the purpose, duty, and location where it will operate. I put a gable fan in a few years ago due to poor ventilation (soffits are blocked). No significant decrease in billing,....I blew in another 4" of insulation prior to installing the fan - but it didn't help much. I would recommend doing both though.
Your post is disastrous and uninformed on so many levels. 1. Your gable fan didn't work because your "soffits are blocked" which can create dangerous negative pressure if you have a gas furnace, and you probably installed it wrong as well. 2. You then talked about how neither your gable fan nor your "added insulation didn't help much" but yet you recommend doing them even though they didn't work?? Talk about a confused flip flop in the same post!

I ask you, what do you think the purpose and duty of a fan is, make noise? No, the purpose and duty of a fan is to blow air and that's what mine does, and I must say rather efficiently as well. Being that I only need to keep it on the low speed, it consumes a mere 87 Watts, but yet still moves 2,000CFMs! That's about $.99 cents a month to run. Simply put, these fans pass on the efficiencies of mass production and longer blades which is why they are cheaper and better than your overpriced gable fan which you admit didn't even work because it doesn't move enough air plus you don't even have proper venting. Next time, before prognosticating like you are a know it all, make sure you don't reveal yourself as the opposite.


Mickeyme3
You might be right, but, I don't care
Premium
join:2008-09-05
Carson City, NV

1 edit
reply to cowboyro

said by cowboyro:

If you're lucky enough it will only take you 10-15 years to offset the cost of the solar panels...
At the rate the utilities companies are going, maybe 4-5 years to break even and then it's free going from then on.
In the last 5 years my electric bill was $45 a month now it is $120 a month, with a 20% increase coming this winter.


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT

said by Mickeyme3:

At the rate the utilities companies are going, maybe 4-5 years to break even and then it's free going from then on.
Do a bit of math, a 200W [peak] panel runs you $1000. The 100W fan costs you $0.25 for 10 hrs. If you need to run it for 8 months/year, 10hrs/day (though you can as well run it for 5 hrs with a timer) it will cost you $60/calendar year. Even with a 10% annual increase in energy cost for the next years, and disregarding inflation, it would still take 10 years to offset the cost of the panels.


zilk

@bellsouth.net

first,solar attic fan kits come with a panel sized for the fan.a simple search shows these priced between 300-500 dollars.

second,you didn't even add a cent of a/c savings provided by the reduced heat load of a cooler attic.i think the payback is less than ten years.

third,comfort counts as well.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
·surpasshosting
reply to wonderworm3


Your post is disastrous and uninformed on so many levels. 1. Your gable fan didn't work because your "soffits are blocked" which can create dangerous negative pressure if you have a gas furnace, and you probably installed it wrong as well. 2. You then talked about how neither your gable fan nor your "added insulation didn't help much" but yet you recommend doing them even though they didn't work?? Talk about a confused flip flop in the same post!


Uhhh... there are two gable ends. Hello? Perhaps you can't read very well, so I'll say it again - The fan helped eliminate hot spots on the interior. The insulation alone didn't make much of a difference.

Have fun with your code violations and extension cords. I just wish I could be the one called to investigate the fire.
--
All we need now is a car that runs on milk.


mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX

Do it right. Do it once and don't use box fans!

Can you imagine what the insurance fire inspector would do?

He would laugh so hard in you face if you had a claim (fire) that spit would be falling off your face.

These things run a lot, carry a lot of load and need to work for years.

What are we talking $100?


public

join:2002-01-19
Santa Clara, CA

2 recommendations

reply to wonderworm3

said by wonderworm3:

And here's an even cheaper way to do the same thing if you already have an old box fan lying around. Just buy a cheap $4 electric timer and set it to turn on at 11am each morning and off at 8pm each evening (you can play with the times to find what works best for you). In the winter, just unplug your attic fan setup and use the hot attic to get free heat. You don't have to spend alot to save energy and money.
Like this?
»www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/···,00.html


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 edit
reply to wonderworm3

said by wonderworm3:

I ask you, what do you think the purpose and duty of a fan is, make noise? No, the purpose and duty of a fan is to blow air and that's what mine does, and I must say rather efficiently as well. Being that I only need to keep it on the low speed, it consumes a mere 87 Watts, but yet still moves 2,000CFMs! That's about $.99 cents a month to run. Simply put, these fans pass on the efficiencies of mass production and longer blades which is why they are cheaper and better than your overpriced gable fan which you admit didn't even work because it doesn't move enough air plus you don't even have proper venting. Next time, before prognosticating like you are a know it all, make sure you don't reveal yourself as the opposite.
The purpose of a gable fan is to blow air out of the attic not around it. That's why the blades are small, to fit into the gable opening. You can put a 5' fan up there but the hole for the air to escape is still the same size. I don't see the CFM spec on the Lasko site. I guess it's printed on the box?

As for the fan construction, your box fan is not designed for the temperatures in the attic.

Finally, the gable fan has a high temp cutout so the fan won't work if there's a fire.
--

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley

wonderworm3

join:2002-07-18
Freeport, TX

So far all I hear is a bunch of talk with no proof of anything. Ask yourself, what does "designed for attic use" entail, and where is the "not for attic use" warning label? Nonexistent. If you don't want to use my method than that is completely fine, it's not written for you anyway. But don't go spouting your mouth off about fires with zero evidence. The next posts here need to have some verifiable proof of your claims or don't post at all.



SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

said by wonderworm3:

So far all I hear is a bunch of talk with no proof of anything. Ask yourself, what does "designed for attic use" entail, and where is the "not for attic use" warning label? Nonexistent. If you don't want to use my method than that is completely fine, it's not written for you anyway. But don't go spouting your mouth off about fires with zero evidence. The next posts here need to have some verifiable proof of your claims or don't post at all.
I'm not sure what I said to elicit such a venomous response. I notice you only made 3 posts in 7 years so maybe you don't know how it works. Posters give their OPINION about the original posters problem. If they disagree with another post they say so. It's not a personal attack, it's an opinion.

As for my post:

The vent opening is only a certain size. Putting a larger fan in front of it is not going to push more air out the hole. Some things are intuitively obvious.

The only mention of fire was a cut off on a gable fan like this:

Safety considerations with powered ventilators...

All attic ventilators should be installed with a fusible link, a type of fuse that melts in the presence of high heat, disconnecting the power. It is mounted near the fan in the attic, automatically turning off the fan in the event of fire... a valuable safety feature!
»www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infa···n3b.html

As for a cheap box fan not designed to work in an attic. That’s just my opinion based on my experience in design. You don’t make something cheap by over designing it.
--

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to zilk

said by zilk :

first,solar attic fan kits come with a panel sized for the fan.a simple search shows these priced between 300-500 dollars.
You're comparing a 20W fan with a 100W fan.. fine.. then based on the very same overestimated increase in electricity costs it's $12 for 1st year, and would take 18 years to offset the cost of the solar panels
said by zilk :

second,you didn't even add a cent of a/c savings provided by the reduced heat load of a cooler attic.i think the payback is less than ten years.
you think wrong, there in no gain in savings from a/c since in both cases you're using a fan
said by zilk :

third,comfort counts as well.
True, you don't have any solar panels to clean if you're going from the grid - much more comfortable for less $$$


Mickeyme3
You might be right, but, I don't care
Premium
join:2008-09-05
Carson City, NV

2 edits
reply to wonderworm3

said by wonderworm3:

So far all I hear is a bunch of talk with no proof of anything. Ask yourself, what does "designed for attic use" entail, and where is the "not for attic use" warning label? Nonexistent. If you don't want to use my method than that is completely fine, it's not written for you anyway. But don't go spouting your mouth off about fires with zero evidence. The next posts here need to have some verifiable proof of your claims or don't post at all.
Try telling your insurance agent that it doesn't matter if a fire did break out!
If the cause of fire is because something wasn't up to code standards you get NOTHING!

wonderworm3

join:2002-07-18
Freeport, TX

1 edit

Based on your reasoning, then everyone who has an older home and hasn't spent the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to ensure it is "up to code" are wasting the money they pay for home insurance each year because they will always have their claims denied. LOL! Yeah right. See how your logic is flawed............and still waiting on that proof that your fans cause less fires compared to mine guys.



hortnut
Huh?

join:2005-09-25
PNW
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Mickeyme3

said by Mickeyme3:

Try telling your insurance agent that it doesn't matter if a fire did break out!
If the cause of fire is because something wasn't up to code standards you get NOTHING!

Can you provide a link or other proof? I read and interpret Insurance Policies every day.
--

Darn, its gettin that time to go to Wallymart to gits me picture taken agin.


Dennis
Premium,Mod
join:2001-01-26
Algonquin, IL
kudos:5

1 recommendation

reply to heels_fan

Let's all take a second to cool down in this thread....



koma3504
Advocate
Premium
join:2004-06-22
North Richland Hills, TX
reply to heels_fan

You might consider this product.

»www.sprayfoam.com/spps/ahpg.cfm?spgid=1



zilk

@bellsouth.net

1 recommendation

reply to cowboyro

yes,but a/c also uses a big kwatt compressor.most experts agree that reducing attic temp each 10 degrees reduces a/c load by 5 percent.

there will be savings from a/c and once the solar is paid back,there's no ongoing elec. use to offset a/c savings.