Solar Attic Fan: Year-Round Solution?

solar fan and panels on roof
  • Beginner

A solar attic fan uses sunlight to circulate air in your attic, reducing the ambient temperature during warm summer months and lowering the moisture level during the winter.

Do Solar Attic Fans Really Work?

The overall effectiveness of a solar attic fan depends on the amount and quality of sunlight it receives. Heavy cloud coverage or dense tree branches can limit the ability of the fan to work. Furthermore, the average solar attic fan can move about 800 cubic feet per minute, so larger spaces may need multiple fans to achieve the desired effect.

Comparing Solar Attic Fans to Electric Attic Fans

Solar attic fans are capable of moving nearly as much air per minute as a standard electric attic fan. However, electric fans will work as long as power is available, while solar fans will die almost immediately if the sun is blocked. This limits their effectiveness on cloudy days and during the night.

Should You Gable Mount a Solar Attic Fan?

A solar fan can be gable-mounted, but it is not recommended unless the fan has a detached solar panel. A gable-mounted fan will operate at similar levels, but the mount limits the amount of sun exposure. To avoid a decreased runtime, install a detached solar panel on the roof.

How Much Does a Solar Attic Fan Cost?

Solar attic fans range in price from $200-500. When calculating the cost of installation, consider how many fans you will need. You should have enough fans to move 1/4 of your total cubic feet of attic air per minute.

You covered ventilation, but don't forget about insulation. Here's everything you need to know about insulating the attic floor.