Updated: Oct 12, 2016
Attic Fan Reviews:Let's start with mentioning that an attic fan is actually different than a whole house fan. In our research we found that many homeowners get the two confused, although they are similar in function. Attic fans deal with only the attic area while the whole house fan by definition attempts to cool your entire home. If you have air conditioning in a two story home and the thermostat sits downstairs, you can always get the first floor to be 72 degrees but the upstairs constantly runs about 2 to 4 degrees warmer since hot air is naturally pushed up. You could buy a 2nd AC unit just for the upstairs but that doesn't make economic sense for many of us because we are almost always downstairs except for the evenings. We went to Home Depot to talk with an expert in the field and he mentioned buying an attic fan to help reduce the heat build up in our attic with some added ventilation. You may see attic fans referred to as roof fans or a powered attic ventilator (PAV). They are available in home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot as well as other retailers nationally.
Buying Guide - On hot days during the warmest months of the summer an attic can reach temperatures as high as 150 degrees fahrenheit. By adding an attic fan to your house you can reduce your cooling costs by almost 30% in some situations. The key is getting rid of the hot air trapped in your attic and replacing it with cooler air. An attic ventilation fan mounts on the roof and draws the warm air out the vents and replaces it with cool air from below. A thermostat will control the fan so that it runs only when necessary. Using less than 300 watts of power, a roof attic fan can reduce air conditioning costs while lowering the room temperatures in the upstairs area by 5 to 10 degrees. Most heating and cooling experts agree that an attic fan should pay for itself within 3 years time. Look for those that are made with metal materials versus plastic and as mentioned above a thermostat is essential. In some attic fan reviews we read online owners talked about noise issues related to the fan running. It's important to find a model that has a permanently lubricated motor so that the fan runs quiet and operates without much maintenance. Attic fans are either electric or solar powered and they can be installed on the roof or mounted in a gable wall. Electric attic fan kits run between $80 and $300 while the solar powered attic fans are priced between $350 and $600 but also have zero operating costs. We found several postings online from owners of the attic fans powered by solar energy and they were very happy with the results. Their homes were able to maintain a cooler temperature while using the suns energy to counteract the heat. Some fans come with a humidistat which can sense high moisture levels in your attic - the cost for that feature can be as high as $150 more. Savings on energy cost depend on your cooling system, your attic insulation, and the color of your roof. Overall, we found that the installation of an attic fan did help with our cooling costs during the peak summer months. We subtracted the $2 to $3 month that they say an attic fan costs to run to get our savings. Within 3 years I would say our initial outlay for the fan will be recouped in energy savings. You can browse the best selling attic fans here.