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Attic Fans - Good or Bad?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Installing Attic Fans in Home

Installing attic fans can relieve you of hefty electricity bills. Read on to know more about the working principle and the advantages and disadvantages of fixing these innovative devices at your home.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
Did you know that less than 10% of American homes are properly insulated and follow the requisite attic insulation norms? For most of us, this is often a neglected issue. However, one must understand that an poorly insulated or uninsulated attic can cause you to pay thousands of dollars towards electricity bills. Hence, it is imperative that you make provisions for insulation and ventilation to cut down your utility bills. Installation of attic fans is a cheaper and easier to implement option for ventilation. Given below are some pros and cons of installing attic fans in your homes.
Installing Attic Fans- Pros and Cons
Hot air has the tendency to rise upward, hence, your attic is often the hottest place in your house. In the absence of proper ventilation, this air circulates throughout your living space. As a result, your air conditioner works even more to cool the living space. This additional load on the air conditioning system may lead to substantial increase in your power bills. Hence, it is imperative that you have some kind of attic ventilation in your house.
Attic fans can either be gable mounted or they can be roof mounted. A typical attic fan works by exhausting hot air and drawing in fresh air from the exteriors. They are accompanied with additional vents which help in drawing in fresh air. Since, the hot attic air at a temperature of about 150°F is replaced by cooler air at 85 - 95° F, your living space remains cooler for a longer duration. Moreover, the load upon your air conditioner reduces, thereby reducing your electricity bills.
Besides cooling your attic and reducing the load on your air conditioner, these fans also serve several purposes. They draw moisture from the air and dry it out. This inhibits the growth of mold and mildew. Since, they continuously exhaust the air out of the house, they prevent accumulation of moisture in any area of house. They also prevent mold formation at the most moisture prone areas.
Since attic fans tend to quickly draw air out of the house, they also do not allow dust and dirt to settle in the house. Large amount of air is removed from the attic everyday, which also takes away dust with it. Thus, they are a boon in the hot months of summer.
There are some drawbacks of using attic fans, if you do not run it in the recommended manner. For instance, if you do not allow sufficient air vents, the fan is most likely to draw air from your living space. This is because, a vacuum is created when the blades of the attic fan rotate. Due to this vacuum, the air from the living space is sucked in towards the attic. This can be particularly disadvantageous as your air conditioner works hard to cool the living space. So, allowing this cool air to be sucked out from the attic is definitely not a profitable idea.
Also, too much of air exchange with the exteriors may bring in the bacteria from the outdoors. Moreover, the temperature difference in the attic creates a high pressure - low pressure belt near the ceiling. As a result moisture tends to accumulate near the ceiling, if a ceiling fan is at work as well.
Thus, if you install the attic fans in proper way and satisfy the requisite ventilation conditions, then they can certainly make your hot summer pleasant and comfortable.