My Upstairs Is Warm. Do I need an Attic Fan?

Do you need an Attic Fan?

Frequently, a family will spend their day on the first floor of their house in air-conditioned comfort. Yet when they go upstairs to retire for the evening, they find their bedrooms uncomfortably warm.

It’s obvious the air conditioner is working since downstairs has been pleasant all day.  So, what’s the problem?

It’s like getting into your car that has been sitting in the hot sun all day. The air has been heated and you must get rid of it. You roll down the windows and drive down the road. Shortly the hot air has been evacuated and the air conditioner can effectively begin cooling the car.

Similarly, a house that has heated up all day will have a layer of air in the attic that is 100-120 degrees, maybe hotter. The homeowner must get rid of that hot air and allow the air conditioner to do its work. The best way to do that is by installing an efficient attic fan.

A certified electrician can install an attic fan that will increase your comfort, lower your utility bills and lengthen the useful life of roofing materials. Since attic heat can account for 20 percent of your average cooling bill, these fans are a good investment. The fans can come with humidistats as well as thermostats, which can automatically trigger the start and shutdown of the fans without your involvement.

Your certified Maryland technician will not only install the attic fan, but he will also check out your vents, which are an important component for managing the air upstairs. As the hot air is expelled through the vents on the high part of the roof, cooler air is pulled in through the soffit openings.

How do I know if I need a Maryland certified technician to look in my attic?

One way to discover if you have a problem is to observe the outside of your roof. If the corners of the asphalt shingles have curled up, then you will want to address the issue.

Your certified electrician will install the attic fan on the roof or in a gable wall.  Often, he will choose the gable-wall installation, since no shingles would be affected. Your technician will enlarge the opening slightly to accommodate the automatic shutter. You can get a good fan that can take care of an attic area up to 1,500 square feet and draw just 3.2 amps. Most fans come with the thermostat in a control box and prewired.

Whole-house Fans: Cooling for Less

Installation of an attic fan system often makes sense both financially and for comfort. If you are looking to slash your electric bills further, you might consider using a whole house fan system to cool your house at night. Your certified Maryland technician will advise you based on your location and summer temperatures if this makes sense.

A whole-house fan usually uses about 10% to 15% of the power drawn by a central air conditioner. If evenings are cool enough, it’s simple to lower the temperature of your dwelling with a whole-house fan — sometimes in less than an hour.

It’s efficient and cheap to operate. However, make sure your system has dampers, which prevents material from the attic – insulation for instance—from being sucked into the house along with the cooler air. The dampers also add a layer of fire protection as well. Windows must be open for the whole-house fan to work most effectively.

Longer Life for Your Roof

One more reason for a whole-house fan, or attic fan, is that reducing the temperature in the attic can extend the life of your roof.  During the summer, your shingles bear high temperatures on the outside and withstand hot air underneath. Over time this constant exposure can cause asphalt shingles to curl at the edges, split or become brittle.  Your fan system can change that.

An attic fan or whole house fan can increase your comfort, save on electric bills and extend the life of your roof. What’s not to like? Newer models are also quieter than the house-shaking versions in some older homes. Consult with a professional on the proper fans to use and best practices for installation. Bring on the cool.

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