$350 builder-installed attic fan: worth it?

Old 08-26-02, 12:19 PM
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Question $350 builder-installed attic fan: worth it?

Whether or not an attic fan can provide any benefit seems to be a debatable topic on this board, but as I am completely ignorant on the topic, I will pose the question anyway.

It would probably cost me more than $350 for an electrician to install a dedicated circuit and install my own fan. So if I want one, I think I should get it from the builder. The sales manager has no specifications on the fan, but I do know some of the specifications about the attic:

R-30 or R-38 insulation (R-38 is an upgrade option)
Attic ridge and soffit ventilation system
"full compliance with the 1995 CABO Model Energy Program"
"full compliance with the NVBIA Energy Saver Award Program"

The house is being built in Northern Virginia, which has hot summers and cold winters. I use my A/C about 6-7 months of the year, and like it COLD (68-70), especially upstairs in my bedroom. The house is a 2-story colonial with a basement. Around 1900 finished square feet with a 840 square foot basement.

Should I buy the fan? Should I buy the upgraded insulation package (it's part of a 3300 "energy efficiency package that also upgrades wall insulation, furnace and A/C compressor goes from 10 to 12 SEER)?
Old 08-26-02, 12:28 PM
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Thumbs down Not worth it

Make sure the existing ridge vent isn't blocked up (you should be able to see light through it)
If it's blocked up consider repalcing with cor-a-vent, it doesn't use filters notorious for plugging up with dirt and dust.
Electric fans use more power than they save in most cases.
Maybe consider a radiant barrier (I'll let rybsis tell you more about them)
Old 08-26-02, 01:50 PM
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I would not recommend the attic fan the builder is proposing. Primarily because he intends to install it on the roof and more than likely will be oversized. A better option because your home is a colonial and you will probably have gables, install a 1800 cfm gable mounted fan that is thermostatically controlled and does not need a dedicated line. Around $40. for the fan and $65./hr. for the electrician, that will take him less than an hour to connect the line. If you are the least bit handy or know someone, it is not hard to do and it will cost you less than $50. to do yourself.

Your builder is apparently involved in "Energy Star Homes" program. This is a nationwide program that is put together by the EPA and the Dept. of Energy. The builder and the buyer are given incentives under this program. You should check with either one of those Government sites for explanations for the incentives and advantages to the builder and buyer under this program.

As far as you getting the temperature in the summer to your desired temperature on the 2nd floor, it depends more on how your cooling system is designed than the attic fan, ventilation system and/or additional insulation.
Old 08-26-02, 04:25 PM
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See this thread


There is quite a discussion on attic fans

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