Opinions on Attic Fan

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Old 01-15-18, 10:27 AM
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Opinions on Attic Fan

Hi - I live in the midwest, where the weather can be unpredictable to say the least. Recently we had a period where it was 30's/40's degrees, then all of a sudden dropped below 0 for 1-2 weeks. In the middle of the night, my daughter's smoke detector started beeping. Turns out it was leaking moisture that had built up from condensation and fried the detector.

I had an attic guy come out, and he said

- My humidifier was turned too high up (I tried to follow the external temps but he said even the 25-30% or so I had it at was too much considering the living beings in the household produce moisture as well)
- He came by and said we have soffit vents for our upstairs bathroom exhaust fans, which is a No-no apparently (the hot air vents externally and wants to come right back in the attic according to him)
- The cellulose insulation in our attic was good and our builder did a good job (house is only 4 years old), BUT insulation doesn't prevent moisture so there was moisture built up in the attic, which caused the smoke detector issue and also has the insulation padded down
- He even said in some cases the moisture in the insulation can be a structural danger on the ceiling
- An attic fan would solve most of our issues, and rerouting the exhaust fans to vent externally sideways or upwards rather than down (soffit vent) would be a bonus

My questions:
1) Is what he said about the soffit vents true, to the extent that we should invest about $245 per to have those properly vented?
2) Is what he's saying about our insulation (moisture buildup - potential dangers if it becomes too weighted down) credible or legitimate?
3) What are your thoughts on an attic fan in this specific scenario? I'm not super handy and do not want to mess with additional maintenance, but would not want anything unsafe for my family/kids so I'm debating here. He also said they'd set the attic fan such that we don't have to mess with it, and it comes with a lifetime warranty so when the motor goes in 10 years or so, they'd be out to replace it.

I realize he's trying to sell his service, but at the same time some of what he said sounds legitimate. Any advice is very much appreciated - thank you so much!
 
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Old 01-15-18, 12:54 PM
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1) Is what he said about the soffit vents true, to the extent that we should invest about $245 per to have those properly vented? This is true and the exhaust should be redirected. How is another discussion.

2) Is what he's saying about our insulation (moisture buildup - potential dangers if it becomes too weighted down) credible or legitimate? Correct to a point, but weight is only part of the concern. Once it gets that wet it no longer acts as insulation. Another discussion.

3) What are your thoughts on an attic fan in this specific scenario? In a 4 year old house an attic fan should not be needed if it has proper ventilation per long standing guidelines.
To be continued

Trouble posting, Ill be back
Bud
 
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Old 01-15-18, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
1) Is what he said about the soffit vents true, to the extent that we should invest about $245 per to have those properly vented? This is true and the exhaust should be redirected. How is another discussion.

2) Is what he's saying about our insulation (moisture buildup - potential dangers if it becomes too weighted down) credible or legitimate? Correct to a point, but weight is only part of the concern. Once it gets that wet it no longer acts as insulation. Another discussion.

3) What are your thoughts on an attic fan in this specific scenario? In a 4 year old house an attic fan should not be needed if it has proper ventilation per long standing guidelines.
To be continued

Trouble posting, Ill be back
Bud
Thanks! I'll wait for the rest of your response, of course. My builder also told me - the vents are powered so he sees no reason the soffit vents need to be rerouted, for what it's worth.

Also, my inclination at this point is to set the humidifier pretty low for a while - let the moisture evaporate.... then as the temp goes back up and the heater isn't running as often, turn it back up a little bit. This is me hesitating to invest in the $ and potential maintenance of an attic fan vs fixing the issue organically through less invasive means. What are your thoughts?
 
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Old 01-15-18, 01:26 PM
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Tell us about the rest of the attic ventilation, high and low?
Air sealing is the step I did not hear and air leaks into the attic are often a primary source of moisture.
A well air sealed home will not need a humidifier so that alone tells me you have some searching to do. Fortunately a lot of air sealing can be easily done. I've added a link on where to look and how to.
Bud

energystar.gov/ia/partners/bldrs_lenders_raters/downloads/TBC_Guide_062507.pdf

There, got the balance of the first post. I'll work on more of your questions and return, hopefully

Bud
 
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