How to Install a Solar Exhaust Fan

Close up of fan blades
  • 3-5 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-150
What You'll Need
Reciprocating saw
12-inch saw blade
6-inch saw blade
3/4-inch bit
Caulk and caulk gun
Tin clippers
Pry bar
Various screws depending on the solar exhaust kit purchased.
Roof Cement
Carpentry crayon

Learning how to install a solar exhaust fan in the attic is an excellent first step to going green. The installation of a solar exhaust fan is fairly simple and cost effective. A small fan installed in the attic can reduce the power put out by your air conditioner by as much as fifty percent during summer months. Many of the solar fans can move 800 cubic feet of air or more during extremely hot conditions. Solar fans can be purchased ready to install and with a few steps you will have your fan operational in just a few hours. Check with the manufacturer kit for any special tools required for the particular kit.

Step 1 - Locate and Prepare the Area

Locate the area for the solar exhaust fan. The solar exhaust fan should be centered between two rafters for a secure hold. On the inside of the attic mark the location and drill a screw into the location. Move to the outside of the attic onto the roof. Locate the freshly drilled hole and measure the circular area for the fan. Draw off the circle area with a carpentry crayon and cut the hole using the reciprocating saw and appropriate blade for the hole size chosen.

Step 2 - Prepare the Shingles Surrounding the Solar Exhaust Fan Incision Point

Use the pry bar to loosen the shingles located around the incision point. You will notice felt paper under the shingles. Use tin clippers to snip the paper five to six inches on each side of the incision point. Cut the roofing nails in a nine to three clock pattern using your saw. Make sure all nails are removed before proceeding.

Step 3 - Place the Solar Exhaust Fan

Remove the solar exhaust fan from it's packaging if you have not already done so. Place the fan carefully into the incision point. The top of the fan should be flush with the top of the shingle opening. In order to place the fan securely be sure to move the unit side to side slowly and gently as you place it. This will make sure that it has a secure fit within the shingles.

Step 4 - Secure the Solar Exhaust Fan and Complete the Installation

With the fan securely in place use roof cement to seal around the edges. Use the roofing cement to secure the surrounding shingles by lifting the shingle up slightly and applying a liberal amount of cement. Press down the shingles to ensure the fan and shingles are connected and secure. Make sure to fill all surrounding areas of the shingles and fan to avoid a roof leak that could cause damage to the attic. Allow the cement to dry on the shingles and the fan for at least 24-hours. Begin the test of your fan.