Installing a Solar Fan in Your Greenhouse

Looking through a lush garden at a small greenhouse.
What You'll Need
Solar fan
Caulking gun
Jig saw

Many homeowners who have a greenhouse in their backyard install a solar-powered vent fan to gain more control over the atmospheric conditions in the greenhouse. Healthy, colorful plants are a product of both the nutrients in the soil and the amount of sun, heat, and water in the air, which you can control with a solar vent fan. If you have a greenhouse, here are the steps to install a solar-powered vent fan in your greenhouse.

Step 1 - Plan the Location of the Fan and Thermostat

A solar fan is operated automatically through a thermostat that is placed nearby it. In a home with an attic vent fan, this means either on the roof or along the sides of the attic walls. With a greenhouse application the same thing applies. It does not matter where the fan is located as long as it has unobstructed access to airflow in and out of the greenhouse. Determine where the fan will be located and mark the areas before doing any work.

Step 2 - Make an Outline of the Fan

Once you decide where the fan is going to be installed, draw an outline on the plexiglass, or glass, where it will be positioned.

Step 3 - Cut a Hole for the Fan

Remove the glass pane where the fan is going to be installed. If you are working with plexiglass, you can begin to cut out the hole for the fan with a jig saw and a plexiglass blade. Drill a hole in each of the corners with a drill first and then carefully follow along the lines. If working with glass, you will either need to use a glass cutter, or take it to a glass shop for cutting.

Step 4 - Install the Thermostat

While the glass is being cut, or after you have cut the plexiglass, set the thermostat in position on the cross beam. Secure it with metal self-tapping screws or with adhesive backing.

Step 5 - Install the Solar Panel

If the solar-powered vent fan has a detached solar panel, install this in a section that receives a lot of sun during the day. Secure it to the crossbeams with self-tapping metal screws.

Step 6 - Install the Fan

With the thermostat and the solar panel in place, set the fan into the piece of plexiglass, or glass pane, where you cut the hole. Secure it with the mounting bracket and tighten all the connections. Replace the pane, placing a bead of weatherproof caulk around the outside of the fan to keep an airtight seal.

Step 7 - Make the Electrical Connections

Because the attic vent fan is solar-powered, you will only need to connect wires from the solar panel to the thermostat to the fan. Follow the manufacturer's instructions while doing this and make sure that the connections are secure.