Solar Attic Fan Installation: 4 Mistakes to Avoid Solar Attic Fan Installation: 4 Mistakes to Avoid
A solar attic fan is one option available to you for cooling your home. The fan consists of a solar panel in one area of the roof and a fan installed in another area. However, some models contain the fan and panel in one unit. The solar panel absorbs the sun’s energy which is used to operate the fan. This helps to reduce the demand for electricity, which helps to lower your utility bills. A solar fan operates quietly, which makes it an excellent choice if noise level is one of your concerns. You need not call in an electrician to install the fan. However, it helps if you’re careful to avoid certain mistakes as outlined below.
1. Location on the Roof
It is vital that you install the fan in a central location close to the roof peak as this is where the warmest air occurs. Plan to install your fan about 2 feet from the roof peak. Do not position your fan above any of the roof rafters. If you cut through the rafters during installation, it is likely to weaken the structural integrity of your roof. Identify a safe point that is in between the rafters. Larger attics require 2 or more fans for maximum circulation of cool air. Be sure to allow at least 15 feet between the fans for proper circulation.
2. Avoid Shaded Areas
Do not install the fan or solar panels in a place where the sun’s rays hardly reach. Roofs that face north are not a good location. It is best to select sites that allow for maximum exposure to the sun. This ensures that the solar panels receive the maximum amount of sunlight available for operation of the fan. Avoid roof areas that are shaded by trees or a chimney. It is best to install the panels on the side of your roof that faces south due to higher exposure to sunlight in such locations.
3. Size of Opening
It is best not to purchase a solar fan before you measure the space between your rafters. This ensures that you don’t obtain a fan that requires a larger opening than the available space. Before you proceed to cut out the hole for the fan, be sure to check the fan size. It is also a good idea to confirm the size of hole required from the instruction manual. Once you have the correct size, proceed to draw the required circle with a chalk. You can then cut out the hole with the help of a reciprocating saw.
4. Failure to Waterproof
Once you’ve installed your solar attic fan, you need to make certain to waterproof the installation. Use a high quality exterior sealant to seal around the entire fan. For units that have the panels installed separately from the fan, you’ll need to seal around the panels as well. This helps to keep out moisture and dirt from the panels. When moisture and dirt infiltrate the panels, it hampers efficiency. It also leads to damages which shortens the life span of your solar panels.