Do attic fans work? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 08-16-2006, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The kind that vent the hot air out of the attic? (As opposed to the large kind installed in ceilings to draw air thru windows into the house).

We have a HUGE attic, really tall. Our roof is metal and dark green (mistake). We live in East Texas and the temps in my attic are probably around 130 or 140 or so, with the outside temps reaching nearly 100 every day. With those extremes, I don't know if an attic fan would do anything or not. Maybe more than one?

We've got to do something! Our electric bill the past couple of months has been nearly equivalent to out two car payments!!! Our AC literally runs all day without cutting off because the temps in our (new) house reach 80. We have a couple of west facing windows and several south facing ones as well, but the west facing seem to cause the most warming. We keep the blinds shut, ceiling fans on, and an extra fan on in the worst room. We have insulation blown into the attic and double pane windows. We're hot at night (like to sleep pretty cool), and our electric bill is outrageous! Just thought about adding the attic fans to our list of things we are doing to help -- IF, they work. TIA!

Off to scour the house cooling thread to see if I missed an idea!
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#2 of 12 Old 08-16-2006, 11:26 AM
 
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We have one. What's nice is its basically like having a fan in any window of your house without the noise or annoyance of having one. You just turn on the fan and open the window or windows you want the air to come in and you get a nice steady breeze through the window. It pulls the air up through the fan into the attic. This is great if its cooler outside than inside (like in the evening). The temp of your attic really doesn't matter, the air is going up into it and out the vents in the roof, not into the house. On the hottest days its usually better to just leave the whole house closed though and so it isn't great then. But its wonderful in those times when it gets hot during the day but cool at night, you can cool the whole house off very rapidly.

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#3 of 12 Old 08-16-2006, 12:39 PM
 
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Make sure the insulation in your ceiling (floor of the attic) is thick enough. Not only will it keep the heat from going out in the winter (thats why we insulate in the NE) it keeps you cooler in the summer. Attics are supposed to be hot in summer, cold in winter. They also need to be vented really well to prevent condensation. That's more than you wanted to know.

I have heard that whole house fans very effective.

Amy at Stone Fence Farm
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#4 of 12 Old 08-16-2006, 10:12 PM
 
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How do you know what size fan to get?

Also, how do you figure out what size vent you currently have in attic?

We've been wanting to get an attic fan - esp since we DON'T use a/c and quite frankly, we're wilting here.

BettyAnn
warm in Ohio. . .. .
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#5 of 12 Old 08-16-2006, 11:21 PM
 
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We have an attic fan (not a whole house fan...it just draws hot air from the attic). It comes on automatically whenever the attic temp reaches a preset level (can't remember what it's set at). It is on almost constantly on our hot days. We've always had it so I can't compare cooling costs before and after. Most people in our neighborhood have them so I guess they must be worth getting.
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#6 of 12 Old 08-18-2006, 01:46 AM
 
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I just got an attic exhaust fan about two weeks ago. We have AC but it gets very hot upstairs with just AC. Already it is much, much cooler upstairs. I haven't gotten a utility bill yet to see how much we might be saving, but I feel really good about it. Like the above poster, it goes on when the temperature in the attic hits 95 degrees.

Our local utility company recomends it for lowering costs. A friend with an old house like mine got one at the beginning of the summer and has nothing but great things to say about how much it helps cool the house.

I say go for it!

next on our list is more insulation...

j
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#7 of 12 Old 08-18-2006, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses! We're definitely going to look into one. I saw a website yesterday saying they could be dangerous though? Something about negative pressure and CO from gas water heaters and backdrafts...? Anyone heard such a thing and is he full of it? Sounds kinda like unlikely to me, but never hurts to ask.
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#8 of 12 Old 08-18-2006, 10:52 PM
 
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To through a different spin in this, we have a whole house fan.

It is awesome. It can get plum cold in the house when we run it at night. And if we need to ventilate (smoke in the kitchen) it clears out the house within a couple of minutes.
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#9 of 12 Old 08-19-2006, 12:03 PM
 
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Hi there,
I am in the same boat in NE Florida and trying to find ways to cut my electric bill.
I read somewhere about these rolls of Paper backed aluminum foil type of stuff. I'm sure that tells you a lot. I have to go to Home Depot and ask about it. But what I read said that you can buy these 4' long rolls of something resembling aluminum foil with paper backing on it. You take it up to your attic and you staple it to the eaves, covering the entire roof. You put it shiny side down. It has to do with radiant heat. I have mommy brain, so I'm lucky to have remembered this much. Also they said the darker your roof shingles are, the more heat they radiate into the house. Wish I knew that 2 years ago when we built this house.
Here I found this on the web http://www.houseneeds.com/shop/misc/...ationindex.asp
We are thinking of moving and I will definitely put this in the next house.
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#10 of 12 Old 08-21-2006, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ustasmom: My GM has an attic fan in her house and it works pretty well. I wouldn't be opposed to getting one, but DH doesn't want to cut that kinda hole in the ceiling .


shellynnrn: I was wondering about that stuff. I had read somewhere about putting something reflective on the rafters, but didn't know there was a product actually for that. Thanks!
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#11 of 12 Old 08-21-2006, 10:40 AM
 
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We got an attic fan a few years ago, and the person who installed it cut a vent through on the back side of our house. Our attic really isn't that big, I don't think, and the vent allows hot and cold air in that way, so I honestly don't think it makes much of a difference for us. At least we haven't noticed much of a change in our bill.
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#12 of 12 Old 08-21-2006, 10:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viola
We got an attic fan a few years ago, and the person who installed it cut a vent through on the back side of our house. Our attic really isn't that big, I don't think, and the vent allows hot and cold air in that way, so I honestly don't think it makes much of a difference for us. At least we haven't noticed much of a change in our bill.
Actually, an attic is supposed to be properly vented or else it causes all sorts of problems.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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