Attic ventilation fans provide protection against moisture build up and ice dams in the winter and heat build-up in the summer, which not only prolongs the life of your building materials but also improves the overall comfort of your building. Furthermore, it also helps reduce utility costs by lowering the load placed on the air conditioner and other appliances.

Installing an attic ventilation fan will usually address these issues. However, since all buildings are constructed differently, and they are not all exposed to the same climates, not every home will benefit from the same type of attic fan. Below, we’ll discuss the most common types of attic ventilation fans for residential buildings.

1. Wind Turbines

a large metallic wind turbine

Image Source: Home Depot

Wind turbines are a type of attic vent that utilizes a fan; however, they do not have motors to power them. Instead, they rely on the wind to power their fans. It is this rotating action triggered by the wind that draws moisture and hot air out of the attic.

These units are available in varying qualities. However, for a quieter operation, it is recommended that you select only a high-quality unit as they have permanently lubricated ball bearings or plastic bushings in the rotating mechanism that enable them to operate more smoothly as compared to their cheaper, squeakier counterparts.

Wind-powered fans provide attic ventilation by utilizing natural energy, which is a good choice for those looking to conserve energy. However, like many other natural energy sourced products, they may suffer from a lack of efficiency and operation if weather conditions aren’t right. When wind speeds are favorable, these fans produce ample air circulation throughout the attic.

2. Electrical Powered Fans

an electrical power fan for a house attic ventilation

Image Source: Green Building Advisor

Electrical powered attic fans are capable of circulating large amounts of air, and on a consistent basis, because they are powered by electricity. However, they typically cost more to operate than other attic fans, which is especially true when operating them in the summer when the fan is put to frequent use.

Various models also include adjustable thermostats which trigger the fan to operate when the attic reaches a certain temperature, and they are also available with a humidistat that detects levels of humidity and turn on. Most models are hardwired to the building’s electrical system; however, there are units that include built-in solar panels to operate the unit.

The installation of electrical powered fans require wiring; therefore, you will most likely need to hire an electrician, so be sure to factor this into your cost. Needless to say, power ventilators require electricity to operate; therefore, they may not be an effective choice to conserve energy.

Additionally, since these units are designed to operate fairly quietly while providing efficient ventilation, the unit may cease to function unbeknownst to the occupants. Therefore, with this type of unit, it is often recommended that you undergo a brief inspection at least twice a year to ensure it is functioning properly.

3. Solar Attic Fans

a black solar attic fan on a roof

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Incorporating a solar attic fan in your building enables you to conserve electricity and gas when operating, which in turn reduces your energy bill due to less energy consumption.

When used in climates where there is sufficient sunlight, these fans are quite effective, but when used in climates that lack ample sunlight, they lose efficiency and fail to operate entirely when skies are cloudy. However, these fans can still operate as effective ventilators during periods of decreased sunshine and cost on average lower than electrical powered fans.

4. Ridge Vents

roof ridge vents for attic ventilation

Image Source: YouTube

Ridge vents are static, meaning they have no moving parts. This ventilation system provides cooling along the entire horizontal ridge of the roof. They are installed from end to end and have a low profile, which means they blend more aesthetically within your home.

The great advantage of a ridge vent is that it provides even distribution of temperature. With another form of ventilation, you often deal with hot and cold zones on the surface of the roof. Which brings us to yet another benefit – ridge vents prolong the life of your roof. The system is not dependent on wind, so regardless of the wind’s speed and direction, you get the same performance.

What Are the Benefits of Attic Ventilation Fans for Residential Buildings?

The main benefit of installing attic ventilation fans in your residential building is they help prolong the life of your building materials, including the shingles, which can become damaged due to excess moisture buildup and water backup due to ice dams. Attic ventilation fans also help lower your utility bills by decreasing the load placed on your air conditioner and other appliances that result from battling the excess heat.

Lastly, attic ventilation fans provide a more comfortable building by removing excess heat and moisture from the top level of your building, which can cause indoor temperatures to rise and even lead to mold growth, which can make it harder to breathe for those with respiratory issues.

How Much Does Attic Ventilation Fans Cost?

The cost of attic ventilation fans varies depending on various factors, including whether you select an electrically powered unit or a solar powered attic ventilation fan. According to reports, solar powered attic ventilation fans cost on average between $350 to $600 per unit, depending on manufacturer, capacity, and additional features, and no money to operate.

Electric-powered attic ventilation fans, on the other hand, are a bit pricier at about $70 to $300 per electric attic fan kit, and a humidistat, which when it senses moisture in the attic, activates the fan, costs an additional $90 to $150. You will also need to factor in operating costs, which can cost about $3 per month.

Lastly, you will also need to factor in installation costs, which averages between $30 to $70 per hour for professional installation, depending on the complexity and condition of the attic.

Summing Up

Before selecting your attic ventilation fan, be sure to consult with your local authorities concerning your area’s building codes and regulations, which will help determine the type of attic ventilation fan to select for your building. Additionally, when dealing with electric powered fans, be sure to hire a professional electrician to install the unit in order to help ensure efficient and safe operation.

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