Attic fans are used to maintain the heat level of a house or a building. They are important for maintaining the structure of the house as they avoid moisture build up which can lead to mold growth and generate rots. A Solar attic fan is powered by solar energy. Solar Attic helps in enhancing the ventilation of the building in a simple yet effective way. Like the orthodox attic fans, the solar attic fans also help in removing hot and stagnant air keeping the place maintain a cool environment. The Attic greatly determines the temperature of the house.
Solar attic provides an edge over other traditional attics due to low maintenance and a reliable source. The solar Attics are easy to use and provide a pragmatic alternative.
Working of Solar Attics fan
Solar attic fans works with the help of a thermal switch. The thermal switch of the attic helps in turning on a fan when the temperature crosses a limiting temperature, thus helping to maintain a cool environment of the house. There are various variants of solar attics available for application depending on the roofing and housing types. Most of these attics have similar working where they use thermal switch and tap in solar energy for solar attics. Some of the major types of Solar Attics that are used are:
- Roof Mounted Attic Fan : This type of solar attics uses solar panels mounted on the roofs, to use solar energy for the cooling purposes. This is the most widespread attic and can be used on a variety of roofs.
- Curb Mounted Attic Fan : These attics have a similar capacity to roof attic fans although their use is still not widespread and are not available in a wide variety. They are mostly used for industrial purposes.
- Gable mounted Vent kit : Mostly used for residential homes, these are also installed on the roof surfaces. The fan is installed in an existing gable opening and powered by a remote solar panel.
Benefits of Solar Attics fan
Solar attics provide a major alternative to the traditionally used attics. Solar attics are economically feasible, environmentally sound and flexible to use. Easy implementation and low maintenance problems help in attracting the consumers. Some of the premiere uses of solar attics are:
- No electricity : Solar attic fans requires solar energy as a fuel. It does not require electricity for its working. This majorly helps in reducing the utility bills. There are no issues of reliable source provided that the sun shines bright and high.
- Attractive design : With increasing usage of Solar attics, the attics are now available in a variety of shapes and sizes which should suit the user’s needs.
- Low Maintenance : Solar attic fans do not require major maintenance once installed. Unlike their electric counterparts, they require minimal services, and once installed it runs free of charge. Also the fans come with a warranty of around 20 to 25 years.
- Wind resistant : Solar attic fans are wind resistant and are perturbed only when there is a huge wind source coming in contact with the attic fan.
- Available in a variety of sizes : The Solar Attic fans are available in a variety of sizes. Though the technology is relatively new, the progress in terms of availability of sizes and models has been noteworthy. Solar attics can be therefore fitted on various sites irrespective of the size required due to availability.
- Cost benefits : Solar Attic fans are cost effective and sustainable. Not only are the initial costs comparable and even cheaper than the electric attic fans but also the maintenance of the fans is negligible. An average solar attic fan costs around $695 whereas conventional ones cost around $705 for installation and wiring. Further the electricity and utility costs of the electric attic fans add up to the total investment.
- Limits AC needs : Attic fans inherently cools down the atmosphere of the building so that the cooling systems like AC have lower loads and are able to work in an efficient manner. Solar Attic fans live up to the billing of making the atmosphere ambient and helping the ACs to perform efficiently.
Limitations of Solar Attics Fan
Solar Attic fans do have certain limitations though the technology is innovative and promising. Solar attic fans are still to be used on the larger scale. Moreover the fans come with various technical and usage limitations. Some of the most prominent ones are:
- High Initial costs : Though the overall costing of the installation and utility makes the solar attic fans a good bet, the cost of buying the fan only is still around four times than that of the orthodox fans. The cost of buying solar attic fans is around $495 whereas the cost of electric attic fans is only around $120. This leads to hesitation on the part of the buyer for the solar ones.
- Weather dependency : Like other solar technologies, solar attic fans are heavily dependent on the weather present on the day for the working to be efficient. This lead to unreliability in places where sun is not dominant enough. Solar attics have only the dependency on sun for its working which proves to be a major liability.
- Geographic limitations : Solar Attic fans are feasible only when the climate suits the working of the fans. Though the fans can also be applied for maintaining ambience in winters as well, the fans are efficient only when the source-sun-is present in the required amount
- Increase in efficiency needed : The energy efficiency of the solar attics are still there to be improved. The solar attic fans are promising but technically there is still a lot of growth to follow. The solar energy has tremendous potential which can be increasingly tapped for overcoming other issues.
- Prone to damage : Most of the types of solar attic fans are used on the roofs of the building on which they are used. This leads to the solar attics being vulnerable to physical and working damages.
Solar Attic Fans are a pragmatic innovation in the field of attic fans. Solar technology once again proves to be effective and beneficial. Not only are the fans flexible to use and easy to implement, they provide an excellent alternative to the more used widely used Electric Attic fans. Electric attic fans are costlier and consume electricity adding to the utility bills.
Solar attic fans however are in their prime stages of use. The fans do have technical and usage issues which limits the use of the solar attic fans. The biggest issue is that of the availability of sun throughout.