7 Best Solar Attic Fans in 2020 (Review)
The summer and winter seasons can have devastating effects on your roof and inside your attic.
During the summer, hot air can get concentrated in the attic and even damage the products or equipment that you have stored. This will also increase the load demand in your HVAC system, as it will constantly need to work to reduce temperatures. Meanwhile, during the winter season, heat from the baseboards on the floor produces an accumulation of moisture in the upper side of the attic.
To fight the effects of bad weather in your household and to reduce cooling costs from your A/C, attic venting is needed. For this purpose, you need to choose one of the best solar attic fans in 2020: eco-friendly, economical, durable, and energy-efficient solutions.
Here we will examine many details and provide the best solar attic fans review. We will help you understand the basic features and parameters that you need to be aware of when you go to purchase your solar vent.
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The Best Solar Attic Fans
1. Natural Light Florida Rated Solar Attic Fan
Natural Light Florida Rated Energy Systems is a company that uniquely specializes in the design of solar attic fans to reduce heat and moisture in the attic.
The solar roof mounted attic fan has been designed with adjustable mounting brackets that allow the 36-watt solar panel to fit any latitude for optimal energy yield production. Moreover, this feature allows the solar powered fan to increase the sun exposure no matter the type of roof where the vent fan will be installed (standard pitch, steep or flat roofs).
The adjustable attic fan comes with an outstanding 25-year limited warranty on the entire unit. Even more than what most polycrystalline solar panel manufacturers are willing to offer for their products.
Moreover, the Natural Light fan is also capable of being connected to a second module (separated) in case that the availability of solar radiation where the fan is going to be installed is not enough to power the brushless DC motor constantly.
2. Amtrak Solar’s Solar Attic Fan
The powerful 40-watt Amtrak Solar attic fan is another great option that can help you reduce the attic temperature from 150°F to 90°F by extracting all the hot air that is concentrated inside the attic during summer seasons.
This product is a solar gable mounted attic fan that has a venting capacity to clear areas up to 2,250 square feet. Also, the product has a thermally protected fan motor that has been designed to rotate galvanized steel fan blades of high efficiency.
Additionally, the solar fan includes a free thermostat and an exterior 40-watt polycrystalline solar panel that powers the brushless DC motor, using environmentally free electricity. It does all of this without the need for any additional wiring.
The 12-volt DC fan has 14-inch housing. There is no need to drill any holes in the roof, as the fan is easy to install through an available gable vent in the wall. Also, the Amtrak solar attic fan does not require any battery, as the panel turns the fan on as soon as the Sun reaches the surface of the module.
Amtrak is one of the most trusted US solar companies for these products, and they offer a 25-year warranty.
3. Natural Light 12-Watt Solar Attic Fan
Just as the first product in this list, the 12-watt Natural Light fan is a roof mount adjustable attic fan that has a 25-year product warranty. It can also qualify for a Solar Tax Credit subsidy in the US. The vent includes an adjustable solar panel that can be fixed up to a 45° angle tilt, suitable for most locations across the US.
This small solar attic fan can be installed on any roof (flat or sloped) and on top of any material (fiberglass asphalt shingle roofs, clay, wood shake, or tile roofs). This makes it perfect for applications such as sheds, barns, workshops, detached garages, and lofts.
There are also additional accessories that can be integrated into the solar vent such as a fire safety cutoff switch, a flashing skirt for tile roofs, a thermal snap switch, and an additional remote solar module that can be placed in the area with highest sun exposure.
For this product, the venting capacity reaches 1,260 sqaure feet.
4. ECO-WORTHY Model 1
In this case, we review a solar gable vent type that has a high-efficiency brushless fan motor that is able to vent up to a 2,200 square ft. area. It also provides nearly 1,960 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air ventilation.
The poly-foldable solar panel angle can be adjusted using its mounting brackets to optimize the tilt angle and increase efficiency values. The kit also includes a 16 feet solar cable to make the installation.
Moreover, voltage operation ranges of efficient brushless motor integrated into the solar vent are located between 4V and 17.2V, therefore, even during cloudy days, the fan can still work perfectly since the minimum operating voltage of the foldable solar module is at 12V.
Among other interesting facts related to the ECO-WORTHY solar powered attic fan, you will find that the motor lifespan is approximately 10,000 hours. Also, the blades are designed with a high strength aluminum alloy and the shell material is made out of a high-strength 304 stainless steel.
5. Natural Light Ultra Low-Profile 24-watt
Among solar powered attic fans, this is perhaps the most innovative and aesthetic option from Natural Light
The ventilation fan offers 24-watts with a 25-year warranty and a low visual impact; the attic ventilator integrates the solar cells into the shell of the vent. This feature also provides better performance against hurricanes and high-speed winds that could damage the mounting brackets of the modules. Even if the solar cells get damaged, they can be replaced without having to remove the entire unit.
The solar attic vent also has a powder coating on the inside and outside of the hood, along with flashing. It is suitable for asphalt shingle roofs, and it works well for tile roof applications.
Among one of the useful accessories of the product, an optional snap-on thermostat can be used in colder climates or during the winter. It has also been designed with some of the highest quality materials available among solar companies
Finally, among our solar attic fan reviews, some of the most positive feedback comments are for this product. We can truly say it is one of the top-rated solar attic fans that can be purchased at a price on Amazon of nearly $430.
6. Remington SF25-GR
Designed with a 24-volt motor, the Remington SF25-GR is a remarkable solution to extract the hot air from your warehouse, barn, or attic during the summer season and extracting the moist air during the winter season. This allows the solar vent to reduce the demand or load for your HVAC system and reduce the electricity bill at the end of the month.
The rooftop ventilator is completely powered by solar energy through the 25-watt solar panel (not adjustable), with no additional wiring required to make the installation.
Regarding some technical specs of the fan, the venting capacity is designed to provide air ventilation up to 1,800 sq. ft. with air circulation of 1,280 CFM. Moreover, the product has an integrated thermostat/humidistat that activates the vent fan at 80°F or at 75% relative humidity values.
The solar vent has also been designed with a powder-coated steel cover and has a lifetime limited warranty. Suitable at a price on Amazon of $400.
7. HQST All-In-One Unit
The HQST All-In-One Unit 30-watt solar attic fan has been entirely designed to reduce both the attic temperature and the impact of moisture in cold-climates.
Integrated with a built-in 30W solar panel, adjustable up to 45°, the HQST fan has been designed to maintain a strong air flow within the area where the solar vent is placed. An interesting feature of the roof vent fan is that the photovoltaic module can be mounted on site. It can also be detached and mounted in another location of the roof to increase sunlight exposure.
Since it is powered by the solar panel entirely (no extra wiring is required), the fan works automatically as soon as the sunlight hits the module. Keep this in mind when approaching the solar vent. You may want to purchase an optional snap-on thermostat to configure the fan activation according to temperature values.
The venting capacity of the product is able to reach an area of 2,625 square feet and provide an air flow of 860 CFM.
We can obtain this aluminum based HQST solar attic fan at an affordable price on Amazon of $300.
5 Things to Consider Before You Buy a Solar Attic Fan
Venting Capacity and Attic Space
The first and most important thing that must be considered when selecting solar attic fans is the venting capacity and square footage of the attic.
A typical household attic has insulation above the ceiling in the vents, soffits, and attic walls. Now, as the sun rises, a process called conduction occurs where heat radiates into the attic, just like an oven. If you have ever gone upstairs to the attic in the middle of a summer day, you know how hot it can get (up to 160°F).
A solar powered attic exhaust fan is designed to extract air from the attic to remove all of that contained heat, reducing temperature values to a cool range (between 40-50°F).
However, in order to be capable of reducing and regulating temperature values to acceptable ranges that will cool your attic and reduce air conditioning costs, you must make a good estimation of the attic venting load required. It is also imperative to assess the associated venting capacity of the solar attic vent.
Manufacturers typically provide two values as a reference. The first one of them is the cubic feet per minute (CFM) which is a reference of the speed at which air flows through the vent. The second term that is also generally available is the direct square footage that the solar powered fan can cover to provide up to 10 extractions per hour.
To estimate the CFM that your attic needs, a typical approach is to calculate the square footage of your attic (length times width) and multiply by 0.7 (according to principles of attic ventilation).
The pitch of the roof also influences the CFM needed (20% more for 7/12 to 10/12 pitches and 30% more for 11/12) as the volume that needs to be ventilated increases.
The possibility to adjust the tilt angle of the solar panel is a very important feature, as not all locations have the ideal roof slope for optimum energy production. Therefore, it is always advisable to select a model with this feature.
For instance, a 20-watt solar attic fan could be capable of effectively extracting air from a 2,000 square feet attic if it is adjusted at the right angle for optimum solar power production. However, it may not be able to do so if the solar cells are attached to the vent.
Solar Power Capacity
The solar power rating of the module integrated into the vent is also a matter to take into account.
Combined with the previous feature, if the tilt of the module can be adjusted accurately, then the solar panel is able to produce more power and keep the vent activated for a longer period of time.
Sometimes meteorological conditions may not be suitable for solar power production, even when the device is the proper size and has the tilt adjustment capability. That is when having the possibility to add a second solar panel is a great feature to take into account.
Solar powered attic fans should last many years. Since they consist of spinning blades exposed to heat and moisture, it is important that the product is made of high-quality materials.
Typical materials used for these products are:
- Aluminum powder-coated for housing and flashing
- Non-corrosive aluminum for the blades
- Stainless steel protective animal screen
Check if the brand offers additional features or products that could be useful. For this purpose, a free thermostat and humidistat are very important accessories, as they regulate the switching of the solar powered attic fans.
Other useful accessories may be a fire safety cutoff switch or a tile roof flashing skirt to ensure weather-tight installations.
Which Type of Fan is Best Suited for Your Attic: Gable Mounted vs Roof Mounted
There are mainly two types of solar powered attic fans: roof mounted and gable mounted attic fans.
The roof vent fan type has a slightly faster installation process but can have a bigger impact in your roof since it requires to remove entirely the wood, roof shingles, or tiles from the roof according to the shape of the ventilation fan (circular or rectangular shapes are most common).
Once the solar vent fits in this space, the installation procedure is simple. All that needs to be done is attaching the product to the roof with some screws. The solar panel is already integrated, so no connection is needed.
Meanwhile, the gable mounted type is suitable for attics where a gable vent already exists. On some occasions the space needed may be larger for the new solar vent, which will require adjustments and enlargement of the opened area for the vent. A solar gable vent will also require you to make the connections to the solar panel and install the module on another place within the roof.
Basically, if you do not have an existing gable vent in the attic of a similar size, then it’s better for you to consider a roof vent fan. Otherwise, a solar gable fan is a better option.
Keep in mind that you will need to use lot of sealants if you want to extend the life of your roof.
How Much Does it Typically Cost to Install These Types of Fans?
Installation procedures associated with solar powered attic fans are very simple and they are suitable for Do-it-Yourself projects. This makes them affordable and therefore require minimum costs.
All that is needed to make the installation can be found below:
- Marking pen
- Reciprocating saw
- Caulking gun
- Screw gun
- Measuring tape
- Razor knife
Assuming that most of these materials can be found in an average household, you could estimate costs on installations around $50 at most if you are missing some material. Adding the estimated capital costs of the solar vent, you could estimate a maximum cost of $450.
What is the Average Life Span of a Solar Powered Attic Fan?
Among the pros and cons of solar attic fans, the greatest advantage of these products is that the warranty periods can reach the 25-years.
However, real-time operations could even reach 27-30 years. Solar technology has evolved recently, and some can now last even longer than what the warranty establishes.