The best attic fan
Your attic holds something dangerous and downright frightening. It's the incredible heat retained within your attic space when not properly ventilated. Attic temperatures can soar up to 150°F in hot weather. That's why it's important to have a good attic fan to help direct that hot air out of your attic.
We can help you choose the perfect attic fan for your needs. Read the following buying guide and reviews for the best advice you can get. We're sure you'll love our Best of the Best pick, the Cool Attic Belt Drive Two-Speed Whole House Fan. It's a two-speed fan that runs quietly and is lauded by owners for its quality build.
Considerations when choosing attic fans
Attic fan style
There are two primary fan designs for attic cooling. The first design is a whole-house fan. These fans pull air through the entire house and deposit air into the attic space. By moving cool air throughout the space, the fan also cools the attic.
The second design is called an attic venting fan. These fans clear hot air out of the attic and pull in cooler air. An attic venting fan is a more direct way of cooling the attic, while a whole-house fan is more indirect.
Attic fans are either mounted on the roof or in a gable. Either way, installation will require you to work in a delicate environment where there may be limited height and excessive heat.
Although gable installation will likely not require roof access, safety is still incredibly important. If you don't feel comfortable installing an attic fan yourself, hire a professional to do it for you.
Cubic feet per minute
This is perhaps the most important figure to look at when shopping for an attic fan. A fan's cubic feet per minute, or CFM, refers to the amount of air the fan actually moves. The bigger the house or attic space, the greater the CFM you'll want to have. Some fans are twin speed fans, which means they actually give you two different CFM numbers.
Some fans come equipped with thermostatic controls. These are helpful because they take the guesswork out of running your attic fan. The controls are usually mounted on a cord or cable, which sits a fair distance away from the fan blades. This makes for a more accurate reading since the thermostat is located away from the fan itself, where the air will be more static.
Before purchasing an attic fan, consider the square footage of your home as well as your attic space. Manufacturers often make claims that their fans can work in areas between 1,000 and 3,000 square feet. However, you can also find small, less-expensive attic fans to handle smaller attic spaces of 500 feet or less. That said, CFM is probably a more dependable number to base fan performance on than the square footage figure provided by a manufacturer.
Solar vs. standard
Solar attic fans are readily available on the consumer market. They are efficient because they don't require electricity to function. There are not many drawbacks to solar fans because they function basically the same as standard fans. One detail to pay attention to is CFM, though, because many solar attic fans have a lower CFM than standard attic fans.
Most attic fans cost between $50 and $400. Fans between $50 and $200 typically handle a smaller square footage of up to about 1,500 square feet. Fans that cost $200 are often purported to cool 3,000 square feet or more.
Q. Can I install my own attic fan, or do I need to hire a professional?
A. That depends on your level of comfort with DIY projects. Although professional installation is always preferable, most attic fans can be installed by the homeowner without significant difficulty.
Q. What is venting?
A. Venting is the process of replacing hot air with cooler air as it is pulled out of the attic. If you don't replace the exiting hot air, you can create depressurization. Doing so actually pulls cool air out of the rooms below, making the house even warmer.
Attic fans we recommend
Best of the best: Cool Attic Belt Drive Two-Speed Whole-House Fan
Our take: A massive fan that can handle large spaces.
What we like: Can manage between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet of attic space, which is larger than most can handle.
What we dislike: Not a good choice for medium to small houses.
Best bang for your buck: iLiving Variable-Speed Shutter Exhaust Fan
Our take: Powerful for the price, but only good for small attic spaces.
What we like: Pre-assembled design is convenient. Multi-speed operation is efficient, as well.
What we dislike: Only works up to 300 square feet.
Choice 3: QuietCool Gable-Mount Attic Fan
Our take: Easy to install and compatible with large spaces.
What we like: Included humidifier and thermometer, so it can engage and disengage automatically. Quiet fan.
What we dislike: Might stay on for extended periods on occasion.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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