If the hefty electricity bills that come mainly from the AC during the summer have made you tired, check out solar attic fans. They are a new cooling solution if you live in a sunny place and need to ventilate your attic all the time. Designed with the green energy source from the sun, they can reduce your bills quickly. If you don’t know where to start, here are the best solar attic fans available in the market right now.
What To Consider When Buying A Solar Attic Fan
Venting capacity is of course the most important specification you must look at first when buying a ventilation fan. It’s at least equal to the area of the attic where you want to install the fan. In order to reduce and regulate temperature to the acceptable range while saving AC power, you have to do a good estimate of how much venting load the fan must provide.
Solar-powered attic fan manufacturers usually give two values so you can look at them as a reference. The CFM (cubic feet per minute) values will tell you how much air goes through the vent at its maximum capacity. The second one is the square footage that the product can cover. According to the rules of attic ventilation, you should multiply the area of your attic by 0.7 to calculate the value of CFM.
Not every attic fan provides the same ability to adjust the tilt angle. But this is an extremely important feature in a solar fan as it directly affects how much power the fan can get and transform from the sun. Your house may not have an optimal roof slope, for example, and it’s critical that the attic fan can be adjusted to the right angle. There are some models that need to be attached to the vents and therefore unable to do this.
Size and Weight
More powerful attic fans with higher CFM come with bigger fan blades and solar panels, making it difficult to install if you have a small space or entryway. The blades should always rotate without any obstruction on their way, and maneuvering with a big attic fan on a small roof is not easy either.
The weight of a fan depends on the materials the manufacturer has chosen to make it. Some models are not significantly heavy even though they are way more powerful.
A good rule of thumb to use when choosing an attic fan is that more blades result in better efficiency as they make the process of air exchange happen faster. A fan with more blades is also usually quieter as each blade is under a smaller load and therefore produces less noise. You should go for models with at least 5 blades, and if possible, with non-corrosive aluminum as their material.
No one wants to install a fan on their attic every year. That’s why you should opt for only durable products, even though they can be a bit more expensive. High-quality materials make sure your attic fan lasts longer and more reliable.
The best choice right now is aircraft aluminum since it’s lightweight and able to withstand impacts pretty well. Attic fans made from plastic will break and require a repair or even a replacement quickly. Stainless steel is also a good choice even though it’s heavier than aluminum.
Among attic fans on the market, there are currently two types of mounting: roof and gable mounted.
The former is easier to install but will leave a bigger impact on your roof since you need to remove the tiles, roof shingles, or wood completely beforehand, depending on the shape of the fan. When you have created this space, the installation will become simple. Just slide the fan into place and secure it with screws; no extra connection is needed.
On the other hand, gable-mounted attic fans are a better choice when your roof already has a gable vent.
Best Solar Attic Fans
Have a look at the best solar attic fans to learn more about this eco-friendly cooling solution and which product you should install on your roof.
1. Natural Light 36W Solar Attic Fan
This attic fan from Natural Light is one of the most popular models in the market, receiving praises from both experts and its customers. Users usually love their high airflow rate. The 36W Natural Light solar attic fan has an airflow of 1628 CFM, which should be enough to cover an attic space of up to 2625 square feet.
The catch here is that this powerful airflow requires a huge amount of power. That is also the reason Natural Light has equipped it with a big 36W solar panel, meaning your house must have a relatively large roof with a consistently large dose of sunlight.
Many users have reported that this attic fan is not able to reach its maximum capability when there are even thin clouds in your area, even if you feel the temperature is as high as on a sunny day. To overcome this limitation, they usually connect it to their regular electric grid. This provides power for the fan so it can continue to run when there is not enough sunlight for the solar panel.
Fortunately, even though the solar panel isn’t small, the entire package is relatively lightweight at 30 pounds, making it possible for you to install this fan on many types of roots. The installation process won’t take you much effort. Natural Light includes clear instructions in the box, so even people with no roofing experience can get the job done without trouble.
After installing it, it may bring the temperature in your attic down by up to 5 degrees. In the summer, the difference is even bigger because of the bigger dose of sunlight that the solar panel can receive. You will immediately notice the contrast in your upstairs bedroom with the Natural Light solar attic fan.
One of the biggest selling points of Natural Light is the warranty policy, and this model is no exception. It includes a 25-year warranty covering both the solar panel and the fan. This impressive policy is another example of how reliable the product is, making sure that customers can rely on it for a long time. As you may already know, one of the biggest concerns that hinder the adoption of solar solutions is the uncertainty about the ability to recover the investment. But with this warranty period, you can be assured that your money is going to be safe for at least two decades.
- Big coverage area
- Easy to install
- Long warranty period
- Need constant sunlight to operate at full capacity
2. Broan-NuTone 355SOBR Surface Mount Solar Attic Ventilator
This is another common name in the residential ventilation business, and this doesn’t stay out of the new solar-powered products with the Broan-NuTone 355SOBR.
This unit includes a durable tempered glass solar panel that can withstand tough environmental conditions like hurricane winds and hail storms. Broan-NuTone has long experience in industrial design, and this has really shown in the look of the 355SOBR attic fan.
Like most products from this American company, it has a simple yet attractive look that can blend well into your roof. And since the fan is not bulky at all, it won’t seem to be out of place after installation either. It is compatible with a wide range of attic sizes and able to cool an area of up to 1600 square feet.
This is a flush-mounting model and has a hardened shaft, sealed ball bearings, and a steel housing to protect the motor from tear and wear. On top of that, the rodent screen will make sure an adequate amount of air can go through while stopping uninvited guests like birds and insects. Additionally, there is no excessive noise even when the fan runs at its full capability, thanks to the one-piece aluminum fan.
The Broan-NuTone doesn’t require you to be an expert on roofing or carpentry to install the 355SOBR. It’s a great choice if you own a house in the Midwest or the gulf coast, where a wind-resistant and durable construction is a must. This attic fan isn’t the most powerful model you can buy, but thanks to the low profile and high build quality, the Broan-NuTone 355SOBR can easily outlast its competitors.
However, the price tag of this attic fan is exactly what you can expect from a Broan-NuTone product, meaning you must spend a little more to get the same cooling capacity compared to products of other brands.
- Extremely durable and reliable
- Suitable for tornado-prone areas
- Good looking
- Quiet operation
- Expensive given its coverage
3. iLIVING HYBRID Ready Smart Exhaust Fan
With measurements of 21 x 21 x 10 inches and the ability to offer ventilation for a space of up to 2000 square feet, this iLIVING HYBRID model is a durable and powerful attic fan. While its fan operates only at 20W, not the most powerful solar fan on the market, but this is still enough for most attic space within its maximum capacity. On top of that, the airflow runs through this exhaust fan at 1750CFM. This is one of the highest rates available, making sure you have an amazing cooling solution for your attic.
Buyers of this iLIVING smart attic fan enjoy a 15-year warranty. You can also opt for several add-on features, including a screen guard and a power supply, for a small amount of money. Those add-ons are helpful when you want to customize your setup without the need to buy separate hardware from other brands. However, many customers have also shown their disappointment at this decision from iLIVING. For such high price tags, most people expect to have those accessories already included in the box.
Despite this small downside, this is still a great fan for your attic. As a smart device, it comes with an advanced thermostat for better and smarter temperature reading, with complete control over the fan, and the certified IP68 waterproof rating. You can adjust the angle of the fan from 0 and 45 degrees to optimize it and make sure the iLIVING fan receives as much sun as possible.
- Sleek design
- Easy installation
- Smart thermostat
- Long warranty
- Must buy the power supply separately
4. Amtrak 50-Watt Solar Fan
If performance and durability are your top concerns, this Amtrak 50W fan will be a wise investment. Like any products from this American company, you will love the quality and reliable features of this attic fan, especially when you need a great replacement for your old fan.
While the high-torque motor in this fan is as powerful as those of other high-quality products, it is fairly quiet in operation. This is mainly thanks to the sealed ball bearing used in the motor. The blades are also highly efficient, so you can expect a long lifespan from this 50W attic fan. All in all, it can cover a space of up to 2250 square feet, no matter if it’s your house, garage, or just an RV.
With a clever ventilation design, this Amtrak can stop moisture from building up in your attic and avoid mildew and mold. Using a solar-powered attic fan like this is the best way you can do to protect your family from various allergies as it can regulate temperature and humidity to keep harmful organisms at bay.
One of the best selling points of this model is the thermal-protected motor, which makes sure that the whole fan works efficiently even when it must cover a huge area.
Installation is easy as you don’t need to drill any hole in your roof. Just a few steps and the Amtrak fan will be attached securely to your roof without any electrician. There are 4 mounting brackets and a 25-foot wire in the box to help you install it.
However, many users don’t really like this fan as it’s too noisy for them, and a wired model is also a big no for some. Still, this is still a decent choice when you don’t mind those points. The Amtrak 50W attic fan is overall a solid product given its price.
- Don’t need to holes in the roof
- High-quality solar panel
- Can be installed onto RVs
- Slightly noisy
- Have a lot of wires
5. Amtrak 70-Watt Solar Fan
You can think of this model as the big brother of the 50W solar attic fan above. And this increase in power doesn’t just mean it’s more powerful and able to cover a bigger house and garage, but also makes it one of the most impressive solar-powered fans available on the market right now.
Amtrak still uses high-quality and reliable components to make this fan, especially the motor. It’s a great way to prevent mildew and mold from building up in your roof while saving a lot of energy for cooling from your AC.
But unlike the 50W model, this attic fan is more expensive and maybe not a choice for customers on a budget. But if you consider its quality and the 25-year warranty, this fan may become a wise investment in the long term.
- Reliable with high-quality parts
- Long warranty
- No holes required for installation
- A bit expensive
The best solar attic fans above are a new cooling solution for any house in a sunny place. If you don’t want to rely on electricity to ventilate your attic and end up with huge electricity bills, they will be a wise investment in the long term even if the cost you must pay now is not a small amount.