What Is A Roof Fan?

Posted on Feb 1, 2021

Most times, when thinking about your attic, you might be considering getting your skis down from storage or wondering if the noise you heard might be a pest up there. However, did you know your attic plays an important role in the comfort level of your home? Attics act as heat shields for our homes and have a major impact on the temperature of the rest of the building. That is why a roof fan, or attic fan, can be vital to improving the climate of your home and saving you money.

The Importance of an Attic

When the summer sun beats down on your roof, the structure absorbs the heat. This energy radiates in the attic space, and this is conducted down through the home’s framing. If the heat energy is too much, especially in the summer when the sun is at its hottest, this might cause you to crank up your AC to reduce the temperature in your home. However, if you were able to improve the ventilation in your attic to reduce the amount of heat that was transferred down to the home, you could save electric costs and create a more comfortable environment for your family.

What is a Roof Fan?

Adequate ventilation can help cool your attic by pushing our stifling hot air from the inside and bringing in cool air from the outside. This prevents the hot air from traveling downward into your home and increasing the temperature – or your electricity bill, as you crank up the AC. Roof fans help assist with this problem.

Roof fans are installed either on the roof or through an exterior wall in the attic space. These fans pull the air through the attic space, creating movement in the attic and pulling the hot air out of the attic to the outside. Proper circulation will also pull the cooler air from the outside into the attic space.

This movement and circulation help to cool down the wood framing. An attic can reach temperatures of upwards of 150 degrees, especially here in Hawaii where we have beautiful sun many days of the year and air conditioning can seem like a necessity. While we love to play in it, this warm sun can turn your attic into an oven.

Pros of a Roof Fan

There are several pros to having a roof or attic fan.

  • Cooler home – as we have discussed, the main reason people decide tin install an attic fan is to help cool the home. Lowering your attic temperature can lower the overall temperature of the home, keeping the lower levels cooler in the summer.
  • Reduce electricity bills – if the living spaces in your home stay naturally cooler in the summer, chances are, you will be less likely to crank up the AC. This can save you money on electricity bills but can also help prolong the life of your AC unit, as it is not having to work as hard during the summer month. The average life expectancy for an air conditioning unit is about 15 years, but if it runs hard for a long period of time, that life expectancy may drop to six to eight years.
  • Prolong life of roof – if your attic gets hot during the summer, chances are, that heat is radiating up through your roof as well. If this is the case, your roof is getting exposed to heat from both sides, which can cause the shingles to prematurely age, fade or blister in the sun. Cooling the inside can help preserve the health of the shingles.
  • Prevent mold – any space that is poorly ventilated can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, especially here in humid Hawaii. Proper ventilation can help prevent condensation and reduce moisture in the attic, inhibiting mold growth.

Disadvantage of Roof Fan

As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to attic fans, and they may not be suitable for all homes.

  • Pull air from the home – air does not move in a single direction, and while the hot air comes down from the attic, cool air from the house can also be pulled up by the roof fan. One of the main cons for an attic fan is that while ventilating your attic, it might also pull air cooled by your home’s AC unit out of the home.
  • Leaks – because roof fans are installed out of the roof or exterior walls of your home, there is an increased risk for leaking around the fan.
  • Insulation may reduce fans effectiveness – some studies have found that homes that were built properly insulated to prevent the heat from moving down into the living space may not benefit from attic fans.

Are you considering a roof fan on your home? Contact our team at Airpro Indoor Air Solutions to have a member of our team inspect your home to see if this step is right for you. Contact us today to get started.