turbine ventilator (attic fan) on top of a roof uses wind power to exhaust heat and moisture from attics

Consider An Attic Fan Replacement This Spring

You’re probably looking forward to this year’s springtime activities—nature walks, garden parties, barbecues, or evening stargazing. But, you likely may not be as thrilled about how the upcoming summer temperatures may wreak havoc on your HVAC system or increase your energy bills. 

To improve your home’s air conditioning production and energy efficiency, consider an attic fan installation or replacement this spring. Doing so will help to prevent overworking your air conditioner in the summer.

In this article, we’ll explore four significant reasons why you should consider an attic fan to improve your home’s attic ventilation. You’ll also learn about why spring is the perfect time for installation or replacement, and how to get your project off the ground. 

While it might not be as exciting as your upcoming spring break trip, the positive results of an attic fan repair, replacement, or installation will certainly lift your springtime spirits.

Attic Ventilation: A Brief Overview

How much do you know about your attic ventilation? 

While most state building codes don’t require attics to be ventilated, your attic likely features one of two kinds of airflow technologies:1

  • Static ventilation, which utilizes soffits, eave vents, or a combination of both to encourage airflow in your attic space without any motorized equipment
  • Mechanical ventilation, which moves air into and out of your attic space with the help of motorized fans or vents

In a static ventilation setup, two or more vents in your attic are strategically placed to direct outdoor air into the space and expel attic air to the outside, creating a cross-breeze. Typically, one vent is placed lower to the attic floor while the other is placed closer to the roofline, encouraging warm air to rise up and out of the attic when cooler air flows in. 

But, static ventilation setups aren’t always the most advantageous. For instance, if you live in an area with very cold winters or very hot summers, static ventilation methods could trap warm or cold air inside, creating more work for your HVAC system. 

Mechanical ventilation tools provide homeowners with more control over their attic temperature. In the winter, homeowners with attic fans can turn their fans off to keep warm air inside the house, turning them on intermittently to prevent moisture buildup in the attic. In the summer, users can leave their fans running continuously to prevent hot air from leaking back into their conditioned interior spaces. 

Top 4 Reasons to Add or Replace an Attic Fan

Whether you don’t yet have an attic fan or you’ve been putting off your attic fan motor replacement for a few years, adding a mechanical ventilation solution to your home can increase your quality of life in four significant ways.

#1 Reduce Moisture Buildup

Even with the proper attic insulation, some air leaks from your conditioned space into the attic are normal. Conditioned air can leak through any kind of wall penetration, like:2

  • Electrical outlets and light switches
  • Light fixtures
  • Wires
  • Air vents

In addition, conditioned air can sneak into your attic via leaky air ducts. 

Air leakage can cause moisture buildup in your attic in both the summer and winter months due to condensation. When warm air leaks into a very cold space (like your attic, in the winter months), water droplets can form on surfaces. The reverse is true as well, creating moisture buildup in the summer months when cold air leaks into your warm attic. 

An attic fan prevents moisture buildup in two significant ways:

  • Airflow – With increased air movement in your attic, suspended water droplets are quickly moved to the outside and don’t have enough time to settle on surfaces.
  • Normalized temperature – Since fans keep attic spaces from becoming too hot or too cold compared to the rest of your home, they decrease the likelihood of condensation forming in the first place.

You may want to consider booking a home insulation inspection to limit air leakage in your attic and in the rest of your house.

#2 Extend the Life of Your Building Materials

By reducing moisture buildup, attic fans, in turn, help prevent mold growth, wood rot, and other concerns, extending the life of your building materials. 

Moisture can significantly decrease the integrity of your attic’s structural materials. If your attic is too moist, you could experience:

  • Mold growth – When water droplets condense and settle on the surfaces in your attic—framing lumber, roof decking, HVAC ducts, and insulation—the moisture combined with warm spring or summer temperatures can prompt mold growth. Mold inhalation isn’t just detrimental to your health—it can weaken or eat away at the materials holding your home together. 
  • Wood rot – Moisture and lumber don’t get along well. While your framing lumber is likely treated to prevent moisture infiltration, consistent exposure to a humid environment can accelerate the rotting process, decimating your framing lumber and leading to costly repairs.
  • Cracking – In the winter months, condensation can settle on your attic surfaces and freeze when temperatures are low. When water freezes, it expands, potentially causing cracks in wood, metal, or concrete.3

If you’re worried about your potential attic fan replacement cost, consider the expense if you let moist air in your attic run its course—roofing materials, framing lumber, and mold removal are costly. 

#3 Normalize Temperatures in Your Attic

Most attics aren’t conditioned spaces, meaning they typically take on the temperature of the air outside your home—attics can become very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. 

However, an attic fan normalizes the temperature of your attic by stimulating airflow, preventing excess hot or cold air trapping. This function is particularly important in the summer and winter months:

  • In the summer, your attic and roof materials can get very hot due to increased sun exposure and higher seasonal temperatures. If your attic is very hot in the summer, that hot air can infiltrate your home via conductive transfer, making your home warmer and increasing the energy your A/C system needs to keep your home cool.4
  • In the winter, inconsistent roof surface temperatures can cause ice damming. When it’s sleeting or snowing, and higher sections of your roof are warmer than the edges, the snow or sleet can solidify into a block of ice at the edge of your roof. This can prevent water from melting and draining properly. The weight of the ice and the standing water can cause significant roofing material damage.5

When you install or replace your attic fan, you can reduce the burden on your HVAC system in the summer and decrease the likelihood of ice damming in the winter.

#4 Increase Your Home’s Value

Like all quality of life improvements, such as an attic fan installation can increase your home’s value. Why?

  • An attic fan can extend the longevity of your building materials, signaling to potential buyers that the home will last.
  • Since an attic fan reduces the energy needed for your HVAC system to operate properly in extreme temperatures, you can advertise your home’s energy efficiency when you put it on the market. 

Like a ceiling fan, irrigation system, conveniently-placed electrical outlet, or anything else you add to your home to improve your quality of life, an attic fan is an investment that increases your home’s functionality, increasing its worth and marketability. 

Even if you’re not planning to sell anytime soon, an attic fan can help you efficiently and effectively maintain your home until it reaches the market. 

Spring: The Season for Attic Improvements

Why do experts recommend booking attic fan services during the spring? 

Spring is an excellent time to complete home renovations or other improvement projects for the following reasons:

  • Spring weather is temperate—you won’t have to complete the process in sweltering heat or the frigid cold.
  • Spring provides homeowners ample time to complete tasks that can help prepare them for the upcoming summer months and prevent any mishaps. 
  • In early to mid-spring, young children will likely still be in school, which makes it more convenient for attic professionals in your service area to complete your attic fan installation while your kids are out of the house.
  • Spring has fewer major holidays than the fall and winter, giving you more flexible deadlines for completing home improvement projects. 

The First Steps in the Attic Fan Replacement Process

When you’re ready to repair, replace, or install an attic fan, how can you start the process? 

First, determine whether you’re going to complete the work yourself or hire attic professionals. Installing or replacing an attic fan is easier said than done. We recommend hiring experts to help you since installation requires significant structural work.

If you choose to hire attic specialists, collect as many quotes as you can. We recommend gathering at least three estimates. But, before choosing a contractor, consider more than just the price of the work:

  • Do all of the providers offer turnkey service? Will they prepare your attic, install the fan, and clean up before closing out the job, or will you have to prepare and clean up yourself?
  • Which provider has the best reviews? If you’re having a hard time finding references, ask a representative for referrals from past clients.
  • During free consultations, were you particularly impressed with the know-how, expediency, or courtesy of one of the providers? 

The power is in your hands—while an attic fan replacement service cost may be a concern, choose the professional you think will produce the highest quality work. 

Attic Construction: Providing Turnkey Attic Solutions for Over Ten Years

There are numerous benefits to installing or replacing an attic fan in your home. If you’re ready for improved energy efficiency, increased lifespan for your building materials, and more, it’s time to start planning your next home improvement project.

Attic Construction is here to help with all of your family’s attic-related needs. From replacement of attic fan motors, to fan installation, we offer numerous attic services. If you’re looking for attic cleaning in Orange County, San Diego, or Phoenix, our team of experts can provide the highest quality services possible. 

If your attic needs work, but you’re not ready to take on your next project alone, you’ve come to the right place—call us for a free consultation today.

 

Sources: 

  1. Attic Ventilation 101. International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants. https://iibec.org/attic-ventilation-101/ 
  2. Boston Globe. How to Handle a Moisture Problem in the Attic. https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/real-estate/2015/03/01/how-handle-moisture-problem-attic/S694TObl8AUtRhataej79H/story.html 
  3. Khan Academy. Specific Heat, Heat of Vaporization, and Density of Water. https://www.khanacademy.org/science/ap-biology/chemistry-of-life/structure-of-water-and-hydrogen-bonding/a/specific-heat-heat-of-vaporization-and-freezing-of-water 
  4. US Department of Energy. Insulation. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/insulation 
  5. University of Minnesota Extension. Dealing With and Preventing Ice Dams. https://extension.umn.edu/protecting-home-rain-and-ice/dealing-and-preventing-ice-dams 

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Written By Joseph Sheiner

Joseph Sheiner is a construction industry professional with over 15 years of experience. He began his career in the insulation industry in 2012, and co-founded Attic Construction Inc in 2013. As CEO of the company, Joe oversees all operations and is in charge of training and product knowledge.

Under Joe’s leadership, Attic Construction has become the largest leading Attic Restoration Company in San Diego, Orange County and Phoenix. He has personally performed and supervised insulation work in over 7000 homes. He is certified by Owens Corning as a CEE (Certified Energy Expert) and is a licensed contractor by the CSLB.
Most recently, Joe has helped expand Attic Construction to two additional locations – Orange County and Phoenix. He is currently working on expanding to additional locations in the near future.

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Great work! Our attic went from totally disgusting to pristine.  They are courteous and professional and clean up after themselves.

-Karen L. Santee, CA

Andrew was very informative and helpful during the whole process. Excellent communication and his team did a great job. He came on Sunday and the work was done and completed by Tuesday. Highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a fair prices and great service.

– Joey E. San Diego, CA