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Thread: Ridge vents v.s. attic fans?

 


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    Ridge vents v.s. attic fans?

    I was thinking of putting one or two solar powered attic fans in to help with the heat. One roofing contractor said ridge vents would be better since it is a passive system and won't break over time...and my be a bit cheaper to have installed.

    Anyone have any experience with one or both of these?
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    Teamcasa's Avatar
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    Solar fans work great but they will fail and or leak at some point. Ridge vents work but not as well but they should last the life of the roof and will not leak. My vote, ridge vent.
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    Use both, they are complimentary. I wouldn't go solar, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob9000 View Post
    I was thinking of putting one or two solar powered attic fans in to help with the heat. One roofing contractor said ridge vents would be better since it is a passive system and won't break over time...and my be a bit cheaper to have installed.

    Anyone have any experience with one or both of these?
    Does it ever get that hot in San Francisco?

    "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco."

    Mark Twain


    My vote BTW is for a fan, solar or other wise.

    Ridge vents work only when you have a substantial temperature differential, meaning your attic will be damn hot.

    Even a small fan powered from the mains will easily pay for it's self by reducing the heat load on the conditioned space.

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    Yeah unfortunately we don't get the SF cool breezes here. I'm on the other side of the hill range that blocks the fog and stuff from coming out here. It gets hot out here in the summer (consistently 80+ deg with many 90+ and some 100ish). I am leaning towards the ridge vent since it will be cheaper to install (in terms of total installed price). Right now we have one eyebrow vent.
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    Rob, easy, just move to Fremont Seriously, I would just stick with the ridge vent, you're contractor is right. I had a powered vent installed in my roof and ended up unplugging it after a week, because it was sucking cold air from the house and possibly carbon monoxide from the heater.

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    Quote Originally Posted by subzero View Post
    Rob, easy, just move to Fremont Seriously, I would just stick with the ridge vent, you're contractor is right. I had a powered vent installed in my roof and ended up unplugging it after a week, because it was sucking cold air from the house and possibly carbon monoxide from the heater.
    Ah, you have other problems if an attic ventilator is doing either.

    For any attic vent system to work you need flow, inlets and outlets in the attic space itself.

    If an attic ventilator is "sucking" cold air from a conditioned space the attic has insufficient inlets.

    Without somewhere for the ambient air to enter the attic it won't much matter whether you use ridge vents, solar fans, 120 volt fans, trained squirrels running on a wheel......


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    Installing An Attic Fan - Popular Mechanics

    The best option might depend on what you have in the attic right now. Do you have gable vents? Soffit vents? You need a way to get cooler air in as well as a way to move the hot air out.

    Adding temperature controlled electric gable fans (they don't turn on until the attic reaches a programmable temp) made a big difference in our house. We already had soffit vents.

    Each fan was less than $50 parts. DIY for the install.

    edit: what he said, a minute earlier
    Last edited by fireflock; April 15th, 2008 at 08:50 PM. Reason: beat me to it.

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    redrover's Avatar
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    Here there isn’t any cooler air to move and with the humidity just air movement is much appreciated. I can sure see the fans operating (at least one in every room as well as a couple on the ceiling) in the electric bill. (What HELCO loses with no heat or AC they gain right back in cost of electricity.)

    Amazing what you find here. I’ve been debating doing that. Any thoughts about better utilizing the Trades or just creating more air movement? No attic either, high peak open ceiling.

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    We have ridge vents, and I think having that passive solution makes alot of sense. We also have a thermostatically controlled gable fan (wired, not solar) for when it's really toasty up there and it's a good thing.

    Make sure you also have good soffit vents or a ridge vent won't do you much good, some houses have only a few lame little soffit vents installed.

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