Attic Breeze Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs About Attic Breeze Solar Attic Fans
Living in Arizona, we get a lot of sun and our home gets extremely hot during the summer. It seems like our air conditioner runs constantly and cannot keep up with the heat of the day. Will your solar attic fans help?
During the summer, attic temperatures can soar to over 150°F, keeping your attic hot throughout the day and well into the night when your attic is not properly ventilated. The higher the temperature of your attic, the less effective attic insulation will be at stopping heat from entering your home. If your attic insulation is old or your attic is not very well insulated, heat transfer into your home becomes even worse. And if your HVAC system is installed in your attic, it will be affected by the higher attic temperatures as well, becoming less efficient due to heat gain and operating much longer than it should.
Installation of an Attic Breeze solar attic fan will help by reducing the temperature of your attic space. With a lower attic temperature, your HVAC equipment will operate more efficiently, there will be less heat transfer into your HVAC air ducts, and overall less heat transfer into your home. The result will be a more comfortable home that requires less energy to cool.
How well do your solar attic fans stand up to hurricanes?
Attic Breeze solar attic fans are designed to be the most durable solar powered ventilation products on the market. Our all metal zincalume alloy fan construction is rated for hurricane force winds of over 170 MPH (wind load pressures of ±115 PSF). Attic Breeze solar attic fans are third-party tested, state certified, and windstorm approved for use by both the states of Florida and Texas.
We receive a lot of hail storms in the DFW area. How well do the solar panels on Attic Breeze fans hold up to hail?
Attic Breeze uses commercial-grade solar panels with high-strength tempered glass on all of our products. These solar panels feature an anodized aluminum frame for added strength and protection, similar to the heavy-duty solar panels that are used by the state highway department. Our solar panels are designed to easily withstand mild to moderate hailstorm conditions and are factory tested to comply with impact resistant industry standards. If your home is in a hail storm that is severe enough to damage one of our solar panels, the solar panel will be the least of your worries... you will most likely be replacing your entire roof.
How quiet are your fans?
Attic Breeze solar attic fans are designed for whisper quiet operation. Using a proprietary five wing aluminum fan blade adjusted for optimum airflow performance, our solar attic fans will produce <1 sonne (<30 decibels) of noise during operation. In real world terms, this is less noise than you would hear in a quiet library.
I have heard good things about Attic Breeze from one of my neighbors that has your solar attic fan installed on their home. I would like to install one as well, but my roofer said I might not be able to because my ridge vent would not work properly with the attic fan. Can your solar attic fans be installed on a home that has ridge vents?
Yes, you can install our products on homes with an existing ridge vent. However your roofing contractor is correct as well about the ridge vent not working properly. When you install our solar attic fan in combination with a ridge vent, the ridge vent will actually work in reverse functioning as air intake vent while the fan is running. In fact, every passive vent on your roof will act as an air intake vent while the fan is operating. However this is not a problem, it is simply a different, more effective method of operation for your roof's ventilation system. And when your solar attic fan is not running, the ridge vent will work as normal.
To better understand this concept, we need to talk about how ridge vents work. A ridge vent operates on the principle of natural draft air convection. This means that as the attic heats up, hot air will rise to the attic ridge and naturally flow out through the ridge vent. So for a ridge vent to work properly, the attic must first get hot. Once the attic heats up to around 130°-140°F, the ridge vent will typically sustain an airflow of roughly 3-4 attic air exchanges per hour.
By contrast, Attic Breeze solar attic fans operate on the principle of forced draft air convection. We don't have to wait for the attic to get hot, our fans start operating when the sun comes up. Unlike a ridge vent or wind turbine, Attic Breeze solar attic fans create a self-regulating ventilation system. The more solar radiation (sunlight) your roof receives, the faster our fans operate to remove heat, working the hardest when you need them the most. Our fans create an air draft through the attic that is many times more powerful than that of a ridge vent. During normal operation, Attic Breeze fans are sized to exchange hot attic air 10-15 times per hour keeping your attic to within 5°-15°F of the outside ambient air temperature.
When installing our products in conjunction with ridge vents, the solar attic fan unit should be installed a minimum of 5-7 feet away from the ridge vent to allow for balanced airflow through the attic. Experience shows that this placement of the fan will typically allow enough distance for proper balancing of air intake ventilation from both the ridge vent and other passive roof vents while the solar attic fan is in operation.
I had two Attic Breeze fans installed last summer by your dealer here in the bay area. I was very impressed with the reduction in my electricity bills! However this year the fans do not appear to be running even though it is 70°f outside, so i'm wondering if they are operating properly?
Based on our warranty records, we see that your solar attic fans have our thermal switch control option included. Please note that this control option is a mechanical thermal switch which operates in a nominal range of 65°-75°F. This basically means that the switch has a temperature range where it can either open or close. Unlike a "thermostat" that you may use in your home with a defined temperature setting, a thermal switch has a much more course range of operation. So no worries, your fans will start working as soon as it gets a little hotter outside.
Is there any electrical wiring required to install your solar attic fans?
No, Attic Breeze solar attic fans ship ready to install. Our solar attic fans are stand alone solar powered units and are not tied to your home's electrical grid in any way, so no need for an electrical permit or even an electrician.
I currently have two whirlybird vents on my roof. We are re-shingling next week and I'm considering replacing these vents with your fans. Are your solar attic fans more effective at cooling the attic than the vents I currently have? Do I have to replace the whirlybirds or can I keep them and install your products as well?
The effectiveness of any attic ventilation product is based on how many air exchanges it can achieve in a given amount of time. In general terms, the more times you can exchange the air volume in the attic, the closer the attic temperature will approach that of the outside air temperature. Therefore, the performance of an attic ventilation product really comes down to its airflow (CFM) rating.
A typical "whirlybird" turbine vent generally produces about 500-800 CFM of air movement. However turbine vents have a serious performance flaw; they only work when the wind is blowing, which is not always when you want them to work. By contrast, Attic Breeze can produce up to 2100 CFM of airflow and does so based on the amount of sun exposure that your roof receives, which is exactly what you want in an attic ventilation product.
You can certainly leave your whirlybird vents in place and simply add our solar attic fans if you wish. The only requirements are that the solar attic fans be installed at least 10 feet away from the whirlybird vents and you must provide enough attic intake ventilation to support both the solar attic fans and the existing whirlybird vents. If aesthetics or intake ventilation requirements are a concern, you can easily replace the whirlybirds with our solar attic fans.
I am interested in your solar attic fan, but have some concerns over attic depressurization. I recently read an article that suggested attic fans have the potential to pull air from inside the home and into the attic. How do you prevent this from happening?
We read the same article Jim and what they say is correct, an attic fan can depressurize your attic space if there is not enough intake ventilation to support the fan. However when referring to attic fans, the authors of the article are talking about AC powered attic fans, not solar powered fans like Attic Breeze. Although they may seem the same, AC powered attic fans and Attic Breeze solar powered attic fans are distinctly different.
AC powered attic fans operate with a constant speed motor and have an unlimited source of power to maintain that speed. When an AC powered attic fan does not have enough intake ventilation to support the fan's requirement, instead of slowing down, the fan simply uses more power to maintain its operating speed, thus creating the suction effect known as attic depressurization. This results in air being pulled into the attic from any source available, including from inside the home.
Attic Breeze solar attic fans however operate under a different principle. Our fans have a limited source of power from which to operate and use a variable speed motor. Given the same situation, our fans will always reduce in speed rather than create a suction because there is no additional power available to use. This makes our products inherently safe with regard to attic depressurization. Additionally, our proprietary UltraFlo® technology also helps to minimize any chance of depressurization by virtue of our unique airflow dynamics. Rest assured that attic depressurization will not be a problem with Attic Breeze solar powered ventilation products.
But you don't have to take our word for it, you can test it yourself. We created the Breeze Mate control system specifically to address attic depressurization concerns. Breeze Mate includes ultra sensitive barometric pressure sensing technology used to test for attic depressurization, giving homeowners like yourself peace of mind in knowing that your Attic Breeze ventilation system was properly installed. Breeze Mate features a range of additional safety and operational features as well.
Will Attic Breeze solar attic fans operate on cloudy days? Do the solar panels store energy so that they can operate at night?
The high-efficiency monocrystalline solar panels used on all Attic Breeze products allow our fans to even operate on cloudy days. Our solar attic fans are designed to work the hardest when you need them the most; the more direct sunlight the fan receives, the faster the fan moves air. On cloudy days the fan will receive less sunlight and will move more slowly, on rainy days the fan will not move at all. Which is exactly want you want with regard to ventilating your attic.
Attic Breeze products do not store any energy during the day or use battery back-ups, because in general running your attic fan at night is not a good idea. And if sized properly for your home, running your fan at night is really not necessary. The majority of all heat gain into your attic occurs between the hours of 11AM and 3PM, so the real key to proper attic ventilation is removing the heat as it is received. Attic Breeze products are powerful enough to keep your attic cool throughout the day, thus eliminating the need for additional night time cooling.
Smaller retail-grade attic fans sometimes offer an option to operate their fan at night because those products are typically not powerful enough to handle the attic heat load during the day. However, operating an attic fan at night can have serious consequences. Ambient air at night is typically much more humid than during the day and bringing this air into your attic can cause mold issues and the deterioration of your attic insulation over time. Additionally, solar products that are designed to operate at night do not distinguish between night time or storm conditions, so it is very likely that these products may bring rain into your attic as well during severe storms. Therefore, we recommend not operating your attic fan at night... or just buy an Attic Breeze and you won't have to worry about it.
I am a contractor in California and have been installing solar attic fans from Costco for a couple of years now. I can see that there is a clear need for a more durable, better built product and as a result I found Attic Breeze. The attic fans I currently install are made of plastic. So while I am impressed with how durable your products appear, I'm a little concerned about your fans possibly rusting when installed in coastal areas since they are made from metal. Has this been an issue with any of your fans?
The retail-grade fans that Costco offers are designed to be a low-end, cost-competitive solution to attic ventilation. That is definitely not the market that Attic Breeze participates in. Instead of designing a product based on hitting the lowest price point possible, Attic Breeze takes a different approach; our products are designed to offer the best performance and quality possible, even if that means it may cost a little more to make the product. We only use the highest quality parts and materials to manufacture our products, and unlike the attic fan you have been buying at Costco, we do it right here in the USA. At Attic Breeze, we believe in making professional-grade products for contractors just like yourself that are engineered to last a lifetime.
We never use plastic (polymer) materials because plastic has the potential to become brittle and crack over time when exposed to years of UV radiation on a customer's roof. Instead, Attic Breeze products are made from zincalume alloy construction and stainless steel hardware. Zincalume is a corrosion resistant metal alloy (45% zinc; 55% aluminum) that is commonly used in most modern metal building construction. And for additional protection, we bake on a heavy-duty powder coated finish as well, making our products extremely durable and resistant to the effects of coastal salt air exposure. So no worries Mike, you've found the professional-grade product you've been looking for.
Which direction does a solar attic fan need to face? Our home faces west and I want to make sure I buy the correct attic breeze model. Can you help please?
For optimum sun exposure in North America, the solar panel on your Attic Breeze solar attic fan should be installed facing toward the south, if possible. We offer a variety of solar panel mounting options designed to achieve this purpose if a good southern roof facing is not available on your home for installation of the product. The first step in determining the correct Attic Breeze fan model for your home is deciding where you want the actual fan unit to be located. Once you know the direction that fan will face and the amount of sun it can receive in that location, the correct Attic Breeze model can be easily selected using our interactive Design Studio software. The program will guide you through the different options and help you find the best Attic Breeze fan for your home.
Can Attic Breeze solar attic fans be installed on a flat roof?
Absolutely. We offer a choice of attic fan models ranging from 20-60 watts in power which feature curb-mounted flashing for flat roof applications. We also offer prefabricated metal roof curbs for flat TPO roofs, as well as complete roof curb installation kits for your convenience.
I came across Attic Breeze while looking for a way to lower my electric bills. My attic gets very hot during the summer and it seems like Attic Breeze might be the solution. Can your solar attic fans be used in an attic that has blown insulation? If so, will i have to crawl through my attic to install the fan?
As long as the blown insulation is more than two feet below the solar attic fan unit, there should be no issues. Attic Breeze roof mounted fans are designed to be installed from the topside of your roof, so no need to crawl through your attic during installation.
Do your solar attic fans require any kind of maintenance?
Attic Breeze solar attic fans are designed to be virtually maintenance free. The solar panels are typically self-cleaning, but may require an occasional wash if you live in a dusty area or have a low-pitched roof slope. The only wear-parts on our fans are the motor brushes, which are designed to last for roughly 7-10 years of service. The motor brushes can be easily changed when needed and are covered under our lifetime warranty agreement.
I have a small warehouse I wish to ventilate, with many trees surrounding the building. Will shade from trees prevent your solar attic fans from working?
Shade from trees, or really just shadows in general, have a very negative effect on the operation of a solar panel. When even a small amount of a solar panel is shaded, that portion of the solar panel acts like a dead battery cell, severely decreasing the overall performance of the panel. While our high-efficiency solar panels do work on cloudy days, they will not work in the shade.
When choosing a location to install your solar attic fan, make sure to consider the amount of sun exposure that the fan will receive throughout the day. Try to avoid installing the fan in a location that might receive shade, or areas that may have crossing shadows during the day. If you must install the attic fan in a shaded area, consider using an Attic Breeze model that features a remote mounted solar panel. These models come standard with 15 foot of UV/weather resistant cable, as well as an optional 40 foot power cable for applications where more cable length is needed to achieve optimum sun exposure.
I do not see a detached 60W model. Are they available?
All 60 watt units are only available as detach models.
The product description on your website for the curb mount fan says it can be installed on flat roofs. However, the instructions only show taking away clay tile which would be on a pitched roof. Can it still be installed on a flat roof?
The curb mount fans are for installation on flat roofs, but we do not have an installation guide specific to flat roofs. You would need to direct that type of question towards a roofer or a contractor who has experience installing fans or any type of system on a flat roof.
Do the fans come with a built in thermostat?
The fans do not come with a built in thermostat. The fans come with a thermal switch (pre set to 75°F cannot be changed) at no additional charge. We also have a “no switch” option (allows fan to run as long as there is sun regardless of temperature) that is also no additional charge. The only thermostat we have is the Breeze Mate Control system which has a thermostat and humidistat that allows the homeowner to set temperature and humidity for when the fan will come on and this system runs around $160.
Continue Shopping for Attic Breeze Solar Attic Fans
- Solar Attic Fans - Self Flashing Mount
- Solar Attic Fans - Curb Mount
- Solar Attic Fans - Gable Mount
- Solar Attic Fans - Wall Mount
- Solar Attic Fans - 10W-20W
- Solar Attic Fans - 20W-30W
- Solar Attic Fans - 30W-40W
- Solar Attic Fans - 40W-60W
FAQ Source: http://www.atticbreeze.net/faq.html