Attic fan question

Page 1 of 2  

I think I know the answer to this, but I want to get some feedback.
We live in a hot climate. The second story of our house was built into the attic. The upstairs and downstairs have separate air conditioners. The attic is reasonably well insulated and vented, but it had two attic fans. About two years ago one of the fans quit working. About a year ago the one on the other end quit working. Now starting about noon or 1PM on hot days we can feel hot air coming down the stairwell. The upstairs a/c can't keep up - it gets up to 5 degrees above the thermostat setting. The a/c seems to be working, it just can't keep up when the attic gets so hot. It gets over 120F in the attic.
It would be worth it to get the attic fans fixed, right?
--
Replace you know what by j to email

Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have the same two attic fans not working problem, but haven't had the problem of the upstairs A/C not keeping up. I too have two-zone HVAC. It's too early for me to tell if there is a noticeable difference in my electricity bill, and after spending almost $800 5 years ago to have my two fans installed, the question for me is, will yet another $800 investment ever realize a return on investment of saved A/C over time.
I now plan to replace my fans (again).
Two factors:
1. How much longer do you expect to live in your current house before (if ever) moving. 2. If you eventually move, you will be required to repair/replace your attic fans beforehand, unless you negotiate with the buyer some type of credit for not replacing them yourself. At that point you might as well repair/replace them a few years beforehand to at least get some value out of your investment.
You might also want to have more insulation installed in the attic, and make sure that the attic access door is covered with a large bat of insulation to keep hot air from leaking into your upstairs through the access door. Just move it out of the way when needing to enter the attic. I did this two years ago (added more attic insulation and a large bat at the access door) and have noticed an improvement.
Is the A/C not keeping up solely due to the attic fans? In other words, did you not have this problem when one or both attic fans were working? I would be surprised and would think the main issue is not enough insulation and inadequately insulated attic access door.
You could also consider some type of reflective material on the underside of your roof at the top of the attic.
You might want to consult an insulation company for their recommendations. In the long run you'll need to get your fans repaired or replaced, especially if you sell and move.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jun 28, 11:20 am, "Dimitrios Paskoudniakis"

I have one in my garage, it wasn't working, turned out to be the $30 thermoswitch - fan was fine. Worth looking into. Drink lots of gatorade before and after troubleshooting. (BTDTGTTS - I get a screaming headache if I get too dehydrated and then I'm worthless.)
nate
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
N8N wrote:

Three tips for working in the attic:
1. Do so at night. You've got to use a light anyway...
If during the day: 2. Put a water sprinkler on the roof. 3. Disconnect one of the A/C ducts and use it to cool the attic.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Good advice, but if the fan ain't working, it's going to be brutally hot even after dark. Maybe if you have one of those cheap box fans strap it to a truss or something if you can.
Attics would be an awesome application for LED lighting. Mine currently has 500W of construction lights up there, which put off more heat than you'd think. Even working up there in December, I was comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt. If I have to go back up there again soon I'll be unscrewing all but one or two bulbs.
nate
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Good advice, but if the fan ain't working, it's going to be brutally hot even after dark. Maybe if you have one of those cheap box fans strap it to a truss or something if you can.
Attics would be an awesome application for LED lighting. Mine currently has 500W of construction lights up there, which put off more heat than you'd think. Even working up there in December, I was comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt. If I have to go back up there again soon I'll be unscrewing all but one or two bulbs.
nate
*********** reply *************
Good advice from both of you but a roof mounted attic fan motor ( my assumption) is replaced from the roof, not the attic.
Four 1/4" screws and pull the dome off.
--
Colbyt
Please come visit http://www.househomerepair.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 06/28/2010 05:22 PM, Colbyt wrote:

I was envisioning something like I have which is more correctly called a "gable fan" - looks like just a box fan set inside the gable vent with a little shroud around it. If the OP has one of those there's no way around it, you gotta do it from inside the attic.
Would have been nice if the POs of my house had installed the things you describe when they put on a metal roof, but they didn't. OF course replacing one of those would involve being 30 feet or more in the air on possibly slick metal, so there's other concerns involved there...
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Nope, from the inside. If you can find the same size fan that will fit the existing housing and you don't have to replace the entire unit.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have a box fan and two oscillating fans in my attic. I'm trying to finish off the space into a shop (to be converted to another bedroom when/if we move). I have another day or two of work up there before I knock it off for the summer. It is already *hot* up there and it will get worse soon (I live in Alabama).

About 1/2 kW each. ;-)

I have three dual tube fluorescent and three 60W bulbs in mine (about 450sq.ft.). I was using 300W halogens work lights but the light is too concentrated and there were too many shadows. The fluorescent are a great addition.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 06/28/2010 07:15 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

I will be providing something more permanent; I'm still in the process of updating the wiring on the 2nd floor. Once that is done I will install at least a couple permanent lights in the attic just for ease of servicing in stuff in the future (not that there's anything up there to service now) installing a vent fan in the bathroom and a gable fan similar to the one for the garage in the attic of the house.
I'll probably stick with incandescent, as I don't think fluorescent would work very well in the winter. I find it easier to work when the attic is 40 degrees as opposed to 100+ if I have a choice in the matter. (sometimes you don't...) If I have a lot of work to do in the summer I might swap them out for swirly fluorescents.
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

They seem to work pretty well for me. Again, I live in Alabama, so it's never colder than 20F up there, and probably doesn't even get below freezing. The plumbing (water heater) is only protected with some light insulation. However, my plan is to use the space frequently. It'll be finished off over the next year (will wait for Winter to insulate ;).

No kidding! I spent seven hours in my attic a couple of Saturdays ago. I was working on the insulation, but I was smart enough to put it down last Winter. I was mighty thirsty when I finished. ;-) It's been *way* too hot up there to work since. I have a little more I'd like to do before I give up for the Summer. It'll probably not get done, though.

I find those are particularly bad in cold weather. However, if it's just temporary there shouldn't be any problem.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, if you want the upstairs to be cool.
They worked in the first place, so should work in the second place. If you don't run the AC and just let the upstairs remain unlivable, no loss. If you run the AC, you are overworking it to early failure and wasting money unnecessarily. Replacing/repairing the attic fans will more than pay for itself.
nb
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jan Philips wrote:

Hmmm, You already know the answer to your question. Why waste time asking? That's very funny.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Because, as I said, I'm not sure.
--
Replace you know what by j to email

Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You might want to figure out why the fans only lasted a few years before replacing them.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 28 Jun 2010 08:50:37 -0700 (PDT), "hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net"

The house was built 13 years ago by someone else. If they were put in when it was built, they lasted 11-12 years.
--
Replace you know what by j to email

Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The fans may run longer, with new capacitor, and clean and oil the bearings. But, can't tell without trying it.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 28 Jun 2010 11:48:22 -0400, Jan Philips

Don't replace them. Wait until you try to sell the house and you're forced to replace them as required repairs. You wouldn't want to enjoy the comfort provided in the meantime. Spend the money on table fans instead. When you get a good sweat going, the table fans will really cool you down.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Naah, just buy antiperspirant in a drum. Use a one galon garden sprayer to apply to whole body.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 28 Jun 2010 11:48:22 -0400, Jan Philips

For instance, someone could tell me that if it is only 120 up there, attic fans wouldn't help, but they would at 130.
--
Replace you know what by j to email

Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.