Hot attic

Need some advice.
Hot and humid weather here (NE WI) has made the attic very warm (hot). When we open our closet doors upstairs, you can feel the heat roil in from the attic/crawl space that surrounds them (1.5 story house).
Was thinking about adding an attic fan to remove the hot air from the attic to the garage. When I purchased the fan and got it home, I realized that I didn't have any vents in my soffits for the attic. The only ventilation for the attic is a ridge vent and a small hole in the wall that leads to the attached garage. The instructions stated that some type of "intake" ventilation is necessary in order for the attic fan to be used.
What are my options? Is there any reason why I can't install the fan without having any type of "intake" ventilation?
Thanks - AL
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Is there any reason why I can't install the fan

With out a supply/intake and a place to exhaust the fan will not do anything.
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SQLit wrote:

It may even disturb inslation sitting above ceiling for an instance. Tony
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You do need to add intake ventilation or what you'll end up doing is sucking nice air conditioned air from inside your house and venting it to the outside. That'll certainly cool your attic, but not a good trade-off in my opinion.
Is there any room on your soffits to cut-in some vents? Not a fun job, but it would be the right thing to do in your situation. Beyond that, if you added a fair amount of soffit vent, it and your ridge vent would probably make the forced air solution unnecessary.
KB
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Kyle Boatright wrote:

Right, he already has a ridge vent; the builder just forgot the soffit vents. And putting in soffit vents is not that difficult. Use vents that are large enough to see up and to reach into to make sure the air can go from the soffit space up to the attic (might be partially blocked by insulation). They make cardboard tubes for that purpose. Screw the vents to the soffit and you are done. No need for a fan.
If by some chance, the house is built so that the soffits are not open to the attic, or there are no soffits, the cutting holes and installing vents hear the attic floor is the solution. The vent should be just above the top of the insulation. Again, not a big problem with most houses as the only place you put the vents would be on the gable ends. You just have to provide protection from blowing rain or snow.
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This is Turtle.
All You need to get you some eve loovers or air intake screens and start cutting holes in the eves to be enough to vent the Ridge roof vent and also add the vent fan if the ridge roof vent does not keep up. It has a thermostat on it and will never come on if the ridge roof vent is keeping up.
If you don't have air intake for the venting system. Your wasting your time.
TURTLE
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In alt.home.repair on Sat, 16 Jul 2005 13:21:29 -0500 "AL"

I don't discount the experience of others who have posted but, mine, regarding the roof fan, has been fantastically good.
Like they say, you need an intake or there will not be an output**
I use the term "roof fan" to make sure it is never confused with the other kind of attic fan, the "whole house fan", which sits on the floor of the attic and sucks from the top residential floor. I know that's not what you meant, bucause you were clear, "to remove the hot air from the attic....". Hmmmm. Although why would you want to remove the air "to the garage". Wouldn't it just end up back in the attic through the small hole you mention? Or at least make the garage too hot?
Wouldn't you want the air going outside the house so that it will blow away or at least disperse?
A gable mounted fan, at the end of the house, which vents to the outside, seems equivalent to a roof fan. Both should be mounted high, because that is where the hottest air in the attic will be found.
By 1 1/2 stories, you mean a split level, right? Which iiuc will still have an attic over the higher part, and also a separate attic over the lower part? You certainly have one attic, whose hot air you can feel when open a closet (and in the rest of that floor too, just not so concentrated.
Maybe I'm wrong about your house so I will tell you about mine. A standard townhouse, end of group, two stories, basement, and attic, with one big, one medium, one small bedroom and two baths on the 2nd floor.
My house was built with a ridge vent from one end to the other, and with soffit vents both front and back from one end to the other. One side to the other. It came with crumby brown blob insulation (what's the name for that?) but the first owner who had the place 4 years put in good pink inulation over the whole ceiling below, stopping before the soffitt vents but maybe blocking them a little where the pink stuff hit the ceiling near the soffit. but it only did that in 3 or 4 places a foot long, and didn't seem to be enough to lower the circulation. And I putshed the insultation down in those places anyhow, the first summer I was here.
None the less, my house was so hot in the summer on the second floor without using the AC that I couldn't stand to go upstairs when I got home from work even for a few minutes. I would sleep on a loft bed in the basement, and only go up the next morning to shower and get fresh clothes.
Three of my 100 neighbors had a roof fan and I asked them about it. One was a tenant and had no idea. One was the second owner and had no idea, and one said maybe. My girlfriend's brother had two in a ranch house he had built, and he seemed the type who would never admit making a mistake, but even he thought they didn't do much. Of course his were installed when the house was built so he had no basis to compare.
I put my fan in late summer, and the effect was immediate. It was at least 10 degrees cooler on the second floor -- I wish I'd measured*** and given the insulation between the attic and the second floor, that must mean it is 20 or 30 or 40 degrees cooler in the attic. I know slept in my regular bed every night and even though it might be hot, I'm not using the AC, just a fan in my office and above my bed. (and it's definitely humid on most days, which is the chief source of discomfort.) I also live next to a stream, which means I live in a valley, and I think that is the reason there is not much breeze, which is why I need the fans.^^ Of course this would also lower the efficiency of natural ciruculation, without the fan, but there are other things that would, such as trees, general lack of breeze in the area. I would read what I say about dust 3 paragraphs down, and compare my house or others that are 15 years old or more to see if they have the layer of dust that I describe. If none do, they aren't getting near the circulation I do.
Right now, around 4:30PM, it is bright but cloudy and about 84 degrees outside, and in my bathroom which has no windows, it's about 82 degrees, with no AC. If you want, I can check on sunny hot days too.
I love my fan. One of the smartest things I ever did.
BTW, about 15 years after the fan went in (18 years after the house was built), I noticed that the soffitt vent screens had to be cleaned. They were not as bad as the lint filter in the dryer, but they were from one end to the other covered with a quarter inch layer of dust. I'm positive that was not true when I installed the fan -- they were perfectly clean than as far as the naked eye could see -- and I don't think any of my neighbors with without fans whose houses are 26 years old now have ever had that layer of dust. (I won't wait so long to check next time. BTW, I live pretty far from the steel mills, which are much cleaner than they used to be anyhow. I think this dust is mostly plant matter, seeds, pollen, grass slicing dust from mowing lawns. It's too light in color for uncombusted furnace oil, and since the attic fan is off and there is little convection during the winter when the furnaces are on, I think that is not part of it and the dust is something that would occur in any neighborhood, except Manhattan Island, NY.
It shows how much greater the ciruculation through my attic is with the fan.
The fan goes on automatically, between noon and two iirc in the summer and goes off around 10PM on hot days. If the radio is off and I listen, I can hear it when it is running. It's not loud at all, but it is always stopped by the time I am ready to sleep. The thermostat is adjustable, but I left it on the setting they had set it. I can check what that is if you want. I tried to buy the most expensive model, since I intend this to last as long as the house, but there was only a small range in price, 22 years ago, it was from 60 to 75 dollars maybe at Hechingers, a big chain big box hardware store of the time.
As suggested by the maker, I have an override in the upstairs hall, and in the spring and the fall, I turn the fan off totally so I can heat the attic in the day and use some of that heat to heat my house at night. I put in another switch next to that one to turn the fan on when the thermostat doesn't, so that I can vent the attic if it is too humid, but since I don't take long or hot showers, and usually take baths. there has never been a need.
I had put a light in the attic, and the start of a floor, so I already had eletricity up there.
I guess because of rain splattering through the screen that the fan comes with, the motor has frozen up 3 or 4 times in the last 18 years. Or maybe I should have oiled it. I can't remember if it takes oil, but I think not. The first time I ordered a new motor from the roof fan company, but since then it's easier to buy one at the motor store in Baltimore. Takes less than an hour to put it in. Maybe less than a half hour now. From the inside. If it is the summer time, I do it at dawn, or at least before 10.
^^I use a table-lamp dimmer, or for fans that won't work with one, a fan speed control which I mount in a plastic box, to lower the speed of the fan to where I can't hear it. Much, much better than a fan that makes noise. It's more like a breeze, and breezes usually don't make any noise.
***I wish I had measured the temperature change with the roof fan. I could turn the fan off and measure now, but I don't want to be hot.)
** The fan will spin, but it will be mostly spinning the air like a doughnut, like a carboard cylinder that spins except it is air rather than cardboard, and then bending the cylinder until one end meets the other and it's a dougnut. So you'll be blowing out air you just sucked in, plus whatever you suck from elsewhere, such as the interior of your house.
Meirman -- If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
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In alt.home.repair on Sat, 16 Jul 2005 17:21:27 -0400 meirman

Well, I put this in to try to seem comparable to and cooperative with those who say a fan won't make much difference, but I'm not so sure. a) I do have some breeze, b) almost everywhere there are still days, c) Nothinkg I have seen anywhere claims to know how much a breeze increases circulation through an attic. For the most part, I think people are relying on convection, the natural activity of liquids that one sees when hot air rises. And no matter what the level or circulation with convection and a breeze, I think a roof fan increases the level by a factor of 3 or 4 or more.
Depending on the direction of the breeze, a breeze might affect the air pressure at the soffits the same as it affects the air pressure at the top of the roof, at the ridge rail or whatever is there. My guess is that if the breeze is primariy along the line of gutters, where the soffits are, rather than at right angles to it, it would have equal effects on the top and bottom of the attic, the breeze would accomplish little or nothing.
And even if it does accelerate the convection, as long as the AC is on in the house, it is very hard to measure the effect. Without AC the effect is measurable by the temperature in the attic and on the floor below. With the AC on, the floor below, the story below, is no measure, and even the attic is cooled by having a cold second floor. Measuring the amount of AC or electricity used introduces all sorts of variables from one house to another.

The amount of dust on the soffitts is one direct measure of circulation. My soffitts have vinyl window screening in them. That's what the vents are, holes with window screening. Maybe other openings are too coarse to trap dust -- I haven't looked closely at them.

I've tried to find out more about this topic:
There is a housing development nearby, not cheap, townhouses, possibly back to back (that is, no one has a back yard, only the back of their neighbor) where each 24 foot portion of the building, one house width's worth, has 8! boxes, I think they are fans but they might just be vents. That is, 4 on each side of the ridge. They're pretty big, square, at least 2 feet square, and 8 inches high. They really don't look like the fans I've seen, or like vents (no holes except maybe under the skirt). (Could they be roof-mounted AC condensors, four per house? They don't look like condensors either, no fins.) I've been there and asked a couple residents, owners I think, and neither knew what was in their attic or why.
Meirman -- If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
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AL wrote:

Law of physics. Most of cases attic vent is inadequate even brand new houses being built today. Tony
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AL wrote:

STOP. There should not be any holes or vents between the attic over the living area or to the living area and an attached garage. There should be a fire break between the two. I suggest you get that fixed first. You may find it a lot hotter than it is now.
Other than that, I would suggest you don't need a fan, you need proper attic ventilation. It is difficult to see your home from here, so we may not be able to make good specific suggestions, but the general ones offered should be close to right and certainly better than what you have now.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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I just recenlty moved into a Bungalow style. It has a walk up attic and Gable sytle roof.
It does get kind of hot. I was thinking of adding a Gabel fan. I have gable vents (one on the North side and one on the South side) at both ends of the gable.
Will one be good enough?
Thanks,
Bill
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In alt.home.repair on Sun, 17 Jul 2005 08:10:27 -0400 Bill Davis Jr

See how many cubic feet it says on the box it is good for.
My roof fan said it was good for 2 or 3 times the attic space I have. They didn't sell a substantially smaller or bigger one, and nothing has blown away yet. :)

Meirman -- If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
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