Does it make sense to put an attic fan in the roof when my roof has gables
on each side and a ridge vent roof ?
My second floor of my Cape Cod really does not cool efficiently via my
Central Air system, nor do any of my neighbors homes which are the same
The upstairs has 2 rooms , the stairs put you into the first room and you
have to walk through the first room through a door to get to the second
room. Each has a vent and there is only 1 return in the back room.
My vote would be, "yes", for an automatic attic fan that goes on at a
Also, if there is any way to insulate the space where the exterior roof and
the second floor (sloped) ceiling are one and the same, that will make a
huge difference. I did that in a house I used to own and I could literally
feel the difference immediately. In my case, the was a small attic area and
a small storage-like space behind the short side walls of the room. I went
into the side storage space area and pushed insulation up into those space
and it was a huge immediate improvement.
Many homes have been built with far too little ventilation in the attic.
I would have someone take a good look at the situation and decide what might
be the best solution for your specific home and location.
Personally I would consider fans as last resorts to be used only when
proper passive ventilation is not possible. Fans have limited life spans,
they create noise and vibration and require maintenance. A good soffit
and ridge vent system is trouble free and long lasting with little or no
Even with proper ventilation you may well have a difficulty, but you
want to take care of the ventilation first.
If you still have problems, and I would not be surprised, I would
consider calling in a good HVAC professional. I would guess your neighbors
have the same problems because their homes were built about the same way and
same time with the same HVAC systems. Chances are that HVAC system was not
properly designed for your home. It may need some changes to the
distribution system or other changes. Don't cheap out on this part. If
you need to make changes do it right and if that means putting addition
ducts and returns and possible changing out the central unit, do it and get
the benefit of higher efficiency of today's equipment.
Put a thermometer in the attic and measure the temperature on a hot day.
You can get a quick reading oven thermometer at WalMart for about 4 bucks.
I would say if it's over about 130 F you could benefit from a fan. I
have a gable fan, and it keeps my attic at or below about 120 F. Before
I installed it, 150 F was not uncommon.
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It would probably help. Be aware that most attic fans make quite a bit
of noise. They move lots of air. I installed mine in the gable of the
garage, which is away from the living area, so it is not noisy inside
the house. If you need to put the fan near an occupied room, buy one
with a good sound rating.
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