Installing an attic fan can keep your home much cooler in the summer. Here’s how to install an attic fan so you can save some money from calling the pros.
It is normal for attic temperatures to reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit in peak summer months. If it’s hot outside, it is always hotter in your attic.
Generally, you want to try to keep your attic in the low 100’s range. Excessive heat causes strain on your air conditioner and causes damage to what you store in there.
The increased strain also means increased energy bills. If you’re trying to save money this summer while still keeping your attic cool, installing an attic fan is your solution.
You could call a professional, but many people don’t realize how easy they could install it themselves. If you’re wondering how to install an attic fan, then keep reading!
Before you start your installation, you will want to inspect your attic. You can monitor the temperature by using a thermometer on a hot summer’s day. Also, poor ventilation could have already caused damage to your roof. It’s important to look out for those signs as well.
A few signs that your attic isn’t getting proper ventilation are curled shingles from the heat or a build-up of moisture. Excess moisture will manifest in the form of frost during cold winter months. This build-up of moisture can cause your entire roof to rot.
During your inspection, look to see where your current vents are located. Clean any clogged vents to prevent future issues. Depending on how large your attic is, you may already have more than one ventilation site. The more ventilation you have, the better it is.
It is also common to have high and low vents. The lower vents are usually in your soffits, fixed underneath your high vent. Because hot air rises, the air rising out of the high vents will pull cool air through the lower vents.
These are all good things to keep in mind when you are deciding how many fans to install and where to place them.
Once installed, the fan is controlled by a thermostat. As soon as your attic reaches a certain temperature, the fan kicks on to help ventilate that hot air to the outside.
Deciding on a Fan
After deciding how many fans you want and where to put them, it’s time to decide on the fan you want to install.
Generally, there are two different types of attic fans, roof fans or gable fans. A roof fan is installed by cutting a hole in your roof and putting the fan directly over that hole. This type of fan requires that you mess with shingles and flashing. Because of these added steps, roof fans can be trickier to install.
For this tutorial, we will talk about how to install gable fans. Installing gable fans can be a quick and painless process. Often times, they can replace existing gable vents.
How To Install An Attic Fan
The installation process is not complicated, and it should take you only a couple of hours to complete.
To install the fan, make sure you have the right equipment on hand. The right tools will make the process easier.
- Gable Fan
- Plastic Shutter (You may already have one in place, and if so you may not need to replace it. Just make sure the shutter is big enough for the fan you purchase.)
- 1/2 inch sheet of plywood
- Acrylic caulk
- Power Drill
- Wood Screws
Now that you have your supplies, you can start with the installation!
Step One: Measure
First, you need to determine what size of fan you need. To do this, you will make some measurements and calculations. Fans are rated by cubic feet of air moved per minute (CFM).
To determine what kind of fan you need, find the square footage of your attic. You will then multiply this number by 0.7. This math will help you figure out the minimum CFM you need for your fan.
Say your attic is 1300 square feet. 1300 x 0.7 = 910 CFM. Generally, you want 1 square foot of ventilation for every 300 CFM. So divide your total CFM by 300. 910 / 300 = 3.03 or 3 square feet of ventilation.
Step Two: Remove the Old Shutter
If your existing gable vent is smaller than the diameter of your new fan, then you will have to remove it. (If your gable vent is large enough for your new fan, then skip the next two steps.)
Center the new vent over the hole of the old vent. Level the vent and trace around it. Do not cut around this traced line. Instead, you need to measure the distance between the perimeter of your new vent and the border that will actually insert into the hole.
If the measurement was 1/2 an inch, measure a 1/2 inch in on each side from the original trace you made. This new line will be where you make your cut. Make sure to remove any vent framing as well before you cut.
Step Three: Install the New Shutter
Cut the hole that you measured for your new shutter with a jigsaw. Place your new shutter in place, level, and fasten with screws. Seal the shutter’s perimeter with acrylic caulk.
If you had to remove framing, make sure to replace it after installing the new shutter. This will help support your fan.
Step Four: Mounting The Fan
Cut a piece of plywood to fit the framing that surrounds your vent hole. Trace the radius of your new fan into the center of the cut plywood. Make sure you trace it so that the hole is centered over the vent hole when the plywood is fastened to the wall.
Use a jigsaw to cut the opening. Center the fan over the hole and secure with screws. Take care to mount the fan right side up! Secure your mounted fan with nails to the framing surrounding your vent. Make sure it is centered over your vent hole.
The only thing left is wiring your fan. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, make sure to seek help from a professional.
Keeping It Cool
Installing an attic fan can save you hundreds of dollars on your energy bills. It can also prevent damage to your roof and belongings. Don’t put it off any longer.
Figuring out how to install an attic fan is not difficult. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and tackle this project yourself! For more DIY help, read up on must-have tools for a DIYer.