Top 4 Best Solar Attic Fans With Warranties (2019 Review)

Want to find the best solar attic fan to keep your attic nice and cool?

We have the ultimate buyer’s guide for 2019!

In this special guide from Home Inspector Secrets, you will learn…

  • Our overall #1 pick for the best solar attic fan for 2019
  • How to pick the best solar attic fan for your house
  • The benefits of buying a solar attic fan
  • The pros and cons of our top-rated solar attic fans

Let’s get started with this guide!

Our Top 5 Best Solar Attic Fans

  1. Solar Attic Fan 36-watt by Natural Light (Best of the Best)
  2. Solar Roof Fan With Black Vent by Solar Blaster
  3. Solar Attic Fan 24-watt by Natural Light
  4. Broan 345SOWW Surface Mount Solar Powered Attic Ventilator, 28-Watt

What is a Solar Attic Fan?

A solar attic fan is a solar-powered fan that is installed on your roof. It uses free energy from the sun to power the fan, compared to powered attic fan’s connected to the grid.

With the increasing use of solar panels on home rooftops, it only makes sense that attic fans would eventually become solar powered as well.

The sun in a nearly limitless energy source for free electrical energy, at least after you pay for the product and installation.

The main purpose of a solar attic fan (or any attic fan) is to cool down your attic and roof by exhausting hot air and replacing it with cooler fresh air.

Solar attic fans do this by generating power from a solar panel which in turn powers a fan that sucks out hot air.

Traditional attic fans are wired into the home’s electrical system, but a solar attic fan is a self-contained rooftop unit, which offers many advantages.

To learn how to install a solar powered attic fan, check out our installation instructions.

The Benefits of Solar Powered Attic Fans

Free Solar Energy

Solar attic fans are becoming increasingly popular because of the economic and environmental benefits of using solar power.

According to Wikipedia, solar attic fans can help reduce your air conditioning costs by as much as 30%.

Who doesn’t want free energy from the sun?

After you purchase them, solar attic fans cost the homeowner nothing to operate. And unlike traditional attic fans, solar attic fans do not require any wiring, so they can be significantly easier to install.

As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy, solar attic fans may be eligible for an Energy Tax Credit up to 30% of it’s cost (through 2019).

Reduce Your Cooling Costs

During the warm season, your attic can become a hellish inferno. I have been to many home inspections where going into the attic is like going into a sauna.

I remember frequently feeling like I may pass out if I stay in the attic any longer.

When your attic gets very hot, and you’re cranking up your air conditioning system for the interior, then these two air masses will fight with each other.

The hot attic will make it more difficult to cool the house interior, and it will put strain on your a/c unit. You will use more electricity to run the a/c, and the a/c is more likely to age prematurely because of the extra run time.

Cooling down your attic with a solar attic fan can help with this problem.

In addition to attic fans, installing a whole house fan can significantly reduce your air conditioning costs during the year.

Protect Your Roof Shingles

According to the Green Home Remodeling Guide, attic fans may increase the life of asphalt shingles.

I have done many home inspections where I looked at a faded and light-colored asphalt shingle roof, and made an estimate of 20-25 years old.

And then I find out later that the roof was installed only several years ago.

Why?

Because the attic would get so hot during the summer, and this heat would literally bake the asphalt shingles, and cause premature aging.

Considering that the roof is one of the most expensive things on a house, this is a big deal!

If you feel like your attic get’s very hot, or otherwise has poor ventilation, then installing a solar attic fan (or two) may be the easiest way to cool down your attic.

Minimize Moisture & Mold Problems

Another problem with having a hot attic is that it increases the likelihood of having mold growth on your attic wood framing.

Since wood is a food source for mold, if there is excessive moisture in the attic, mold can grow on the wood sheathing, wood rafters, and ceiling joists.

Moisture forms when there are two air masses with different temperatures.

Just like how when you breath out on a very cold day, your breath instantly turns into a moist vapor cloud.

Your breath is warm, and the outside air is cold.

So if your attic is a hellish oven, and your home’s interior is cool — when these two air masses meet — moisture can form on the attic’s wood framing.

And there are three things that mold needs to grow.

  1. Moisture
  2. Darkness
  3. Food Source (Wood)

Your attic is always dark, and there is always a food source in the form of wood.

But it is missing the third component, which is moisture.

A poorly ventilated attic conveniently provides the water source

The Advantages of Solar Powered Attic Fans

  • There is no cost to you for the power they use. They are 100% powered by the sun and are not even connected to your home’s power supply.
  • Since solar attic fans work independently to ventilate and cool the attic, with no energy cost to you, they can help reduce overall electrical and cooling costs for your house.
  • Solar technology has improved markedly in the past few years. Solar attic fans today are dependable and can be powerful.
  • The brighter and more intense the sunlight hitting them, such as during summer — when it is the hottest — the harder they work to keep your attic cool.
  • The Federal Government, through the U.S. Department of Energy offers tax credits of up to 30% for many models.
  • On top of any Federal tax credits or benefits, many states offer tax credits and other incentives, as compiled in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
  • By not demanding energy from the nation’s power grid, they are environmentally friendly.
  • Solar attic fans can prevent premature aging of asphalt shingles.
  • They can also reduce moisture in the attic and possible mold growth.

How Do Solar Powered Attic Fans Work?

The Solar Panel

Perhaps the most important consideration when evaluating and installing solar attic fans is the fan’s solar panel.

Remember, this is the one and only source of energy that operates your solar attic fan.

It is crucial to place the solar panel on your roof facing south as much as possible in order to get the most sunlight.

You do not want the solar panel to be obstructed by trees or any other obstacles.

Keep in mind that as the earth moves, how the sun hits your house will change, and shadows may appear at different times of the day.

Turning On & Off

Most solar attic fans are usually regulated by a thermostat.

This means that when the attic reaches a certain temperature, the fan will automatically turn on.

And when the attic falls to a particular temperature, the fan will turn off.

The Fan, Motor and Housing

Although the solar panel provides the power, the business end of a solar attic fan is the actual fan, motor, and the housing.

The motor mechanically turns the fan, and the housing mounts it to the roof and protects it.

How To Pick The Best Attic Fan With a Solar Panel?

There are a few essential things to know when you want to choose the best solar attic fan…

Your Attic Size

The size of your attic is a very important consideration because it will determine how strong of a solar attic fan you will need.

Your attic, like other parts of your house, is measured in square feet. Knowing this is important because it dictates how much air it contains that needs to be ventilated.

The fan strength is generally measured in CFMs, or Cubic Feet per Minute.

This is the air flow capacity that a fan generates. In other words, how many cubic feet of air it can move.

To determine your attic size, multiply the width by the length of your attic floor in feet. This is usually the same as the square footage of your house. For example, if your house is 25′ wide by 40′ long, your attic space should be 1,000 square feet (sq. ft.). (25 x 40 = 1,000)

Next, multiply your square feet of attic space by 0.7 to determine the minimum number of cubic feet of air per minute (CFM) that the fan has to move.

For example, your 1,000 sq. ft. attic will require a fan that can move a minimum of 700 cubic feet per minute (CFM). (1,000 x 0.7 = 700)

(Allow an extra 15% to 20% of square feet into your calculation if you have a steep or dark attic roof.)

All solar attic fans will identify their individual air flow capacity, using the rating of CFM, so you can shop more wisely when buying the one best suited to your house.

How is a Solar Attic Fan Different From Other Types of Ventilation?

If ever a home improvement product made sense, and cents, it’s a solar-powered attic fan. Using the sun to cool and ventilate your house’s hellish attic hotbox is almost literally fighting fire with fire.

  • Traditional attic fans are wired into the home’s electrical system and tend to pull out much more air (higher powered), which may cause negative pressure problems in the home.
  • Gable vent fans are installed at the gable vent (the vertical venting on the side of the home).
  • Gable vent fans can also be solar-powered or wired to the home’s electrical system.
  • Passive vents, also known as “turtle vents” passively release hot attic air into the atmosphere.
  • Ridge venting is a long passive vent opening at the very top or “ridge” of the roof
  • Soffit venting is along the eaves (roof overhangs) and allows rising exterior air into the attic, and works together with ridge venting.

Where To Buy The Best Solar Attic Fans?

You do have a number of options when choosing a solar attic fan. Although many home improvement stores carry them, solar attic fans are not necessarily a product you have to see and feel in person such as tools or appliances.

Purchasing online can provide you with a wider range of product options, all of the fine print and details describing the product (including the warranty) and the added benefit of user reviews.

At Home Inspector Secrets, we highly recommend buying from Amazon because it offers all of the above and is a seller that protects you, the buyer.

Why is Amazon the Best Vendor?

Not only are you likely to see the widest range of products, something especially important on relatively new technology such as solar attic fans, you can investigate what other people’s experiences are with them.

Additionally, each product will have an “Answered Questions” section. This provides insight not only into questions you may have yourself, but also whether or not the company is responsive in replying to questions and concerns for their customers. Should you have a problem with your purchase, such a degree of responsiveness can be a good indicator that you will be able to reach them more easily, too.

Amazon usually ships quickly and safely, shipping is often free and Amazon offers a pretty painless 30-day return policy.

What Are The Best Solar Attic Fans? (**2019 Review)

Solar Attic Fan 36-watt by Natural Light

Here is our highest CFM and highest price point solar attic fan.

This fan is made of high-quality aluminum, stainless steel and glass and has an air flow capacity of 1628 CFM.

Tested and conform to the Miami-Dade County code for hurricane prone areas.

This unit also comes with a 25-year warranty.

Pros

  • Air flow capacity of 1628 CFM will handle most average homes
  • 25-year warranty
  • Solar panel is adjustable from flat up to a 45 degree angle
  • Built in the U.S.A.
  • Many positive Amazon reviews

Cons

  • Not for flat roofs or side wall mounting
  • Optional snap-on thermostat for use in colder climates (sold separately).
  • Fire safety switch sold separately

Solar Roof Fan With Black Vent by Solar Blaster

Our budget-friendly pick solar attic fan is for smaller homes.

This attic fan is rate for a roof of only 600 square feet, and rated at 39CFM of air flow.

The fan comes with two ball bearings, and a black metal vent (not plastic) that should last for a good amount of time.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Attic access not required for install
  • Vent is made out of metal so it should last a long time

Cons

  • Air flow may be a little weak at 39 CFM
  • More than one fan will be required for a roof of more than 600 square feet
  • Only a 5 year warranty on all parts

Solar Attic Fan 24-watt by Natural Light

Another strong pick from U.S.A.-based Natural Light. Not as powerful as the 36-watt option above, so this one may be the one for your house.

Has an air flow capacity of 1339 CFM.

Highest quality materials of any Solar Attic Fan on the market.

Tested and conform to the Miami-Dade County code for hurricane prone areas.

This unit also comes with a 25-year warranty.

Pros

  • Constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum
  • 25-year warranty on housing, motor and solar panel
  • Manufacturer claims this unit qualifies for 30% Federal solar tax credit (Certificate of compliance from manufacturer available.)
  • Built in the U.S.A.

Cons

  • Thermostat sold separately
  • Fire safety switch sold separately

Broan 345SOWW Surface Mount Solar Powered Attic Ventilator, 28-Watt

This higher-end model offers a one-piece aluminum 5-blade fan pitched fro maximum air flow.

Its housing features a molded design of UV-stabilized, color dyed rugged ABS plastic that withstands hail and resists fading. Or, paint it to match your roof color.

Provides 537 maximum CFM.

Pros

  • Easy retrofit can replace standard powered attic ventilators
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum screen keeps pests our without impeding airflow
  • One-year warranty

Cons

  • Thermostat optional
  • Warranty has a lot of fine print

Our Top Pick: Solar Attic Fan 36-watt by Natural Light

The is our #1 best pick in 2019 because of the following reasons…

1. Adjustable Solar Panel

  • Of the highest-rated models, the Solar Attic Fan 36-watt by Natural Light was the only one that allows you to adjust the solar panels from flat up to a 45-degree angle.
  • Solar panel exposure and performance is not limited to the pitch of your house’s roof. Having positioning and maneuverability options for your attic fan’s solar panel can make a significant difference.

2. Solid investment

  • With aluminum and stainless steel construction, and a 25-year warranty, you can feel like you’re covered.

3. Value

  • Although the price may seem steep, there are similarly priced models that don’t come close to the 1628 CFM this one offers.

 

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Arie Van Tuijl

Arie Van Tuijl

Arie is a licensed home inspector who owns a residential and commercial inspection company in the state of Virginia. He also does specialty testing such as radon gas, termites, air quality, and mold.

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