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Thread: attic fan might need replacing

  1. #1
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    attic fan might need replacing

    Our attic exhaust fan started making noises yesterday. It is not a whole house type fan, just one that takes heat out of the attic. Of course, it is roof mounted. And since I have 99% sworn off ladders and 100% sworn off climbing roofs, this will have to be farmed out.
    I don't have a clue how big (meaning costly) this project might turn out to be. Not even sure what kind of tradesman to call, electrician, carpenter, or what. I'm not comfortable with a do it all handy man. Some are probably great but, ye jest don't know with unlicensed types.
    Advice will be welcome.

  2. #2
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    Turn it off and don't replace it. That is my advice.

    You can't pull enough air through there to cool the attic down any noticeable amount. And while I don't know this for a fact, I have read that it costs more to operate the fans than you save.

    I turned mine off this year and I see no difference in my cooling bill. As long as moisture it not building up I don't see where your gaining anything.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Horton View Post
    Turn it off and don't replace it. That is my advice.

    You can't pull enough air through there to cool the attic down any noticeable amount. And while I don't know this for a fact, I have read that it costs more to operate the fans than you save.

    I turned mine off this year and I see no difference in my cooling bill. As long as moisture it not building up I don't see where your gaining anything.
    Interesting take on the fan situation. I was watching it for a while, it didn't come on but I definitely could see heat waves emanating from it.
    Our house is so energy efficient it is the envy of many who see it and learn what our utility bills are. Only one, the electric, about $120.00 a month levelized year round and that includes the well. That tells me the guy who built it knew what he was doing and may have had faith in the electric fan. Appreciate the input.

  4. #4
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    attic fan might need replacing

    Frank,

    I have to disagree with Jeff on thinking that the attic fan doesn't do much to help cool a house. They do, and although yours is making noises now, I would think it's probably just a bearing going bad. Seeing the heat eminating from the fan with it not running proves there is hot air moving out of the attic, and if the fan runs, more heat will be moved out. The best setup of an attic fan is in conjunction with gable or soffit vents.

    Not knowing just what fan you have up there, it's hard to say if the bearings are the type that can be lubricated or just have to be replaced. If they are lubable, a service call would take care of it, for a couple years more anyway.

    But, you saying you don't go on roofs, places repairing the fan out of the question, because hiring someone to take it down so it can be repaired and re-intsalling it will cost too much. Just have it replaced (if you can't just lubricate it) and save the old one for your shop, after you repair it.

    JMHO

    Aloha, Tony
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Baideme View Post
    Frank,

    I have to disagree with Jeff on thinking that the attic fan doesn't do much to help cool a house. They do, and although yours is making noises now, I would think it's probably just a bearing going bad. Seeing the heat eminating from the fan with it not running proves there is hot air moving out of the attic, and if the fan runs, more heat will be moved out. The best setup of an attic fan is in conjunction with gable or soffit vents.

    Not knowing just what fan you have up there, it's hard to say if the bearings are the type that can be lubricated or just have to be replaced. If they are lubable, a service call would take care of it, for a couple years more anyway.

    But, you saying you don't go on roofs, places repairing the fan out of the question, because hiring someone to take it down so it can be repaired and re-intsalling it will cost too much. Just have it replaced (if you can't just lubricate it) and save the old one for your shop, after you repair it.

    JMHO

    Aloha, Tony


    The fans run about $150.00. I got a 'guesstimate' from a contractor friend. He thinks the labor shouldn't run over $100.00.
    I've seen exhausts like this before being installed and don't think mine can be lubricated.

  6. #6
    How big is it? How much room in the Attic? Often, some of these are covers on the outside and fans are located with access from inside. If this is your's, simply go up there at night after it cools down and see if you can lube or replace from inside...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Simpson View Post
    How big is it? How much room in the Attic? Often, some of these are covers on the outside and fans are located with access from inside. If this is your's, simply go up there at night after it cools down and see if you can lube or replace from inside...
    It is similar to this: http://www.shophmac.com/broan-350.html
    I'm sure it will require some outside work.
    I've never been in my attic, the only access is a small scuttle hole in a closet. I might poke my head up there and take a look.

  8. #8
    Looks like it might be do-able from the attic. BTW tasks like these are why I raised an Electrician son and a handy Grandson.... "Hey guys, want help your old PaPaw?"

  9. #9
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    The installer guy just left, $100.00 richer for about 30 min. work. Oh, well.
    I bought the exhaust fan at Lowe's for $118.00.
    When I hit the breaker switch he said hot air was coming out like crazy. Much more so than just allowing it to vent. I'm convinced the power fan is the way to go. Especially so since the auto control thermostat is also a humidistat. It will power vent even in cool but humid weather. Sounds good to me.

  10. #10
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    I got curious and Googled it up and did some reading. No firm answers but looks like the more insulation you have in the attic, the less effective the fans are. Apparently fans can cool it some, the question is it enough to pay for the electricty to run the fan?

    The one I found the most interesting was a study of solar powered fans. The conclusion was it worked but it would take 20 years to save enough money to break even.

    Might not interest anyone but me but I found these three interesting reading.

    http://homeenergy.org/archive/hem.di...00/001109.html

    http://www.clarkpublicutilities.com/...es/2009/072809

    http://www.uwex.edu/ces/news/cenews.cfm?ID=1062
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

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