Should You Choose Solar Powered Roof Ventilators?
Your attic is the last place you want to be in when summer temperatures reach record highs in the Bay Are. However, having an oven cooking at the top of your home cannot be good for cooling. Solar powered ventilators are designed to vent this air and remove it completely from your home.
These roof ventilators help in keeping the attics cool and lowering overall utility costs. However, there is no clear consensus where solar-powered attic ventilators are concerned. Building professionals regularly debate on their effectiveness and safety.
This short guide will help you make a conscious decision.
Solar-powered ventilators vs. attic fans
A lot of people confuse between powered attic ventilators and whole-house attic fans. This is mainly because they serve the same purpose. Attic fans cool homes during the night with passive vents in rooftops. They draw up warmer air inside the home into the attic and exhaust it through the roof vents. Downstairs windows are left open to allow cool air to flood in at night and reduce the temperature. This helps in reducing energy expenses.
Conversely, powered ventilators, while working towards the same goal are not home cooling systems. They may lower energy consumption, reduce overall cooling demand, and ventilate the attic, but they do not directly contribute to the cooling of your entire home. Solar-powered ventilators use solar energy to exhaust hot, humid air from the attic. This allows outdoor air to enter the home through soffit vents.
What can render these systems ineffective?
While all this may sound good in theory, there are multiple variables that can easily throw the equation off. For instance, if you don’t have your attic properly sealed off, the solar-powered ventilator may just as easily pull air conditioned air through the gaps and suck it out. This would increase heat in your home leading to higher energy bills.
Attic ventilators are also known to depressurize the air inside the home. This can cause a build-up of carbon monoxide through backdraft from water heaters.
Solar-powered ventilators reduce energy consumption
Florida Solar Energy Center researchers have concluded that solar-powered ventilators do have a positive effect on reduced energy consumption. These systems were invented to power fans by natural, clean energy that reduced a homeowner’s dependency on the grid.
However, there are many energy experts that claim the savings represented by these ventilators to not be enough for recouping the cost of equipment and installation. As per statistics, savings were calculated to be about $37 annually, while equipment cost came to average at $850 annually.
The bottom line
Solar-powered ventilators are one of the many green home renovations that can significantly reduce your energy bills while keeping your home cool and comfortable. However, they should not be installed if your home has combustion gas appliances, such as gas-powered water heaters. This can increase the risk of potential backdrafts making your home unsafe.
The system can be a positive addition to your home if your goal is to make your needs as energy efficient as possible. This is especially true if your attic is more than just a storage space and you want it to be cooler.