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Should You Install an Attic Fan?

Jun 06, 2020 by Maurie Backman
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You may not spend a lot of time in your attic other than to access items you're storing for the long haul, but it could be the source of higher energy bills and a stifling hot house in the heart of summer. That's why it pays to consider getting an attic fan.

What exactly is an attic fan, and why might you need one?

As the name implies, an attic fan is installed on your attic's ceiling, and its purpose is to draw hot air out of your attic and push it outside. Attic fans work best at night, when you can run your fan while opening your windows so that cooler air gets drawn into your house and warmer air escapes it through the attic.

Now you may be thinking: "Who cares if my attic gets hot? Why should I bother with an attic fan?" But the hot air that tends to get trapped in your attic doesn't just impact that space; it can affect your whole house. As such, investing in an attic fan could make your entire home more comfortable when the weather gets warm. It can also help you spend less on air conditioning -- if your house isn't as hot to begin with, your air conditioning unit won't need to work so hard to keep your home cool.

Furthermore, excess heat and humidity in an attic can lead to mold problems over time -- problems that can be harmful to your health and also very expensive to remedy.

Is there a drawback to installing an attic fan?

As is the case with any type of home improvement or repair, attic fans cost money. The average cost to install one is around $600, according to HomeAdvisor, but you could spend a little less -- or a little more -- depending on the unit you choose. Attic fans also cost some money to run. The amount you spend on that electricity, however, should be much less than what you'll spend to run your air conditioning system at full blast, so ultimately, your utility bills should drop. But because of that initial outlay, it will take you some time to recoup your investment.

Furthermore, because attic fans bring in outside air, you do risk introducing allergens into your house. If you're particularly sensitive, an attic fan may not be a great solution for you.

Is an attic fan right for you?

If you find that your air conditioning bills are through the roof, or that you have a hard time getting your home cool during the summer, then an attic fan may be a good solution for you. Similarly, if you use your attic for something other than storage -- say, it doubles as your home office -- then you absolutely need that space to be comfortable. And since an attic fan isn't a particularly large expense, it's one you may be able to work into your budget rather easily.

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