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FAQ | Definitions of Terms | General Solar Powered Attic Ventilation Information
Solar Attic Fans Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How does a Solar Attic Fan work?
  2. What other benefits can I expect to gain from installing a Solar Attic Fan?
  3. Does a Solar Attic Fan make my roof last longer?
  4. How do I determine what size Solar Attic Fan I need for my home?
  5. I’ve heard that here in Hawaii, the Solar Attic Fans can rust, is this true?  (type of material the fans are made of).
  6. Will my roof leak when you cut a hole in it for the Solar Attic Fan?
  7. Are there any available tax credits or rebates?

Don’t see an answer to your questions?  Ask the SOLAR FAN MAN

  1. How does a Solar Attic Fan work?
    The summer sun can turn an attic into an oven, and you live just inches away from all of that heat. Attic temperatures reaching as high as 165 degrees Fahrenheit are not unusual, and most electrically powered attic fans don’t even switch on until the temperature reaches 125 degrees. While attics may have passive ventilation and perhaps insulation as well, this is not really enough.

    An active ventilation system, with a solar powered fan, is much more effective since it actually forces the hot air out of the attic. By keeping the attic cooler, less heat will radiate into the living area of your home. By reducing the load placed on your air-conditioner you lower your electricity bill and extend the life of your AC unit. This is where the money is saved.
  2. What other benefits can I expect to gain from installing a Solar Attic Fan?
    Apart from energy conservation, a solar powered attic fan has other benefits. Hot air in a hot attic can hold lots of moisture, and during the evening this will condense out (like dew) on wood and other building materials. This moisture contributes to the growth of mold and fungus, and can encourage insect infestation. Attic ventilation is required in cool weather as well. It evacuates the warm moist air that heat sources produce. Hot moist air lingering in the attic spaces can condense on the underside of the roof sheathing and rot it out and also causes mold to develop on the interior walls. Here in Hawaii, cooler air in the attic space will not affect the temperature in the adjacent living spaces.

    While summer comfort is the main concern for most shoppers, moisture is actually the more serious concern. Even with the use of vapor barriers to keep moisture from entering the attic, there are air leaks around ceiling light fixtures and bathroom exhaust fans that allow unwanted moisture into the attic. Moisture condensing on the framing members and the inside of the roof deck can lead to the growth of mold, mildew and rot in the roof deck and framing. A good indicator of moisture problem is rusty roof nails sticking through the roof deck.
  3. Does a Solar Attic Fan make my roof last longer?
    Yes, a Solar Attic fan can extend the life of the roofing materials.  Keeping the roof cooler, and dryer, will increase the lifespan of your roofing materials; these benefits can be large; consider the cost of a 30 year roof vs. a 20 year roof. 10 years of roof life is expensive. Though asphalt shingles are designed to take the abuse of the sun for many years, they are subjected to greater temperatures when the roof decking is allowed to overheat, which is just what happens in an under ventilated attic. Though asphalt shingles are designed to take the abuse of the sun for many years, they are subjected to greater temperatures when the roof decking is allowed to overheat, which is just what happens in an under ventilated attic.
  4. How do I determine what size Solar Attic Fan I need for my home?
    The guidelines for energy efficient homes in Hawaii state that you need 1 cubic foot of air movement per minute for every one square foot of roof/attic area.  Or to put it simply, if you have a 1,500 square foot home you’ll need a fan that can exhaust 1,500 cubic feet per minute.
  5. I’ve heard that here in Hawaii, the Solar Attic Fans can rust, is this true?  (type of material the fans are made of).
    All the manufacturers go to great lengths to prevent this from happening.  Most fans are made from many different materials, Aluminum alloys, Stainless Steel, Polymer composites and thermoplastic coated galvanized materials. Florida has the worst weather in the country and the toughest building codes. So most manufacturers design their fans to meet Florida standards. In Florida, you could have rain, sleet, hail, snow, tornadoes, hurricanes and golf balls, and that could be all in one day. And, that’s why we live here Hawaii.
  6. Will my roof leak when you cut a hole in it for the Solar Attic Fan?
    If installed by a trained and experienced person, your roof will never leak.  We have perfected ways of putting solar fans on all types of roofing material.  Every job we do gets a 5 year leak-free guarantee.
  7. Are there any available tax credits or rebates?
    Yes, you can receive a 30% federal tax credit on your Solar Attic Fan, a 35% state tax credit and a $50 rebate from Hawaii Energy. Visit their website for the form and more information on other energy saving measures you can take.  www.hawaiienergy.com

Finally, solar powered attic fans do their job better than conventional electrical powered fans. They use no extra energy; in fact they use the same solar energy that heats the house to keep the house cooler. Their electric motors are virtually silent and they need no extra wiring, and no additional circuit breakers  for installation. Since they are not connected to your homes electric power system, a licensed electrician is not needed for installation. There are no hidden costs with installation or during operation.

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Definitions of Terms
Self flashing - a flat flange at the base, used on low profile roofing materials, (composite shingle roofing, rolled roofing, etc.).

Curb mount flashing - base edges are turned down to be used on a prefabricated curb, typically used on tile or metal roofing.

Tile mount roofing - used with the Solar Star brand only, allows installation on any tile roofing without having to build and flash a curb.

Low profile flashing - used in high wind applications and any low profile roofing material.

High profile flashing - used on thicker roofing materials Ike cedar shake or tile roofing materials.

Gable mount type solar fans - mounted behind an installed gable vent to blow hot air out.  A remote solar panel is mounted on the roof to supply power through an extension cord.  These can also be used to ventilate shops, crawl spaces as well as attics.

Hood mount solar panel - larger solar panels are bolted directly to the top surface of the fan housing.  

Embedded solar panel - panels are built into the top surface of the solar fan housing.  

Tilt mount solar panel - adjustable solar panel angle allows installation on any roof face (North, South, East or West).  Ideal for use in home owners associations that don't allow any additions to the front roof face.  Adjust panel to face straight up for best summer performance.  

Remote/detached solar panel - allows installation of panel on the opposite side of the roof from the fan.  Also sometimes desirable in high wind areas.
 
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