Venting Your Attic and Cooling Off the Entire House

A solar attic vent fan project is great because you get to do a little bit of everything (in contrast to the solar water heater project where you get a whole lot of everything). You can install a solar attic vent fan in a day or so, depending on how difficult your attic structure is. You get to install a PV panel, which requires you to figure out orientation and placement. You do some simple wiring without having to be too fussy about quality. You can use electrical tape and just twist the wires together, or you can use a solder­ing iron and get fancy with shrink tubing. You need to make some drawings of your attic, and really think about prevailing winds and pressures and how they affect air movement. You need to figure out the best spot to install the fan, and you need to know a little about fan technology, but if you don’t, it’s okay because your system will still work pretty well.

You can’t get shocked, no matter how hard you try — a good thing, although some of you are surely disappointed by this.

You may fall off your roof, even if you don’t try. I know of at least ten guys who have fallen off roofs. (I would use the gender-neutral term “people,” but I don’t know any women who have fallen off a roof.) All the do-it-yourselfers I know are envious of these guys, and I suspect they secretly wish they could fall off a roof, too.

image326"Ultimately, a solar attic vent fan works really well. I installed one on my own roof, and the house was much cooler the very next day. We don’t have to turn on our air conditioner nearly as much. The problem is, nobody can really see it, so it’s hard to brag about. For project instructions, turn to Chapter 13.

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