Best Attic Fan: What Is An Airstream?
An attic is a room or space which is not part of the main living area but rather serves as storage for items such as furniture, tools, books etc. The term “Airstream” was coined by James May from Top Gear fame because it sounds like something out of a movie. You might think that an attic would have no ventilation whatsoever so you wouldn’t want to live there. However, an attic does need some ventilation.
In fact, the purpose of having an attic is to allow air flow through the home. If you don’t provide adequate airflow then your house will get too hot and eventually explode! (Or at least that’s what I’ve heard).
There are many different types of attic fans available on the market today. Some are small units that can easily fit into tight spaces while others are large enough to accommodate larger pieces of furniture.
The type of fan you purchase depends upon several factors including the size of your home, the amount of furniture you plan to keep in your attic and other related considerations. For example, if you’re planning on keeping a few antiques in your attic then a smaller unit may be needed than one that will hold up a full sized bed.
There are two basic types of attic fans available: ceiling mounted and wall mounted. Each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages so you’ll have to choose which is best for your situation.
Ceiling Mounted Attic Fans
As the name implies, this type of fan sits right above your head. It’s very similar to a wall mounted fan except that it’s mounted on the ceiling. The great thing about this type of fan is that it can be installed in a tight area and can easily handle larger pieces of furniture.
For example, this type of fan is ideal for holding up heavy loads such as a full sized bed or even an antique dresser.
The only real disadvantage to a ceiling mounted fan is that it takes up floor space in your home and you can’t walk under it. If you have low ceilings then you may not have any other options but a ceiling fan.
Wall Mounted Attic Fans
These types of fans don’t take up any floor space at all. They mount directly on the wall in your attic and can be moved out of the way to provide access for other activities. While this is a great feature, you do need to be careful not to bump into the fan while you’re walking around in your attic or you might get a nasty cut.
You also want to be careful that no one walks or trips on any electrical wires as they can be a serious hazard. Children and pets should definitely be kept away from the area while the fan is in use.
Quietest Attic Fans
Let’s face it, no one wants to live next to the airport so you need to find an attic fan that doesn’t make a lot of noise. In fact, you should be able to carry on a normal conversation while the fan is operating. I’ve found that the larger the fan then generally the noisier it is.
For example, a massive ceiling fan is going to be much louder than a small wall mounted unit.
The other thing to consider is the type of material that the blades are made out of. While plastic and wood may look nice, they can be quite noisy. Metal blades tend to decrease noise output significantly.
Ease of Installation
You don’t want to have to hire a professional to install your attic fan. While some people have no problem with this at all, there are others (like myself) that would rather eat worms than call an attic fan installer.
The best attic fans on the market today are designed for easy installation. Most come with detailed instructions and all the tools you’ll need to get the job done right. You should always install your fan in an area that is well ventilated to avoid any overheating problems.
Some of the best attic fans on the market are designed to be mounted on an exterior wall. In this instance, you won’t have to worry about fumes or heat buildup and you can enjoy all the benefits that an outdoor unit has to offer.
Keep in mind that not all wall mounted fans are designed for outdoor use so be sure to read the instructions thoroughly before installing.
Insulate Your Attic Before Installing an Attic Fan
Let’s face it, any added air flow in your attic is going to cause your fan to work a little harder. This is why it’s important to seal up all those little cracks and holes in your ceiling before installing an attic fan. A great way to do this is by using spray foam insulation.
It can fill even the smallest of gaps and create a barrier against any outside elements from getting inside your home.
It’s also a good idea to look into roof vents. These allow your home to naturally ventilate and are an inexpensive alternative to installing a whole house fan.
Energy Efficient Attic Fans
If you decide to go with a powerful attic fan, you’re going to be using a fair amount of energy just to keep your home cool. However, there are some models that have been designed to save you money on your electric bill.
These fans are more expensive but can save you up to 30% on your monthly utility costs depending on the temperature outside. The best models will shut off completely when it’s cool enough inside your home and won’t turn on at all unless the temperature reaches a certain level.
Whole House Attic Fans
Installing a whole house fan is a great way to naturally cool down your home.
Sources & references used in this article:
Attic fans and apparatus for supporting the drive motors of attic fans by JV Felter – US Patent 4,242,055, 1980 – Google Patents
Attic Ventilation System by AV Kouninski – US Patent App. 13/093,831, 2011 – Google Patents
A case study for the effectiveness of solar-powered attic ventilation fans by OY Yu, S Moore – Energy Efficiency, 2015 – Springer
Cool your home with a window or attic fan (1993) by J Zulovich – 1993 – mospace.umsystem.edu
A review of the potential of attic ventilation by passive and active turbine ventilators in tropical Malaysia by KM Al-Obaidi, M Ismail, AMA Rahman – Sustainable Cities and Society, 2014 – Elsevier
Ventilating fans by LL Alldritt, A Della May – US Patent 2,746,674, 1956 – Google Patents
flux. The attics with fans were substantially cooler. However by GS Dutt, DT Harrje – Summer Attic and Whole-house Ventilation …, 1979 – books.google.com