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Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

What Does an Attic Fan Actually Do?


The term attic fan might be confusing to people at first, especially anyone who lives in Southern California, where attics are narrow spaces rarely used for anything more than storage. Why have a fan placed up there?

But attic fans are installations that can help create better energy efficiency and comfort for an entire house. If your home doesn’t have an attic fan, we recommend taking some time to look into the possibilities of having one installed. 

First, we need to get into more detail about what an attic fan is.

The Job of an Attic Fan

An attic fan is a powered ventilation system for a home’s attic, not a fan that helps to create better air circulation the way ceiling fans do. An attic fan draws the heated air inside the attic and pushes it outside, while drawing in outside air, creating a better equilibrium between indoor and outdoor heat without creating negative air pressure. 

And attics can get extremely hot. You probably aren’t aware of the extent of attic heat because you don’t go up into your home’s attic often. But even on a mildly warm day, the radiant heat on the roof of a house can cause the temperature of the attic to soar above 130°F. An attic fan is an energy-efficient method of drawing out this excess heat and lowering the attic temperature without having to air-condition it.

How an Attic Fan Can Benefit Your House

But why lower the attic temperature in the first place? Why not just … not go up into the attic?

The problem with a super-heated attic is that it will raise the temperature in the rest of the house. Attic insulation forms a thermal barrier to slow down the movement of heat from the attic, but it has limits. An attic fan makes it much easier for the insulation to keep the heat from seeping down into the house. This offers several benefits:

  • Lowers temperatures in your house on hot days, so you won’t have to rely on the air conditioning system as much.
  • A roof that will last longer. The attic fan doesn’t only push out hot air from the attic, it pushes out moist air. High moisture in the attic can damage the roof with wood rot and mold. 
  • Lower-cost cooling thanks to an attic fan’s smaller use of electricity compared to a central air conditioner.

The moisture control also makes an attic fan useful in cooler weather. Moisture in your house from cooking and showering rises up toward the attic, where it can lead to mold growth. But an attic fan will vent this moisture outside.

Professional Attic Fan Installation

An attic fan cannot be installed as a DIY project or installed by an amateur. It must be placed into the attic wall to create ventilation to the outside and then connected to the electrical system of the house. You’ll want our Sherman Oaks, CA electrician to take on this job. 

Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical serves Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Call our certified service technicians 24/7 for exceptional customer service!

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