Energy efficiency has become a hot topic, especially with rising utility costs and extreme weather conditions across the country.
Aside from the environmental impact of using a ton of electricity, there’s also a lot to be said about how much conserving energy can save you on your electricity bills.
Central air conditioning is one of the biggest household contributors to high energy costs. If you live in an especially hot climate, you’re likely paying hundreds just to keep your house cool, especially in the summertime.
Luckily, there are alternative ways to cool your home for a lower price. Is an attic fan one of them?
Here, we look at the facts and answer the question: do attic fans use a lot of electricity?
How much power does an electric attic fan use on average?
On average, an attic fan uses less than 300 watts of electricity.
If it were to run constantly, it would use up to about 180 kWh per month, but attic fans typically run intermittently to equalize inside and outside temperatures.
Unfortunately, this cost can add up over time. Though operating an electric attic fan has an average cost of $2-$3 per month, adding a humidistat that measures the amount of moisture in the attic can add another $90-$150.
Should attic fans run all the time?
No, attic fans do not need to run all the time. During the summer months or in hot climates, you may notice that your attic fan is running more often to disperse the warm air buildup in your attic. In general, you will notice the most benefits from running your attic fan during the day.
Should I turn off my attic fan in the winter?
No, you shouldn’t turn your attic fan off in the winter. Attic ventilation is a crucial element in every homeowner’s maintenance plan. Because attic fans are controlled by a thermostat, you can set them to your ideal attic temperature. Proper attic ventilation allows air to circulate while preventing moisture buildup. Reducing moisture can work to prevent ice dams or ice build-up on the eaves of sloped roofs.
What temperature should I set my attic fan?
Attic fans should be set to a temperature that feels most comfortable for you and your living spaces, but manufacturers typically recommend setting it between 90 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, it’s a good idea to set your fan to a higher temperature than the ambient temperature outside to avoid it burning out.
Attic fans vs other household appliances
When you compare the electric attic fan’s energy usage to the around 350-7500 watts that most of your other electric household items use, it seems pretty efficient.
The average refrigerator 1.4kWh of electricity per day or 41kWh per month.
A space heater uses a significant amount of electrical energy, about 1,500 watts.
A microwave uses about 1,200 watts per hour, though you probably don’t run your microwave for hours at a time.
Is it cheaper to run an attic fan or air conditioning?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the cost of running an attic fan or air conditioning will vary depending on the size of your home, the climate, and other factors. However, in general, it is often cheaper to run an attic fan than air conditioning. Opting for a solar-powered attic fan can reduce your energy bills even more. You can compare average costs in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s comprehensive report.
Does an attic fan use less electricity than AC?
The answer is a resounding yes. A central air conditioning system can use upwards of 3,500 watts per hour when in cooling mode. Even when your AC is on fan-only mode, it still uses 750 watts per hour, more than twice the electricity of the average attic fan.
One of the primary reasons people use attic fans is to keep their homes cooler during the hot summer months to reduce the strain on their HVAC systems.
By adding an attic fan to the equation, your central air conditioning system has to do less work, which means less electricity is used. Essentially, you get more bang for your buck when using an attic fan.
A solar-powered alternative to the electric attic fan
If you’re looking for a way to get the cooling benefits of an attic fan without incurring additional energy costs, the answer is clear: solar power. Solar-powered attic fans don’t even require you to install solar panels. Nearly all solar-powered attic fans have panels built-in, so installation is a breeze.
There are plenty of solar-powered attic fans out there that double down on energy savings, allowing you to save on AC electricity while using the sun to power the fan itself.
Attic fans don’t use much electricity compared to other household items. By adding an attic fan to your home, you could save a lot of money on your energy bills, improve the comfort of your living spaces, reduce your attic temperature, mitigate ice damming throughout the winter, and minimize the strain on your HVAC system.