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A Survey for Our Delaware Valley Neighbors – Part 2

In our previous blog post, we shared the first half of the results from our poll regarding area homeowners and their attic fans. Today we’re sharing the second half of our poll results along with ideas that will get you thinking about attic ventilation for your home. If you missed out on the first half of our poll results, click to read them here.

9%  I have a solar attic fan – works 365 days a year for free

We are conflicted here. We’re proud but sad that only 9% of respondents have a solar attic fan. We wish it was 99%!! The Department of Energy acknowledges the benefits of attic fans – especially the fact that they help reduce energy costs. Add in lowered energy costs with a federal tax credit for installing a solar attic fan, and you’re really getting the most bang for your buck. We are thrilled for the 9% of Delaware Valley homeowners that are saving serious money and energy.

If you aren’t included in this subset of Delaware Valley homeowners, we suggest that you take a look at our page about solar attic fans. Here you can learn about what you’re missing out on (hint: more money savings and fewer headaches).

9%  Oh that thing – it broke a long time ago…

Out of the hundreds of thousands of households in the Delaware Valley, it’s a shame that 9% of homeowners know their attic fan is broken but haven’t gotten it fixed. Energy Star states that the attic is one of the places where you often find the biggest air leaks, which increase your energy bills and make you uncomfortably hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

A broken attic fan not only puts the well-being of your home and family at risk (this is a huge fire hazard), but it also takes its toll on your wallet and your sanity during the extremes of the Delaware Valley seasons. We’ll come out and inspect your home for free and give you expert advice to optimize your attic – all you need to do is let us know that you need our assistance!

9%  You got me curious, I will contact you for an attic inspection.

This is great! The attic is one of the most forgotten rooms in your home, but it is also one of the most important rooms when it comes to regulating the temperature of your home. Send us a message, call us at 856-809-2744, or attend one of our free dinner presentations. We would love to tell you about the benefits of solar attic fans and help make your home more energy efficient.

0%  No idea if I have a fan or not. Do I need one?

Thankfully, nobody chose this response! If you aren’t sure about the state of your attic, view some of our findings at one of our neighbor’s homes in Cherry Hill. Your attic should be healthy and energy efficient, and free of mold, depleted insulation, exposed electrical wires, and rotting wood. If you find yourself in this category as you’re reading this article, drop us a line! We’ll come out and inspect your attic for free with no pressure – just discussion.

 

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A Survey for Our Delaware Valley Neighbors

Not too long ago, Attics And More set out to survey our neighbors. We asked them about their attic fans. There are hundreds of thousands of homes in the Delaware Valley and we are thrilled to see that more than half of area homeowners understand the importance of attic ventilation! Here is a breakdown of the top results:

27%  I have an electric attic fan — works perfect — year round

We love seeing that over a quarter of those who responded know about the importance of attic ventilation in all seasons. It’s surprising how many times a month we’ll be in homes where the homeowner assumes the attic fan is working but it is either broken or has frayed wires (often eaten by rodents).

While we’re happy that a good portion of the region is aware of their attic’s ventilation, it’s important to note that an electric attic fan poses the risk of being a fire hazard. Moreover, electric attic fans are significantly more expensive to operate than a solar attic fan which runs for free. We suggest that you look into converting to a solar attic fan – a safer, more energy efficient alternative to the electric attic fan. Get a free quote from DHVET for a solar attic fan here.

27%  I have an electric attic fan — love it in the summer, no need in the winter

This second group also gets props for awareness of attic ventilation. However 6 to 8 months out of the year these homeowners are not receiving the necessity of year-round ventilation. If the attic fan is only used in the summer, it is forcing the air conditioner to run more, resulting in high energy bills. You are able to, and it is encouraged, that you run your attic fan year-round.

If you would like to only run your attic fan in the summer, we suggest the Attic Gator. The Attic Gator is an attic access insulation cover that keeps the air in your attic separate from the air in the rest of your house, and we can install it in just fifteen minutes.

18%  I think I have a fan – not been in the attic for a long time. Maybe I should check.

Yes, you should absolutely check your attic! We had a couple in Burlington County that hasn’t been in their attic in 25 years. There are so many reasons to go into your attic other than going in and checking for ventilation. Check for damaged or decomposed insulation, electrical wires, pests, and any fire hazards.

Unsure what to do once you get into your attic? Send us a message or give us a call! Attics And More’s technicians know exactly what to look for and know the steps to take to ensure your attic is happy and healthy.

 

Check back at our blog page tomorrow to read about our second half of polling answers along with some helpful hints for ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your attic ventilation.

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Why Attic Fans Are Important During Delaware Valley Winters

Written by Michele DuCoin and Samantha Brumbaugh

Many homeowners install attic fans in the summer because they are designed to vent out accumulated hot air in the attic. However, too few homeowners know that attic fans have year-round value.

In the wintertime, the role of an attic fan is reversed — this is arguably the most important time of year to have one. This is especially the case in New Jersey’s Delaware Valley. With Northeast winter temperatures ranging from bone-chilling cold to almost spring-like sunny days, an attic fan is essential to prevent damage to your home and to help you save money on your energy bills. 

What do attic fans do?

Attic fans work to equalize the temperature inside and outside of your home. The New Jersey Field Guide for Energy Auditors and Inspectors explains the importance of a properly ventilated attic, stating that “Attic ventilation is supposed to remove moisture from the attic during the heating season and to remove solar heat from the attic during the cooling season.”

Attic ventilation impacts a home’s energy efficiency and attics are often one of the most poorly ventilated areas of a home. Ventilation is essentially what allows a home to breathe and this is vital for a healthier living environment, a stronger and longer lasting home, and reduced energy costs. The main function of proper home ventilation is to retain cool, clean air and remove heat, moisture, and pollution.

There are three different types of ventilation that each uniquely works to improve the state of your home and the life of its inhabitants. The first type of ventilation is natural ventilation. Examples of natural ventilation include windows, screen doors, and pet doors. Natural ventilation is present in all homes to some degree. The second type of ventilation is whole-home ventilation and this is the most common form of ventilation found in modern housing. Whole-home ventilation includes exhaust ducts and vents throughout the home that work to circulate airflow and provide deliberate ventilation. The third type of ventilation is spot ventilation. Spot ventilation provides ventilation to a specific area of the home such as attics and basements.

An attic fan is a type of spot ventilation and its primary function is to remove moisture and hot air from the attic. They work simply by pushing out hot air from the attic and pulling in cooler air from outside. The constant exchange of moist, warm air from the attic with dry, cool air from outside prevents condensation. This same process also helps to prevent ice dams from forming by keeping the attic at an even temperature. Having an attic fan in the cooler months prevents the likelihood of costly home repairs and structural damage.

A look at one of Attics And More’s technicians installing a solar attic fan.

What could happen without an attic fan?

Condensation. In the winter, heat rises through a home and takes moisture and humidity along with it. The moisture and humidity originate from spaces like the kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom showers in addition to the heat that is constantly running in your home. When the humidity rises and increases in a space such as an attic, moisture condenses out of the trapped air and drips onto insulation and the building structure itself. 

The Department of Energy states that proper ventilation is one important piece of having a moisture control strategy. Without a strong moisture control strategy, your home is at risk for a whole host of problems.

If the insulation absorbs too much water, it becomes less effective and ultimately leads to heat loss in the home. If the structure of the home begins to absorb water it can result in wood rot, mold and fungus growth, and the breakdown of roofing materials altogether.

Water damage due to water leaking through a roof. [source]

Ice dams. When warm indoor air rises to the peak of an attic, snow on the heated part of the roof melts and flows down to a part of the roof that is below 32°F. The process of snow thawing and refreezing causes an ice dam.

Ice dams prevent proper drainage through gutters and downspouts and can wreak havoc on your home’s eaves, gutters, and roofing. Eventually, the water pushes its way into the attic through cracks in the roof and could then seep into your ceiling and interior walls. A solar attic fan prevents the attic from becoming warm enough to cause ice dams. 

Concentrated hot air in the attic could also heat up space under roof shingles. Over time, this will cause the shingles to become brittle and ineffective, ultimately shortening the lifespan of your roof.

Photo of ice damming on a roof. [source]

Why choose a solar attic fan?

According to the State of New Jersey Construction Code Communicator, “adequate attic ventilation is a long-standing requirement in building codes for moisture control.” It is imperative to have a properly ventilated attic at all times of the year.  All it takes to prevent attic-related winter woes is to install a solar attic fan on your home. Solar attic fans draw their power from the energy of the sun, cost nothing to run, and are an excellent way to improve a home’s energy efficiency all year long. Compared to solar attic fans, the increased costs to run electric-powered attic fans offset the cooling benefit they provide. Solar attic fans save energy and help you save money in the long run.

Choose Delaware Valley’s Best

Call us at 856-809-2744 or click here to schedule a free attic inspection and to learn how to prevent condensation and ice damming from causing your home the winter blues.