How Do I Know What Size Solar Powered Attic Fan (SPAF) is Right for Me?

iSolar Solutions

Finding the right size solar attic fan for your space is essential to keeping your home breathing properly. A fan that is too powerful or weak will not address your ventilation problems adequately. Remember: Excessive fan power (high CFM rating) won’t deliver proper ventilation and can even draw out air-conditioned air from the living space, which will overwork your air-conditioner. An attic fan that is too weak (low CFM rating) will do little to cool the air in your attic and will not be able to fend off the build-up of moisture which is what causes mold and fungus. Your ventilation system should always be in balance, meaning the amount of exhaust ventilation should never exceed the amount of intake ventilation. 

Here’s our 3-step process to determine what size solar powered attic fan (SPAF) is needed for your space: 

1. Calculate the Square Footage of Your Attic Space

The U.S. Federal Housing authority recommends a minimum of at least 1 square foot of attic ventilation for every 300 square feet of attic floor space. To determine the size of your attic, multiply the width by the length of the attic floor in feet. 

  • Example (20’ wide by 50’ long attic): 20’ x 50’ = 1,000 sq. ft. attic space

2. Determine the Ideal Size of the Solar Attic Fan 

The minimum size needed for an attic fan is 700 CFM for every 1000 square feet of attic space. To know what size attic fan is required for your space, multiply the square feet of attic space by 0.7 to get the minimum number of cubic feet of air per minute. This final number gives the CFM required for the attic fan for that particular attic.

  • Example: 1,000 sq. ft. attic x 0.7 = 700 CFM minimum fan rating
  • Add an additional 20% (CFM x 1.20) if you have a steep roof, and 15% (CFM x 1.15) for a dark roof.

3. Determine How Many SPAFs are Needed

The charts below should be used as a general guideline for how many Solar Attic Fans are needed for residential installations. 

Venting Capacity CFM OutputSolar Panel Size Number of Fans/Model 
500 – 750  sq. ft. attic space250 – 400 CFM 20WSPF-FLEX(1-2 ) 20WSPF-FLEX fans or (1) 18W-INT fan
500 – 1000 sq. ft. attic space850 CFM 18W-INT(2-3) 20WSPF-FLEX fans or (1-2) 18W-INT fan or (1) 40W-INT fan
1000 – 1500 sq. ft. attic space1,100 CFM40W-INT(3-4) 20WSPF-FLEX fans or(2-3) 18W-INT fans or (1-2) 40W-INT fans 

Note: Most manufacturers rate their fans based only on the fan motor peak CFM output and not the average CFM performance during all direct sunlight hours. iSolar offers solar attic fans ranging from 250 CFM to 1125 CFM (hourly average in direct sunlight). 

Important: Contractor pricing (volume discounts from retail price) are available starting at a quantity of 10 units (in any combination of models). Free shipping on orders of more than 10 units.

HGTV's Bryan Baeumler and iSolar Solutions's ongoing strategic partnership

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