Picking a solar attic fan for your home can be confusing. There are many models in different sizes, price ranges and efficiency ratings that are available on the market today. But which ones give you the best value for your money?
To answer that question, we’ve compiled a quick and convenient checklist of features and factors for you to consider when deciding which solar attic fan is right for you.
The efficiency of solar attic fans is measured in CFM, or cubic feet of air moved per minute. This is an indicator of how much airflow a specific fan is able to achieve for your attic. Higher CFM numbers generally suggest that the fan is capable of moving more air over a larger area. Note that the rated wattage of a fan’s solar panels is not linked to how effective it is at circulating air.
Solar attic fans like iSolar Solutions’ bestselling 20W106-FLEX have efficiency ratings of up to 400 CFM. This means they are designed to service an area up to 600 sq. ft. Since most homes have an attic size that is below 1,000 sq. ft., most homeowners will only require one or two of these affordable, high-efficiency units in order to achieve optimal attic airflow.
You may also want to ask a manufacturer about how the CFM rating of their fans was measured. Unlike some competitors, the products offered by iSolar Solutions are tested for efficiency in real-world roof conditions, rather than in laboratory conditions that can artificially inflate the CFM numbers advertised.
Material and construction
Solar attic fans are designed to preserve the lifespan of your home’s roofing materials. So it makes sense to expect durability and high-quality construction when selecting a fan. Unfortunately, many fans on the market are made of aluminum or low-grade plastics. These are prone to chipping and corrosion over time. By comparison. iSolar Solutions’ products are manufactured using heavy-gauge, recycled polyethylene plastic. These materials are known for being highly resistant to damage, fading and chemical corrosion.
Water resistance is another factor to consider, especially for homeowners who live in areas with extreme climates. Before committing to a solar attic fan, ask the manufacturer about the quality of the fan, and whether their product is rated at IP68 – the highest internationally-recognized standard for determining how well an electrical device can withstand dirt, debris and water. With a deep understanding of North American climates, iSolar Solutions is proud to guarantee an IP68 rating for all its products.
Lastly, explore what solar panel material options are right for your budget and needs. Solar panels usually fall into one of two categories – monocrystalline or polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels are built using one silicon crystal per solar cell. This means they are better able to withstand extreme heat. However, this means they are more expensive than the polycrystalline panels, which combine several silicon crystals per solar cell. Polycrystalline solar panels are generally more suited for homes in areas with more moderate climates. Understanding the diverse needs of our customers, iSolar Solutions offers options in both polycrystalline and monocrystalline models.
Potential installation complications
The size of a solar attic fan can also make the installation process a headache if proper research is not done beforehand. Most solar attic fans on the market do not fit neatly into existing vent holes in roofs. In many cases they are too big and require enlarged holes to be cut into a roof in order to accommodate them. This in turn greatly adds to installation costs. To save time and money on installation, look for a solar attic fan that is retrofittable – or adjustable to fit any existing vent hole on your roof.
Some models offered by iSolar Solutions, like the 20W106-FLEX, are extremely compact in size, and feature an adjustable mounting plate which allows the fan to be fitted into most existing roof vent holes between 6” to 13” in diameter. For roofs with extremely limited space, some iSolar models also come in crawl space versions that allow the solar panel to be mounted almost anywhere on the roof, and even vertically on the side of a building.
Fans like the 20W106-FLEX also feature adjustable solar panels (measuring 13.7” x 16.5” x 1”). Unlike many competitor products, these compact panels can be rotated and angled to make maximum use of the sun’s rays. This is especially important if sunlight is limited on your roof due to its pitch. It can also be critical for situations where shadows are cast from trees and neighbouring buildings.
For added protection against the elements, iSolar Solutions offers exclusive access to the acclaimed SNOWVENTCO roofer’s vent as part of a package deal with the 20W106-FLEX fan. This state-of-the-art cover effectively keeps out 99 per cent of water, dust, debris and vermin.
Value and manufacturer reputation
Price always weighs heavily when it comes to planning for home renovations, as does the reputation of a product’s manufacturer. Typically, most solar attic fans are priced in the $400-$750 CAD range. By comparison, iSolar’s products are significantly more budget friendly. Our iSolar 20W106-FLEX, for instance, comes in at a competitive $299 CAD. Yet despite the low price, iSolar Solutions’ products have gained an outstanding reputation for quality, having received an official endorsement from HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler.
Your solar attic fan will stay with your home for a very long time. So it is important that a manufacturer stands firmly behind the quality of their products after installation. Be aware that not all manufacturers offer warranties, and those that do typically provide 10-15 year warranties. For peace of mind, all iSolar Solutions products are backed by a 20-year limited warranty after installation.
Ready to buy?
To learn more about what iSolar Solutions attic fans are right for your home, please contact our knowledgeable staff for an assessment.