An attic exhaust fan, which is designed only to cool the attic space, almost never requires maintenance. It's good to clean the fan shutters that open to release warm air, and washing the fan blades from time to time helps ensure optimal functionality. Yes, attic fan maintenance is worth the expense and time. Maintenance is usually not necessary for either a whole-house fan or an attic exhaust fan.
Sometimes a whole-house fan will have a motor that has oil ports and is designed to be lubricated every few years. An attic exhaust fan will almost never do it. In any case, it is usually impossible or impractical to access these ports in the attic and it is best to leave them alone. Cleaning the blind and the leaves every few years is usually the only thing to do.
The problem with attic fans is in how they are marketed. Homeowners should know that fans can only be effective if they are sized correctly and combined with the right quantities and locations of ventilation openings. Even then, they won't “cool a house” the way most homeowners understand the term. The fans will only lower the temperatures in the attic a little and will need some energy to do so.
Even so, a little improvement can be better than nothing. If you're considering using an attic fan, you'll also need to decide (as with any solution suggested here) if the benefits are worth the cost of installation and operation. This will be a topic for another article. Many homeowners want to equip their homes with the right tools to keep them cool during hot days.
An attic fan is a good option, especially if you want to reduce the load on your HVAC unit. Attic fans really don't need much maintenance, however, a little cleaning and lubrication always helps extend the life of any appliance. Common attic problems include pest infestation, mold growth, and the problem of excessive moisture that spoils items, appliances, and systems in attics. Otherwise, the fan could suck in air from outside the house just as much as it blows warm air out of the attic.
Keep in mind that you will accrue large cooling bills if you get used to using your attic fan and air conditioner simultaneously. Attic fans work best at night, when the outside temperature cools and air enters your warm home to cool it down. The attic fan is creating a huge draft down from the chimney and if the water heater turns on and starts burning natural gas, it is not properly vented out of the chimney. After you get used to really clean air, you wouldn't think to turn on an attic fan and let in all those irritants.
In case your air conditioner breaks down in mid-summer, the attic fan can help keep the house cool while doing repairs or a replacement. All in all, the attic fan can work as an add-on to your air conditioning unit — just make sure you don't overuse it. The negative pressure produced by the attic fan is relieved by any opening from the inside of the house to the outside, such as opening windows. To learn more about basic attic fan maintenance for mid-summer comfort at your home in Fayette or Coweta County, call the experts at Powers Heating & Air today.
If you want to keep your attic fan in top condition throughout the summer without problems, schedule a seasonal inspection and HVAC maintenance appointment before the hot season begins. However, in general, you don't want your attic to heat more than 10 to 15 degrees than the outside temperature, and for most homeowners, that means keeping your attic between 90 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. I think the best solution may be a combination of radiant barrier to prevent heat from the sun from heating the attic structure, to begin with, along with proper ventilation, attic exhaust (s), insulation and air sealing. Fan motors typically last between 10 and 15 years and when the fan approaches its replacement age, the motor must be replaced.