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Installing an Attic Fan

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If you've ever gone up into your attic in the middle of the summer, you know just how hot it can get up there. All that excess heat can have a huge impact on the temperature of the rest of your home, not to mention any belongings you keep in the attic. The best method for getting rid of all that extra air is to have an attic fan. These fans pull cooler air in from outside and push the hot air out of the opposite side of the attic. In most cases, a thermostat automatically switches the fan on when the attic reaches a certain temperature. This guide will tell you how to go about installing an attic fan.


Here's what you you'll need:
  • Safety goggles, dust mask, and protective clothing (long sleeves and pants)
  • Attic fan with louvered cover
  • Acrylic caulk and caulk gun
  • Sabre saw
  • 32 inches of 2x4 construction lumber
  • Drill and 1-inch wood screws
  • Plywood
  • Work light
  • Screwdriver and hammer

Installing the Fan

First, you'll need an electrical feed to which the attic fan can be connected. You can either run a new circuit or branch off of one of your attic's light fixtures. Working with electricity is extremely dangerous, so, if you don't know what you're doing, hire an electrician to take care of it for you.

TIP: For even more energy efficiency, consider purchasing a solar-powered attic fan.

Before installing the new fan, you'll have to remove the existing vent. These are usually held in place with screws or nails and aren't too complicated to remove. Create a hole for the new fan by placing the louvered fan cover over the hole and tracing around it with a pencil. Measure an additional 5/8 of an inch on each side and mark it. Use the sabre saw to cut along this second line. Then, screw the cover into place and seal the edges with caulk.

Next, you'll need to create a frame in which the fan will sit. Cut two pieces of 2x4 to go horizontally between the wall studs on either side of the louvered cover and nail them in place above and below it. The fan itself will need to be mounted to a piece of plywood, which can then be screwed into place on the 2x4 frame. Most fans will come with a traceable template for the exact dimensions the plywood will need to be. Once the plywood is cut to size, screw the housing of the fan onto it. Then, making sure the fan is right-side-up, screw the plywood into place on the 2x4 frame.

The thermostat controller for the fan will need to be installed next. It should be attached to the back of the plywood holding the fan in place. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to install the thermostat controller so you can be sure it will work properly. Finally, you can hook up your fan to the power, flip it on, and let your attic cool off!

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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