Will installing an attic fan keep it cooler and cut air conditioning expenses?

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Answered by Tim Snyder, Guest Editor

The trouble with attic fans is that they don’t just suck hot air out of the attic. If the attic hasn’t been air sealed, the suction created by an attic fan can suck cool air out of the living space below. This loss of cool air makes your air conditioning system work harder. A better strategy for cutting air conditioning costs would be to air seal the attic and upgrade attic insulation. By improving the thermal boundary between your living space and the hot air in the attic, you’ll have less heat transfer into top floor rooms. Unlike an attic fan, insulation is a permanent solution that consumes no energy and never wears out.

About the author: A journalist specializing in sustainability, energy efficiency and home improvement topics, Tim Snyder is a former executive editor of Fine Homebuilding and American Woodworker magazines. Tim's recent work includes a green remodeling manual for the Environmental Protection Agency, and a chapter on “Smart Shelter” for The Whole Green Catalog. Tim’s blogs and web content can be found at myHOMEscience.com, DrEnergySaver.com,BasementSystems.com, MotherEarthNews.com, Wisebread.com, Green-Energy-News.com, RealtyBiznews.com and other sites.

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