home depot selling solar attic vents?

been meaning to post this: 2 weeks ago my home depot sale flier shows 2 versions of solar attic vents that look just like the solar powered (small attached panel) attic vents commonly sold by solar places online, except it was a good bit cheaper. they also had a version that was for the peak vents (forget waht called) with detachable panel- thats what i want. so none of my local hd stores have em, and theyre not on the website. anyone know where to get these? it think it was only $250 if memory serves. i want something like that: about a 1' square fan and small solar panel to run it only when direct sun hits it. its a perfect solution. our attic is underventilated and this would really help.
Im looking for something like this:
http://www.realgoods.com/renew/shop/product.cfm/dp/2500/sd/2501/ts/1064479

but for $360?!?!
(i know realgoods=ripoff)

i found integrated fan for $300 at altenergystore in MA, but i kind of want a mountable 12" dc fan and separate small panel.

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Comments

  • crewzercrewzer Posts: 1,832Registered Users, Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    mattl,

    The best alternative I found is at Lowe's.

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    cool! the solar gable mount is what i was looking for, the link doesnt work on that one but ill call em. thanks
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    lowes emailed me back 2 weeks later: call local store.
    called local store: never heard of them


    I found out that this is the one sold by lowes
    http://www.airvent.com/homeowner/products/powerVents-solarGable.shtml

    cant find it anywhere for less than $400 but it was on sale (supposedly) for only $250

    anyone know of a sub $300 gable mount solar attic vent?
  • crewzercrewzer Posts: 1,832Registered Users, Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    Mattl,

    Check this out: http://www.thesustainablevillage.com/servlet/display/product/detail/33278

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    The Attic-Aire Gable Mount Solar Fan at Lowe's is available through the special order dept. Use Model #SG8 or Lowe's item number 41125 when you call them. The quote today from them was $364.29 for it.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    From http://www.savenrg.com/venting.htm

    This company suggests that home store fans are crap and not worth purchasing as they only last about a year and have questionable reliability. They also state the following:
    "Stay away from solar attic fans.  The claims of CFM movement are overrated.  Our testing has shown a solar fan with an 11 watt panel, (facing South), moved 315CFM.  That's less than half of what is advertised.  Good idea but not enough power to spin the fan blade."


    I don’t know where this test took place but this company does energy audits in Phoenix, AZ which would lead me to believe it was done there (plenty of sunshine). I know performance on these products will vary based on operating conditions and manufacturer so I am wondering if anybody here has any actual experience with (solar) attic fans. If so, would you please give a brief description of the fan type, operating conditions, and any results from installation? I know I’m asking for a lot here…

    I’ve been searching for test data on the benefits from attic fan installations but have found very little. The search continues…
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    i believe there isn't much seriousness to these products just like the little solar walkway lights. to do it right would require quality stuff and they have been going by barely working or made to break craftsmanship. i contend at this point without knowledge of any quality stuff available at this writing that you should assemble such devices on your own. quality sources are already known by us here for pvs, controllers, and batteries (if used) so the question would be a quality fan with the wattage and voltage acceptable to the assembler of this to fit into a system so to speak with the other components. matching of these components is up to you though.
    this is generally the case for the solar walkway lights too as they are cheaply made and thusly poorly designed with function and longevity of the product very low on the list. if anybody finds quality stuff it should be brought to the attention of all here by posting that product's name and model number with links and your personnal experience with it if any.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    interestinlgy this is exactly what i decided to do, mostly to save money. these were covered last summer i think in homepower, im sure they work. yes, maybe just not the cfm as rated. well we know all about that with solar panel ratings.

    so i decided to get just a 12v fan to mount inside my gable and hook it up to my main solar setup as i have plenty of power for that in the summer when i need it, it would be stupid to buy another panel really. im gonna try the one at crewzewrs link for the fan only. not sure if they'll sell to me in the us though it looks kinda funky.

    pretty much any kind out extraction of hot air is going to be beneficial to me, as its way underventilated and with an oild house, slate roofs for alot of it, this is a affordable solution.

    i also was considering just sticking a vent in the roof near the peak (we have no peak vent, forget whatcha callit). i wonder how much that would help, fanless, probably a little bit. :roll:
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?


    What about taking one of the powered turbine roof vents and replacing
    the 110 motor with a 12 volt motor with an on/off switch or timer. that
    should pull plenty of hot air out of the attic and lower the temp inside
    the house.

    brad
  • crewzercrewzer Posts: 1,832Registered Users, Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    Mattl,

    I thought of the the following alternative a while ago, but got side tracked… I apologize. :oops:

    Anyway I think niel’s quality concern is well founded. Accordingly, an high-quality automotive aftermarket electric fan might be worth considering, as they’re designed for fairly harsh environments. Permakool makes a broad range of electric fans (regular and high performance), and they’re readily available from Summit Racing. I have one in my pickup truck to help cool the automatic transmission's external cooler, and it’s worked flawlessly for ~five years. The models we discussed previously were rated at ~800 cfm. Permakool’s 12 V 800 cfm fan draws 4.5 A.

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    more great ideas to feel guilty about not implementing! thanks! :|
    well the forcast is another wk of rain, that is, after the rainy weekend. oh well suits my mood just great i guess. still this might be a good time, to do it and the fans are cheap if not exactly efficient. thats ok as i figure ill switch em on only when its hot and sunny when plenty of power is available.

    just ordered the 10" , looks like it'll mount ok inside my 1' square gable vent.
    well, its gonna have to now :)
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    fits perfectly, runs great! its a bit more powerful than i'd have chosen - pulls about 3 amps it looks like, and blows like a .. uh, well, very good. i guess its a radiator fan. i bought the "regular" version not the high performance. hooked it up to a 12hr AC timer switch i had and is working good. i understand arcing can be a issue using AC switches, but should I expect any arc/sparking at only 3 amps? the switch was rated for much higher overall (AC) current than the 40 watts (DC) it's switching.

    today was the first full day of use and im very pleased to report it made a huge difference, the second floor was notably cooler, in fact only very slightly warmer than downstairs, when often its 10-20 deg hotter up there. another perfect use for the excess power once batts are charged!
  • crewzercrewzer Posts: 1,832Registered Users, Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    Mattl,

    Great news! 8-)

    Note that you may not have to wait until the batteries are charged (Float stage?) before powering the fan. The controller maintains constant voltage during both the Absorb- and Float stages by limiting charge current to the batteries. Accordingly, there may some useful current available from your PV array a little while (30 minutes?) after the controller switches from Bulk / MPPT to Absorb mode. You may be able to put this energy to good use without affecting the battery charging routine.

    Keep us posted!

    Jim / crewzer
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,079Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    Yes,

    The DC arcing in your switch can still be a problem and lead to early contact failure... Although, at 12 vdc it is may not be much of a problem.

    The fix would be to place a reverse biased diode across the Fan side of the contact and ground/return. That will allow the diode to supply the current (instead of an arc across the switch) until the fan motion/induced current has died down.

    Or, you can place a capacitor instead of a diode... Perhaps an old cap from a distributor (in place of the capacitor) would work well too (at protecting the AC contacts) if you have one laying about.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • crewzercrewzer Posts: 1,832Registered Users, Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    Good point, Gents, re the DC arcing across the switch contacts. Some may recall our discussion about this very issue, and I think it included one of Bill's early contributions to the forum.

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    yep, I remembered the discussion, so many good ones here, i miss alot of them.
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    matt,
    which fan did you get as i looked them over and didn't see any with a current draw as low as 3amps?
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    oh, ill verify later but i think you're right that this one is rated at 4amps i think, but it appears to only draw 3. maybe the long run? it is a pretty long cable run (about 70') with probably too small wire: 14g. ill look at the box and let u know
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    I installed two of the HD fans a couple weeks ago. I haven't done any extensive measuring, but I do think they're helping so far. My house gets lots of sun, but not so much wind (at house level), due to lots of trees in our neighborhood as well as all the privacy fences. I measured the temperature in the attic last Saturday, and it was about 112F, with 95F outside at 5PM.

    Home Depot sells a 10W panel for $80 and a 12V 2A fan, also for $80. Yes, that means they're pairing a 10W peak panel with a 24W motor. :roll:

    I bought two of the fans and skipped the panels. I'm using the 45W Harbor freight kit instead, which is a much better deal at $160 ($199 less 20% discount).

    My impressions are:
    1) There's no way that the 10W panel is going to power the fan to put out the 1100 CFM that the fan advertises on the box. I don't have a way to measure actual CFM, but it's probably close to that with the full 24W.
    2) The fans are surprisingly quiet. I cannot hear them from inside the house, but I can just barely hear the wind when standing outside just below them.
    3) They're cheaper than any other fan I've been able to find, and seem to be a good deal. Assuming they last more than a few months, that is.

    FWIW, I mounted them both on a piece of 1/2" plywood as a baffle. (The instructions didn't specify to do this, but not doing so would be a mistake, I think.) I have already added lots of inlets for the air, so hopefully I won't be sucking the A/C into the attic. I only have R19 in most of the attic, but have been slowly adding to it. I have no radiant barrier (yet). Finally, I'm in North Texas, in case you're wondering.

    (edit for spellering)
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    thats pretty good, the radiator fan i have is NOT quiet (sounds exactkly like a outdoor pool filter running: that annoying buzz). looks to be about same price as the one you found at HD. ours is 40' up and away from us so the noise is no issue here, but something to consider if you need quiet (the radiator fans arent) . it moves a lot of air using a lot of power. I bigger slow moving, more efficient house fan would probably be smarter if money wasnt an issue for me. : can see tree branches blowing from it 6' away w/this one ;)

    your attic measurements of temp were with the fan?
    i should try that. our house is so inefficient i am constantly wondering if we should sell and get something newer to work with, its such an uphill battle.(1887 house) we have lots of attic insulation installed but that doesnt help the ends where there is no attic space (and probably no insulation. im not sure what you call it but that slanted sidewall in upstairs homes(??). chances are there is no insulation in there is the bottom line. :(
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    If you want high flow per dollar, I haven't seen any better than here:
    http://www.partzfinder.com/electric_cooling_fans_s/28.htm
    I bet they're noisy, and they're not particularly efficient, either.

    (This is not an endorsement, I've never ordered from this company.)

    As for the temps, I planned to test the next day without the fans to try to see what difference there was, but I wasn't able to do it. I'll try again this weekend, assuming the weather is comparable.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    I bought and installed the 24W Home Depot attic fan last winter on my new house. I went back for the Solar Panels recently and all they had were the 10W. I contacted Chien Luen Industries in Taiwan. They say just hook up 2 together and it will work fine. Does anyone have any comments on this?
    Bman talked about a Harbor freight kit. What is this? Where can I buy one?
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?
    clivedel wrote:
    Bman talked about a Harbor freight kit. What is this? Where can I buy one?
    There are some links here, and another inexpensive panel as well.
    http://www.wind-sun.com/smf/index.php?topic=1631.0
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    yep, as the load is small enough it hasnt really affected charging at all actually, i start it in the am on hot sunny days for 8 hours , it doesnt pull enough to slow down the charging stage too much at all (at kleast withn this abundant sun in summer, i mean, when its not raining.
    crewzer wrote:

    Note that you may not have to wait until the batteries are charged (Float stage?) before powering the fan. The controller maintains constant voltage during both the Absorb- and Float stages by limiting charge current to the batteries. Accordingly, there may some useful current available from your PV array a little while (30 minutes?) after the controller switches from Bulk / MPPT to Absorb mode. You may be able to put this energy to good use without affecting the battery charging routine.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    hi

    I am a newbie so sorry for easy stupid questions.

    I would like to build a solar attic fan, with a 12vdc fan like mentioend before and a panel & temp sensor. Since i am totally new to solar I don't have a clue. Can I just hook the panel to sensor then to fan? Or how would I wire it? Does anyone have recomendations on a sensor for temp. I would be thankful for any imput.

    thanks
    greif
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,079Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    Yes, Solar PV electric panels behave, pretty much, like batteries (when the sun is up). You can put a switch in the circuit and turn the fan on and off without any problems.

    Many people just hook the fan to the solar panel... i.e., if the sun is bright and heating your roof/attic--then you want the fan on. No reason to turn the fan off to save electricity.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    I was think in the winter (Wisconsin) to leave it off so the attic warms a bit. or is this wrong thinking?
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,079Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    Don't ask a Californian about winter and attic temps... 8-)

    It really depends on what your needs are. If your attic rafters/roof is not insulated, and the ceiling is--from what I have read about areas that have snow, would you not want to keep your roofing material (on a sloped roof) cold to prevent ice dams? (water melts under the snow on a warm roof and runs down to the eves were it freezes again--creating dams that can backup water under the shingles.

    If you are looking to keep your home warmer--by having the attic warm up--you might be better off putting more/better/reflective insulation in your ceiling(s) and -- if you have the area/money -- look into adding thermal solar heating (hot water or hot air).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    thanks Bill

    yes that's what i was thinking of was to keep it warmer. But I think i will olny wire it diret like you mentioned, it will be easier without any sensors.

    I have hot water panels for domestic hot and love them, I heat the house with a pellet stove which work great execpt when the temp drops below zero then the furnace has to help out
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: home depot selling solar attic vents?

    attic vetilation is needed somewhat in the winter to facilitate the getting rid of built up moisture or humidity in the air. if enough moisture collects it can cause some damage. most of the time this ventilation is usually done with holes under the eaves and at least one larger vent higher on the roof or at a gable top and that enables a natural flow of air. it doesn't usually need this extra push, but it won't hurt it. for the record we are talking about the air space that is under the roof, but beyond normal living space that does not get heated or cooled during the seasons.
    i for one don't think the fan motor will last long if there's no regulation on the output of the pv as voltages do get high. if you haven't the electronics knowledge or ability the sunsaver controllers do well for this type of application even though there's no battery to charge. it will work straight out up to the voltage setpoint and from there it will regulate it up to its rated current. the lvd, even though on many sunsavers, isn't needed unless there's a battery needing to disconnect because it is low in voltage. an electrolytic capacitor(observing polarity) should be used to smooth out the 300hz pwm regulation. no less than 500mfd per amp, but higher is better and they can be paralleled.
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