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The word Solar is the Latin word for Sun and explaining how Solar Energy works really depends on the way it is used and for what purpose.  In basic terms, it is the capturing of  the suns energy, light or heat to be converted into usable or workable energy.

There are 2 ways of converting solar energy into workable energy.

Solar Thermal: Solar Thermal uses the energy from the sun in order to generate heat for water and buildings via solar panels

Photovoltaic: Photovoltaic method converts the suns energy into electricity via DC power.  It is then converted to AC power to be used as electricity

To further explain Solar Energy, visit one of the great resources below:

  • Alternate Energy Sources :  This site is a great resource that explains everything from Solar Energy to Geothermal Energy and everything in between
  • American Solar Energy Society : A 50 year old company that focuses on how all of us can get involved and start thinking differently about Solar Energy
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory : Created by the US Department of Energy, this site focuses on education and research involved in harnessing Solar energy
  • Energy Kids : Created by the US Energy Information Administration, this site is a wonderful website created specifically for teaching children the importance of Renewable Solar Energy.
  • Bill Nye The Science Guy : Always a great resource for children as well as adults, Bill Nye explains in detail about how Solar Energy is used to heat water and buildings, as well as provide electricity to our homes

Many homeowners appreciate the cost savings of a Do it Yourself approach to projects around the house, as well as simply enjoying the work. Those relatively handy with basic tools can certainly install a solar attic fan themselves, in just a few hours maximum. While adding a solar attic fan is easiest when building the home, retrofitting one adds a step or two, but is manageable. It is possible that an existing passive vent will supply the right size hole, or provide a good start.

The Solar Attic Fan should be located between rafters 2-3 feet below the ridge. The fan’s installation manual will diagram the correct hole size to cut into the roofing. A circular saw is a good way to expand an existing hole, especially when a rectangular hole is required. For round holes, a reciprocating saw will do the job. If you have to punch a hole through to get started, use a large diameter hole saw. From there, follow the instructions for quick and easy installation.

While DIY enthusiasts won’t find major challenges to installing a solar attic fan, not everybody has the time or inclination for the job. Many contractors have experience in the work and will do it at pretty reasonable prices. Get a couple of quotes and you’ll be taking great care of your attic very shortly.

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While installing a solar attic fan is not the hardest job in construction, it is absolutely essential that it be done correctly. It must be located properly to insure maximum effectiveness in removing damaging heat and moisture from the attic space. The right tools must be used to make the installation quick and correct, and once the solar attic fan is in place, knowing how to seal the edges to prevent moisture from rain or melting snow from getting into the attic is a must. For these reasons, many homeowners leave installation to a professional contractor.

Most contractors have the expertise and experience to install your solar attic fan in just a few hours, making it affordable to hire a professional to do the job. When you do, you’ll enjoy the confidence that the installation was handled correctly and that your attic’s heat and moisture problems will be eradicated, reducing the risk of structural damage and ruined shingles. Plus, if there are issues with the work, you’ll have a professional to call who will stand behind their work.

While most opt to have their solar attic fan professionally installed, it can done correctly by the homeowner who has the right tools and a bit of handyman know how. DIY enthusiasts who don’t mind working on a roof and possess basic carpentry skills will find the task requires care and precision, but nothing especially difficult.

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Besides the benefits to your home environment that a solar attic fan creates, one nice feature is that they can be installed by a number of different type of contractors.

When building a home or having your existing home re-roofed, the roofers doing the job are the natural choice. They should have experience and the know-how to install any solar attic fan you select and to make sure that it is positioned correctly, well-sealed, and running properly. If your existing home has a roof in good condition that you want to protect, there are other contractors who should be able to manage the installation of your solar attic fan.

A good bet is to call a contractor you’ve had good experience with and ask them if they can do the job, or if not, can make a referral of someone who can.

Most HVAC contractors have experience with solar attic fan installation since they are sometimes installed in conjunction with a central air conditioning unit in order to pull heat out of the attic and make the A/C run more efficiently for energy cost savings.

Electricians may have experience, too, though there is no wiring involved in the solar attic fan. Good electricians diversify their expertise since increasing use of solar energy equipment is reducing reliance on electricity.

For simple affordability, a quality handyman service might offer both excellent installation and the best rates. When calling these various contractors for estimates, ask about their experience installing solar attic fans, and you should be able to determine the right person for the job.

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Discussion of the Pros and Cons of installing a Solar Attic Fan in your home – short video

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