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Beyond a visual inspection and spinning the fan blades to see if they are jammed or not what else do you do?

Should one be making the effort to try and turn them on by adjusting down the thermostat?

If they are not in operation at the time of inspection do you report that and would you recommend that they be evaluated further to determine that they working safely?

These darn things make me nervous if I can't see that they work. I had a case where I had inspected in the winter but when warm weather returned the dam thing jammed up and started smoking and scared the client. Luckliy he was a knowledgeable client and there was a kill switch wired in. He complained and I bought him a new fan to make him happy.

Chris, Oregon

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I don't think any national standard requires the operation of an attic fan if the controls are not readily accessible to the homeowner. We don't operate them and likely wouldn't if we could. Of course our market area lets us off the hook for many things that are weather related: snow on roofs, A/C's during winter, frozen soil, covered sidewalks and drives and sump pumps that will work only in the spring. In lots of ways we have a faster inspection during Nov-Mar than in the spring.

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If I can reach them I just try and spin the blades. 95% of the time, I can't reach them to test them. If the attic is hot (above 95f or so) and they are not working, I simply report that they were not working during the inspection. In the South they have a life span of 3-5 years, after that they can die without any notice.

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Originally posted by Chris Bernhardt

Beyond a visual inspection and spinning the fan blades to see if they are jammed or not what else do you do?

Should one be making the effort to try and turn them on by adjusting down the thermostat?

If I can reach it - and I usually can't - I'll manipulate the stat to turn them on. If I can't, it's no big deal.

If they are not in operation at the time of inspection do you report that and would you recommend that they be evaluated further to determine that they working safely?

So far, I've just said something like, "There's an attic exhaust fan. I can't tell whether it works or not."

These darn things make me nervous if I can't see that they work. I had a case where I had inspected in the winter but when warm weather returned the dam thing jammed up and started smoking and scared the client. Luckliy he was a knowledgeable client and there was a kill switch wired in. He complained and I bought him a new fan to make him happy.

Chris, Oregon

That kind of thing is going to happen now & then. You can't anticipate everything that might break.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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"If I can reach it - and I usually can't - I'll manipulate the stat to turn them on. If I can't, it's no big deal."

Same here. I usually state in the report that it is on a thermostatic control and was not operated. I also generally recommend removal if they are installed in the gable vent. They block the air flow when they are not on (most of the summer and all of the winter) and eventually fail.

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I write "The power vent fan is not running and could not be reached. It is a necessary component in the ventilation system of the home. Typically they have about an eight year life span. Most manufactures specify that they be oiled annually. Since few people perform this maintenance, they have a life that is only slightly longer than their warranty."

Replacement motors can be purchased at Granger for $100. Permanently lubricated ball bearing.

I tell them to install ridge vents.

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I rarely see one more than 2-3 years old that works, they can't stand the heat in Texas. I test them if I can and disclaim them if out of reach or the stat is not adjustable enough to operate. I recommend they be replaced when they fail (and they always do) with wind turbines or ridge vents, no energy needed and last for the life of the roof.

Jim

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"If I can't reach them - - - " A .22 cal sidearm and snakeshot usually move the blades and don't hurt the rafters or sheathing. One or two shots and you got something to write about. Just a little trick I learned.

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Saw a cool one just yesterday.

The dude had a small solar array, maybe 16" x 16" or so on the roof. It was hard wired directly into the gable mounted attic fan.

When I went up there, it was spinning away. Not very fast, mind you. It was only a small amount of DC voltage, but I could feel air moving nicely.

No electricity usage, and the fan only ran when the sun was out! (Remember, this is the northwest - the sun is a luxury!!)

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I love the ones with test buttons. I'd like to see the test buttons required.

I did one job on a fairly new house where the fans were a good 10 - 12 feet up from the ceiling framing, and the contractor had built-in a pair of pretty sturdy 2 x ladders going right up to them. Nice!

Brian G.

Love To See Extra Effort Once in a While [:-thumbu]

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For some reason, the whip is often messed up from the thermostat to the fan. The AC (BX) is stretched out or the connectors have come loose. Maybe it's the vibration.

If I can reach it easily and remember to bring a narrow screw driver, (what's with the the teeney recessed screw control? The kids are going to go up there and mess w/ the temp. setting?), I test them. Some have a dial you can move with your finger. Better idea. Test buttons I have not seen yet.

If an attic is reasonably sealed and insulated from the interior, and has decent passive ventilation through the roof or gables, aren't attic fans just a huge waste of money?

"It is a necessary component in the ventilation system of the home." charlieb wrote.

I don't know about that.

Mike Lamb

Chicago-ish

"My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty.

She's ninety-five now, and we don't know where the hell she is."

Ellen Degeneres

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Originally posted by Neal Lewis

Yeah, what is up with the need for a tiny screwdriver. I have used a screwdriver on the back of the thermostat to temporarily bend the device to activate the fan. I assume this device is some type of bimetal switch.

Enter an attic in the south with no ventilation in the upper portion of the roof.

I do agree. They consume energy. Ridge vents are the way to go and I say so. (that's as far as I go with the rhyme)

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