How To Install Solar Attic Fan: In 5 EASY Steps

BFP HowToInstallSolarAtticFan

Solar-powered attic fans help cool down your attic or any upstairs room in your home. These fans work by pulling the heated air out of rooms and replacing it with cooler air, all without putting a strain on your utility bill and helping to protect your home from future damages.

The good news is that installing a solar attic fan only requires a few simple steps, so you can start reaping the benefits right away.

What You’ll Need

  • Ladder
  • Power Drill
  • Reciprocal saw
  • Roofing knife
  • Pry bar
  • Wrench
  • Hammer
  • Caulking gun
  • Chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Various hardware depending on your solar fan setup

Step 1: Choose a good location – Our #1 rule for how to install a solar attic fan

You should already know that a south or southwest-facing spot is the best place to install a solar panel. When you’re deciding how to install a solar attic fan, you’ll also want to consider other location factors, such as placing it about two feet from the peak of the roof. In most cases, this is the most energy-efficient way for how to cool your attic (1).

Ventilation is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings.

In addition, if you plan to install multiple solar-powered attic fans, space them as far apart as possible to enhance the air circulation in your attic space. This way, you’ll get the most out of your machines.

Step 2: Measure carefully

Measuring has its own step because this is the most crucial part of installing a solar attic fan. For new fan installations, find your ideal location inside the house. Once you measure the perfect spot, you can drive a screw through the location from inside. 

Then, you’ll have a screw point marking the center of the spot where you need to start working on the roof. 

Once your marker screw is in place, it’s time to measure the solar fan and create a template. You can use this template to pick the exact location for the fan and mark it out with chalk.

Step 3: Prep your installation spot

If you’re placing a fan in a new spot, prep will involve cutting a hole in the roof. You can do this (carefully) with a reciprocal saw. 

Cutting a hole in your roof can feel intimidating, so measuring properly and taking your time is a must.

In some cases, you’ll be replacing an existing vent and installing your solar-powered attic fan in its place. In that case, your next step is removing the old vent, and you can usually manage this with a pry bar. Then, you’ll need to carefully measure the existing space to determine whether your new solar fan will fit without modifications. 

Step 4: Make space for flashing

Loosening the shingles or other roofing material around the installation point leaves room for the flashing to fit in. This is a necessary step whether you’re replacing a vent or creating a hole for a new fan. You might need to remove roofing nails to allow the flashing to slide underneath the top layer of roof material.

Three Solar Attic Fans Installed On A Roof

Step 5: Place the fan

Here you’ll slide your new solar-powered attic fan into place, then adjust it per the manufacturer guidelines.

For some fans, this involves swiveling the solar panel to the perfect angle for maximum energy absorption.

Then, you’ll add caulking, secure the fan with the accompanying hardware, and replace any disturbed shingles. Make sure to read your user manual to determine whether your fan is auto-on (and turn any settings on or off as preferred), and make any other tweaks before climbing down from the roof.

It’s important to keep in mind how attic fans work to determine panel placement (2).

Attic fans are intended to cool hot attics by drawing in cooler outside air from attic vents (soffit and gable) and pushing hot air to the outside.

Most solar attic fans have adjustable settings for ideal attic temperatures and humidity, but you’ll still have to ascend the roof again to make changes later.

To wrap all this up, for those who are more visual learners, check out this great video by Power Home summarizing how to install solar attic fan:

Now you have everything you need to create a happy attic!


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  1. Ventilation Systems for Cooling. Retrieved from:
  2. About Attic Ventilation. Retrieved from: