The midday heat of a New Orleans summer can be sweltering -- outside and inside your home. Though costly, air-conditioning units come in handy when sunlight beams directly on the roof, heating attics and bringing insulated homes to a boiling point. But there may be a cheaper and greener alternative for keeping your home breezy by using a different type of cooling system.
Solar Dynamics, Inc. offers the SuperCyclone Solar Ventilator series, solar-powered fans that cool your home from the attic down, providing an eco-friendly way to save money on air-conditioning bills, says Tony Schiro of esulation, a local company that sells Solar Dynamics fans.
"When you've got heat in the attic and it's warming the fiberglass insulation blanket on your ceiling, that heat comes down on you," Schiro says. "We're stopping the heat buildup in the attic, which can stop it in your house.
It's like standing in the sun on a cool day. You feel warmer in the sun than you do in the shade. My job is to put your house in the shade so you feel cooler all day long."
Schiro says the 20-watt fans save his customers between 20 percent and 30 percent on air-conditioning costs. Venting up to 1,275 cubic feet per minute of heat all day long, the fans keep the attic at cooler ambient temperatures. Consumers who purchase these fans may qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit for energy-efficient homes.
The series offers fans for sloped, low-profile roofs, curb-mount installations for higher-profile or low-slope roofs, gable mounts to attach behind an existing attic gable vent, turbine mounts and remote mounts. Complete with a 25-year warranty and a five-year motor warranty, customers can rest easy, Schiro says. "We guarantee the performance of the fan," he says. "If the fan loses 5 percent of its power in 25 years, we will pay for another one."
For consumers worried about the durability of the fans during hurricane season, Solar Dynamics guarantees a wind speed resistance of 140 mph on many models in the series.
A fan also is valuable in the winter, Schiro says, because it can dehumidify, which is key to preventing mold and mildew. By removing moisture caused by air from a heated house hitting a cold attic, a fan can stop mold buildup. It also helps hold heat in the house, which can cut heating bills.
"If humidity is in your attic in the winter because there's no ventilation, the heat's going to escape from your house faster," he says. "So in the wintertime (the fan) is helping hold the heat in the house, because it's keeping the humidity out of that fiberglass."
Schiro says Solar Dynamics fans provide better performance consistency than other solar fans. "As far as my knowledge goes, we are the only fan on the market that will keep the attic at ambient temperature," he says. "We manufacture the solar panel to pretty strict standards, and the panel is guaranteed to perform."