13 July 2009

My Easy Attic Fan Installation

photo of attic fanWell, this past weekend, I completed the installation of our new attic fan and the fan's shutter. It is now completely installed and working like a charm. My original intent was to write a step-by-step instruction guide to installing an attic fan, but my stab at it became such a comedy of errors, that I think I'll forgo that article and just give you a few suggestions instead. Besides, the fan and shutter come with great instructions, so if you follow those, you should be okay.

Firstly, if you decide to tackle a project like this, be sure to have the RIGHT tools for the job. Unfortunately, I didn't and it made the job twice as hard and took much longer than necessary. Be sure you build yourself some sort of platform on which to work. I took some scrap pieces of board and attached them between the floor joists; this allowed me a place to sit and kneel (standing was out of the question). Also, it might be a good idea to take a yoga class to get used to contorting your body in unnatural positions. Next, be sure you have enough light up in the attic. I only had one light up there, so I figured I was fine...wrong! You need to be able to see clearly to make sure your measurements are accurate and you are cutting along the correct line. (Do you see a pattern developing)? If you are using safety glasses while sawing, be sure you can actually see out of them. Mine fogged-up and I was not able to see where to cut (I eventually threw them out the hole). Make sure you have a terrific mate (my wife stayed in the garage the entire time...she is the best), to get you through those times of desperation and despair. Finally, have plenty of cold water awaiting you when you come down (the fires of Hell just might reside in your attic, in the summer anyway!).

As I may have stated before, I am no carpenter and this debacle has just reinforced that claim. I figured that if everything went smoothly (yeah, right), it would only take me a one or two hours to install the thing and then I could relax in the glow of adoration from my loving wife. Instead, it took my 1 ½ hours just to cut the stupid hole. When I came down, it looked as if I had just climbed out of a swimming pool; my clothes and hair were soaked. Back up again, to tackle the framing portion; thankful that I at least have a cool breeze from the perfectly cut hole. Luckily, I had at least had the foresight to pre-cut all the studs, so that part went a little quicker. I just didn't have the foresight to re-check my measurements, because I was off by a maddening ½ inch. ( I swear, Murphy is haunting our attic). After 5 hours of this mess and countless trips across the attic and down the ladder, I decided to leave the shutter installation for the next day.

Since the person who designed our home decided to have a second roof jutting-out just below the place I had to work, I had to crawl on that and do the entire installation laying on my side on a narrow roof. Anyway, to skip my 2 hour stint on this tiny roof, all I have to say is: I'm glad they invented trim to cover my mistakes.

The actual connection of the wires went rather smoothly, but I do have to admit that fishing the wires was a little tricky at times. Lastly, apart from having to track down and repair a short, which happened to be in the fan's thermostat, the fan is working wonderfully. I can already feel a vast difference in how the house feels. Was it worth all the trouble? Yup! Would I do it again? Nope!

In case your wondering, here is a photo of the fan I installed...

photo of attic fan

Broan-NuTone 353 1140 Cfm Gable-Mounted Powered Attic Ventilators

Now, back to the berm...


  1. I'm truly sure you will be glad you went to all this trouble. I'm still laughing though - it's just the same when David says "This will just take an hour". Been there done that. Brilliantly described, I felt for you!

  2. Well, at least you got it done. Congratulations!

  3. Okay, I know you couldn't hear me but I'm going to apologize for chuckling anyway! At least you are finished and you certainly have proven that you always do what you say you're going to do. I'm not so sure that we'd have a permanent hole in our attic if we did a project like that here! Hope you took your wife out after all that work! :D

  4. Jan from BetterSpines: Thank you very much. Yes, I am very familiar with that saying. I'm just glad that it is finally finished:)

    Petula: Thank you;)

    BeadedTail: I don't mind, I wrote it so that people could get a kick out of my inexperience. As for the hole, I guess I should explain that the photo was taken while the fan was running, so the shutters were open. When the fan is off, the shutters close, so nothing can get inside.


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