Roofing Tips: Vents and Exhaust Fans
Today, on In the House, Jared and Josh discuss roof ventilation and the different types of interior exhaust fans. Check out their top tips for keeping your cool!
Jared reads a text question from one of our listeners, "Do they make a better grade roof vent for bathroom/kitchen exhaust fans than I can find at a big box store?"
Jared: Yes. First, there is the actual fan itself, which is going to be ceiling mounted - or for the kitchen, it's going to be mounted in a hood. Then there is the vent that is mounted on the roof or a side wall or soffit, which is where that air actually escapes. Now there are different grades of both.
We have found that in roof mounted, soffit mounted, and wall mounted vents - these different shapes allow air to come out differently. Also there are different colors as well as attachment systems that allow the air to actually escape sideways. From a vent level, from where it mounts and actually exhausts out, there are definitely different grades of those, and with the fans themselves as well.
You need to look at a number of different things, like how it's designed and the CFM of the fan (cubic feet per minute). And the big box stores are not necessarily the best places to buy those. I know, Josh, when I remodeled my house a couple of years ago I used a Panasonic that I know that you like as well; they have a really good one called the WhisperRecessed™ fan.
Josh: Right Jared. It's actually a can light with a built in fan. Before, bathroom fans were just a square with a grill over it, and it was a light and a fan. I think they realized that people like the aesthetic of a nice trim ring around a recessed can light. So what they did is they engineered a fan built into that can light. The best part about it is that you can actually do multiple fans and then tie it in with dampers and have it exhaust out. You could have 3 or 4 of them that go out. I remember in your situation, Jared, you used them for your AV closet. Because in the AV closet, when you have the door closed, you generate a lot of heat. And they retrofit... what was it, a thermostat, right?
Jared: Yea, what it was is that in my media closet I have speakers that go throughout the house and I also wanted audio outside. So I have a control system for lighting and for different things. With my media closet we put a bunch of the whisper fans in there. It's a small closet so there wasn't enough space to have a fan and a light, so this was perfect because it was a combo. They didn't make a thermostat for it, so we made a separate thermostat, and that that way we could either turn it on and off as we needed, or when the temperature got to a certain temperature electricity would go to the fan, the fan turned on and it would exhaust all the heat out of the media closet.
Josh: That's the way to go too when you're doing custom stuff. I know Jared's home is gorgeous, it's a really custom look. When you think that through and you go, "Okay I want to get all my AV stuff and shove it in a closet and have it out of sight," you've got think, "What am I going to do with the heat?" A lot of people will just put a grill on the door, and then let room air go in and out, but that's unsightly. If you put a fan in there and then have a half-inch gap under the door, that fan is at the ceiling, draws the heat up and out and then cold air, room air, goes under the door up into the closet.
Jared: Yea, but a lot of the problem with the grills on the doors of the media closet is often they will put them low because it's not as visible that way. Well, heat rises, so what happens is you have this huge heat area at the top. Air comes in the bottom but hot air will only escape at the same rate as cool air will come in. In general I like active ventilation. I like to actually pull the hot air out as opposed to have it naturally dissipate.
Plus, I don't want to heat up the house; with my recessed fan lights the hot air just goes directly from the closet exhaust and right out of the house. And my air conditioner doesn't have to work harder as a result; so in general, I prefer active ventilation. Thanks for the text question; I hope this was helpful.
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