The latest on solar roof ventilation within older New Zealand homes.
Older New Zealand homes, particularly wooden villas and bungalows, often don’t have effective roof cavity ventilation. This can mean a home that’s unbearably hot in summer and an attic that gets too warm for safe storage. When our glorious villas and bungalows were built, more than 100 years ago, they didn’t have insulation. While this meant an uncomfortably cold home in winter, it also meant a cooler home in summer because heat that built up in the roof space during the day could escape more easily. It wasn’t trapped by a thick layer of insulation. A passive room ventilation window with wooden louvres, usually part of the home’s design, was enough to keep the attic temperature reasonable on hot summer nights.
Now that nearly all villas and bungalows have ceiling insulation, passive attic ventilation isn’t enough to dispel excessive roof-space heat and make the home comfortable for sleeping. As you’re lying in bed at night, you can feel the heat seeping down through the ceiling and walls of your home. It’s not unlike being a slow-cook dish in a low oven. If you have air-conditioning you’ll stay cool, but your power bill will make you hot under the collar. And if you run a ceiling or floor-standing fan, you’re just moving the warm air around. The problem of an over-hot attic is even worse if you use the space for storage. Maybe you have a pull-down staircase that leads up to an attic room full of boxes of old photographs, unused artworks, books and sports gear. All of this stuff suffers at high temperatures.
A quick and easy solution to high attic temperatures in summer is to have a solar attic fan fitted, such as the Solar Star Roof Fan. During the day, even when it’s cloudy, the solar-powered fan spins rapidly to extract hot air from the attic. The hotter and sunnier it gets, the faster the fan rotates. All-day the fan is busy extracting hot air from your roof space, so that when the sun goes down your attic space is not like the atmosphere of Venus (hot and steamy). In the bedrooms and living spaces below, the temperature will be noticeably cooler because your home is no longer wearing a hot hat of super-warmed air. If you’re worried about losing heat in winter, you also have a thermal switch fitted to your attic ventilation system. It will ensure the fan stops when your attic space gets below 18°C.
Another way to ventilate your attic or roof space is to have a roof ridge vent installed. However, we don’t believe this is a viable option. Apart from costing much more than a solar-powered roof vent, because it means removing part of your roof cladding, it’s a passive system, i.e. there’s no fan involved. The extraction power of a solar-powered fan really keeps the air moving in your attic space, so that it stays cooler and drier.
Whether your roof cladding is classic corrugated iron, lightweight steel roof tiles or concrete tiles, a solar roof vent like the Solar Star Roof Fan is quick and easy for a qualified installer to install.
When you have a solar-powered roof fan installed to ventilate your roof space, your attic suddenly becomes a viable storage solution. With a few sheets of construction ply, you can create a floor and with the help of Hometech, you can have attic stairs for easy access.
If you’re curious about the Solar Star Roof Fan and/or the installation of attic stairs, get in touch with us. We’ll visit your home and take a look for no charge.
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