What I'm Seeing Now

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The Three Amigos

THIS BLOG IS ABSOLUTELY TONGUE IN CHEEK AND TO BE JUST A HAIR SARCASTIC.  JUST SO'S YOU KNOW'S...

When installing attic fans, there are some things that are important.  Let's call these The Three Amigos.

1.  Thinking outside the box
2.  Position
3.  Consistency
4.  Professionalism

In order to improve ventilation in attic spaces, many people choose the old and reliable attic fan.  They are thermostatically controlled and can be set to come on and turn off automatically.  The factory usually sets the thermostat to turn on the fan at about 110F.  It will turn itself off when the temperature reaches 100F.

This house is a very long, one-level ranch.

The attic space was very hot.

There is a small gable vent at each end.  The one gable vent is visible here.

This savvy homeowner installed the first attic fan many decades ago.

Okay, it may have been done before the popular thermostat, and it may be half of an interior fan, not exactly intended to be used in the attic space, but I said "savvy," and I mean savvy!  And in case you missed this in the first photo, here is a close up of the savvy wiring.

Thinking out of the box, and actually WIRING OUT OF THE BOX!, this savvy installer professionally thought to keep the wiring connections cool by putting them in front of the fan so that air can be drawn over them, cooling them as they work!

Notice how this fan is positioned a on the second truss rafter BEFORE the gable vent.  That's a good four feet!  Okay, the air isn't efficiently exactly blown out of the vent opening, but this savvy installer was just getting started.

Since this is such a long house, and therefore a long and very hot attic space, a couple more fans were installed.

This is where the consistency comes in!

Notice the same wiring philosophy!

These consistent connections are cooled simply and wonderfully in the air that flows from gable vent to fan!  And both fans!

And, again, thinking out of the box, the savvy installer did not overload any circuit with any connection!

The first fan's electrical power came from the bathroom vent nearby!  The second, on the left above, came from the light in the hallway ceiling below.  And the third, on the right above, from a pot light in the kitchen ceiling.  I finally found it by moving the insulation away to verify this outstanding connection.

In contrast to the fan wiring and keeping it cool, apparently the connection with the kitchen light needed to be kept warm.  Professionalism at its best, and knowing what to do and when.

And, well, these three amigos were so rusted they didn't actually turn, but when they are all operating I bet the ventilation in this attic space really kicks up the dust!

My recommendation:  when you see something so out of the box as this, demonstrating such incredible consistency and professionalism, it is important to write about it, shouting, as it were, from under the roof tops!  This electrician should be positioned in the "Who's Who" of electricians!  Or maybe the anti "Who's Who"...

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 18 commentsJay Markanich • April 26 2012 03:42AM

Comments

I'm thinking of another comedic trio, the three stooges. I've heard attic fans should be set to 80 - 90 degrees. Personally I think all attic fans are junk and should never be used in lieu of a good passive venting system. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Soffit and ridge is definitely the way to go Jim, I agree.  But in the "olden" days, attic fans were really popular.  It is amazing how many I still see installed on brand new construction!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago
Great blog and great job. Keep up the good work and good luck to you this year. Thanks
Posted by JOSH EVANS *JoshEvansHomes 516-655-5000 (Village Properties of Mineola, LLC) over 6 years ago

Good morning, Jay. What's a few dangling wires? Why do you think they invented wire nuts? It was for nut jobs such as this!!!

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Thanks Josh, as always.

Michael - you have to admire the inventiveness and consistency.  And keeping connections cool is important, right?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

FANtastic blog that left me electrified as I looked forward to the shocking conclusion that I knew would keep me in stitches.

Posted by Mark Loewenberg, KW 561-214-0370 (KW of the Palm Beaches) over 6 years ago

Jay,  It seems NorVa is occupied by some extremely inventive people.  You'll never run out of blog topics as long as you're inspecting :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Jay, some people think that air will go where it is supposed to if you just point it in the right direction.  I am doing plans for a carport enclosure.  When I went to the house yesterday there was a fan in the lid of the carport.  The fan blows into the attic and is on the west end of the house.  Guess what happens to his electric bill when the fan is on.

Posted by Loren Green, Phoenix Home Inspector & Designer (Greens Home Design L.L.C.) over 6 years ago

Hmmmm...sometimes I think that no professional was involved here.  But come on!  Even an average Joe homeowner should know that their approach is not a good one.  Yikes!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 6 years ago

Jay -- as you pointed out - he is very consistent, and consistency can be a good thing.  It is too bad that he was consistently WRONG.

 

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 6 years ago

Glad you liked it Mark, and that it inspired so much double entendre!

Bliz - I am going to suspect this inventiveness is everywhere!

He's saving big, big bucks Loren?

Kathryn - if one is good, three must be FANtastic.

Steven - very consistent.  Remarkably.  Importantly.  And very artistic too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Morning Jay not bragging but I've been around the block more times than I want to admit.  Now I have never seen anything like that.  Have a great day

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 6 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Definitely an electrical "how-to...NOT!"  Obviously the installer thought how he/she installed these fans was correct, as it was done over and over.  Thanks, I needed a good laugh this morning!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

Well, James, c'mon to northern Virginia!  You will see this sort of thing more than you care to!

Lisa - glad you laughed!  This must have been done some time ago, because they were all rusted!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Hopefully this "expert" has retired!

Enjoy your weekend!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

Or was retired, Lisa, when he licked one of the connections to see if they were hot...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, this post brings back many memories for me. When I was a kid many many years ago we lived in one of those long ranch homes with vents in each end. There was no such thing as an attic fan. My father in all his wisdom decided to put a regular floor fan at one of the vents. My job every day was to pull down the disappearing stairway in the morning and at bedtime and go to the attic to turn the fan on and off. Those were the days.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) over 6 years ago

Tom - your dad was way ahead of his time!  If only he could have come up with some form of thermostat and saved you all that up and down!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

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