Old Attic Fan... what would you do?

grandmumAugust 4, 2013

Moved into old house. Found an old attic fan installed "Leslie Locke Model PT6". The blades were all bent and tangled with the screen in the fans hood. I got the blades to run free though (albiet bent I am sure).

Then noticed there is no on/off switch. There is a thermostat. The motor does turn on and it is LOUD. I wont be using this fan and cant afford to have a new one re-roofed into the house. I think I would have trouble finding replacement blades and motor too.

What would you do?

Wire in a standard switch before the fan or just ditch it all together, disconnect it and leave it in place? Or replace the motor, thermostat and blades with something new and leave the hood in place if that is a possibility?

I already had to screw in hardware cloth along the bottom of the fan as the old inside the hood was all damaged (found some animal hair on it too).

I set the thermostat to turn on at 130 degrees (prefer it to be off), I cant find a manual on/off switch on the thermostat. Im not looking forward to hearing it rev up when my attic gets to 130.

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I just disconnected it for the time being, was my method OK (im totally new to wiring).

House wires (2 black and white)>Cheap plastic attic light>attic fan thermostat box.

The house wiring and the attic fan wiring was capped under the light and then piggybacked (stranded) to the light fixture. I removed the wire nuts and put the house wires (solid) directly onto the screws of the plastic light fixture. I put a yellow wirenut onto each of the attic fan wires and tossed the piggyback. Checked with voltage detector and no power to thermostat on fan and attic light works.

Is putting the solid wires directly onto the screws of the lamp OK or did it need stranded wires piggy backed again?

Also noticed the electrical box and everything was very warm.... surely because the attic is about 120 degrees.... is there anything I should do to assure protection from these elements?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 4:57PM
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I think you did the right thing. All the attic fans I've seen only have thermostats. In my old house, I put a single pole switch in line to give myself a "service shutoff" if I needed to oil the motor, check the blades, etc.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Not sure if your interested but you could install simple timer in place of thermostat and install receptacle at the fan. At Christmas time you can plug lights in along your roof. Also seen outside lights with a motion detector installed, obviously the height off the ground be a factor.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 11:26PM
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I would buy a new fan. I had the motor die on mine this summer. I didn't replace it right away and I noticed how hot the 2nd floor was w/o it. I went to local Grainger(supply house) bought a new one. Made all the difference. Wire a disconnect (switch) before the t-stat to shut down if needed. Simple,basic electrical 101.

Wire the t-stat like a single pole switch,that's all it does. Turns fan on and off.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 2:01AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Be sure the attic fan is equip with both a thermostat and a humidistat.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 9:32AM
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I'd remove it altogether. Attic fans, in many ways, cause more problems, or hide others.

Some real world scenarios I heard about from local remodeling contractor on his radio show include;
1) a gas water heater pilot keeps getting knocked out because the fan keeps pulling in air.
2) The house's cooled/heated air can gets pulled through the light fixtures to get the needed airflow demanded by the fan. Thus your energy money is being wasted.

Nothing is better than a properly vented (passively), and insulated attic.

Keep in mind the link applies to Arizona, so R38 won't help in high elevations, or freezing winter climates.

Here is a link that might be useful: Arizona roofing ventilation

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:06AM
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