Sunday, September 29, 2013

Solar Broiled to Solar Exhausted

Until last Friday the 27th of September, this crawl space acted as a solar broiler for the rest of the house. The sun shown on the metal roof, the metal roof heated up the air to broiling temperature and the air-conditioner cooled the solar heated hot air in the house at no small expense. There was some rigid insulation to slow down the heat but eventually it got to the ceiling underneath and cooked the house just like the broiler element in an oven.

What to do?

Well, get rid of the hot air before it can heat the ceiling of course. There was a passive vent on the northward end of the crawl space but what we really needed was some active exhausting or moving of all that superheated air out of the crawl space.


A fan! Modeled here by Claudia and about to be installed in the southward facing end of the crawl space. Not that this is just any old fan mind you, it is a 20watt fan powered by a photovoltaic panel fixed to the roof directly above it.

Both Claudia and myself just see solar powered 'anything' as a no brainer for Florida weather. In this case, the cost of installing the fan will obviously pay for itself over time because of the reduced power bills for the air conditioner.
'Soft Survivalism' don't have to leave the grid behind entirely in order to get some benefits from solar power.

So here we goooo.
 First we remove the siding. Taking care not to break it...we're going to have to put it back at the finish with a hole big enough for the fan. 

Then cut a hole in the side with a tin snips...just big enough fro the fan after a few modifications. 

Connect the fan to the photovoltaic panel, which you can see on its side directly above the installers head lying on the roof. And yes, from this point forward the poor guy was getting a face full of hot air, directly in the face. He did mention it after getting off the ladder.

Put back the siding with a hole for the fan and vent cover.

Wipe off any smudges and we're done!

Actually, Claudia and I were really glad we took the photos as the work was being done. Otherwise, you wouldn't even know there was a fan in there. It's so quiet, you can't hear it running and it works as long as there is sunlight to power the fan.

One last thought we had is that it is really nice when the company you purchased it from sends their most experienced carpenter...'There's nothing he can't do" was what they told us and he sure seemed to know the job well enough. Not a screw or bolt out of place...just done right the first time.

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