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    • I’ve have always been facinated by solar. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 watts of power per square foot hit the ground.

      The above article is interesting in the sheer amount of available power the sun sends us for free.

      What I would like to discuss is the science of what I have devoted my life to and what your thoughts and ideas on it are.

      So I will start out with the basics. Any structure traps heat and moisture. Some insulated some not. (Sheds, foundations, outdoor garages) Air is not only a natural cleanser. (Think clothesline) The movement of air is something we live with daily. We get up and turn a fan on to shower. We turn a fan on to cook our bacon. We hop in our car and turn on a fan. We get to work and all around us from our computers to how our temperature is regulated is controlled by fans.

      You can see where I am heading with this. Now lets talk about moisture heat and health. If you look up litigation stats you will find that a larger percentage of litigation is water related. In fact I believe it is the largest. This would include damage but also health concerns such as mold mildew rot and damage to interior and exterior of ALL structures.

      Let me paint a picture for you of one of the things I did not understand as a child. I grew up in Washington state, heat was not a big deal to us. But when it did get hot it was just like anyplace else on come the fans and we aren’t sleeping so good. Here’s what I couldn’t figure out. It was hot all day and now it is evening. I have the doors open. I have the windows open. It has cooled down considerably. Why is it still so hot inside. What I know now that I didn’t know then was that buildings load up on heat during the day and store it. It then unloads slowly as the evening progresses and by morning we are back to a cool home. What if there was a way to keep that heat unloaded all day so that it could cool faster and in the case of air conditioning cheaper by removing the heat as it builds up?

      Then there is one more factor. Buildings are insulated and I’m going to talk about how that is affected by moisure. 3% Moisture in insulation drops it effective R Value but some astronomical number. I’ve heard 57 to 67% that’s a crazy loss of insulative power. But more about moisture later.

      Insulation can only hold or separate so much heat from a space. It does what I call LOAD UP. When it loads up to a certain point it begins transferring that heat into living space if we are speaking about an attic to home application. What if we could keep that insulation from loading up and slow the process of heat transfer?

      Now what if we could trick the sun into removing it’s own heat?

    • There are lots of spaces we can talk about. From a tin hut in a hot third world country to a container in the dusty city of Pahrump Nevada. All spaces benefit from fresh cleansing air. Why do I say cleansing? What does the ocean do with the tides? It washes cleans and scrubs the water. The water and air that surround us give us a beautiful clean earth to live in. There are cleansing rains, tides and the movement of winds. Fresh mountain air with a hint of pine, cedar or fir smell is a beautiful thing. (Yes humans are dirty) My old motorcycle buddy used to tell me if he had something dank and smelly he would just leave it outside for a few days and the air would naturally cleanse it. No Way! So I started exploring it myself. Sure enough. Hang an old stinky wool blanket in the fresh air and in time is will smell like a pillowcase coming off the clothesline. So I think we can safely say that air and water are natural cleansers. I have a friend that sells containers. He puts two of them side by side one with a small solar powered fan and one without. Guess which one smells fresh and which one the customer chooses everytime? So even the smallest amount of fresh clean air makes that space better. We all live in something. We all have a space above our heads that separates us from the outside world. This is one of the areas, I have devoted my life to. This is one of the areas I’d like to hear your input and ideas on. Given a choice would I like that space above my head to be dank moldy, unhealthy, moist hot or would I like it to be fresh and energy saving? I ask that because most people have never given it a second thought.

      There is a long list of reasons why we should pay attention to that space just the same as we would like our garden shed to be free of garden chemical smell. Or we would like our garage or toy shed to be free of oil and other smells and potentially unhealthy air conditions.

      Next I’m going to get into some monetary benefits and how it gets done right. What the future of Solar Venting looks like. It’s not glamorous like an MacBook or a Flying car or even a drone. But guess what? They are using small fans and in many cases multiples of small fans to do large jobs. Who knew small little solar powered motors could do such large jobs.

    • Before I get to how it should be done why there is only one way to do it correctly and what the future looks like let’s talk about some benefits, That way we can see why.

      Let’s start with health. Mold spores are seeds. They grow mold. They are like any other seed they require moisture to germinate. I’m not going to insult your intelligence with why mold is bad. We know it is bad. We also know if we remove the conditions for growth it will not grow.

      As a roofing professional I’ve inspected hundreds of attics and just like understanding why my house didn’t cool down as a child I always wondered what the black stains on the underside of the plywood were. They were not mold. They were dead mold or dormant mold. So ok technically it might be mold but it wasn’t standing out to me at that time as dangerous. What I now know it that it was previous mold growth that had died out when summer heat kllled it. That means that winter moisture caused it to grow and summer heat killed it.

      What needed to be done was prevent it from ever happening. Using solar power in a balanced uniform manner to remove moisture by moving air prevents this from happening. It will simply not allow mold spores that naturally find themselves in your attic or other areas to grow.

      Tons of ways moisture gets into these spaces. I don’t need to name them all, they are many. I will talk about one and the most insidious one. I call it the beer can effect. Every part of our country has winter. Even here in Arizona we have a morning dew point. Dew point sitting on insulation causes insulation to tamp down. That’s why you start out with two feet of insulation and ten years later you have one foot. (Yes there are other factors but this is the big one.)

      Ok so beercan effect. Pull a beer can out of the fridge and what do you get on the outside of the can? Moisture! Where did it come from? Inside the can? Nope. So warm air leaves living space. Transference. You also already have venting on most of your homes so you have two things mandated by all building and manufacturers codes. Intake and exhaust. Attics are supposed to have air moving thru them. This movement is caused by the hot air ballon heat rising or technically convention. On days where there is not enough hot air moving from eve intake to ridge exhaust we have stagnant unmoving air. Hence any warmth that has transferred from living space will now hit the underside of cold roof decking and whammy. Condensation. Beer can effect. I personally have seen it literally raining inside attics when these conditions occur. Raining to the point where customers have called me and thought they had actual roof leaks. Plywood warpage, structural damage, mold growth.

      Using the “power of the sun” to move this moist air when convection is not working is the solution to this problem. Next I’m going to talk about other benefits and on to how it gets done properly. Then what the future will look like.

    • I’d like to take a side road for just a quick second. I’m going to talk about the past versus the future. The old way of thinking was to add a large solar vent to your area you wanted to remove heat and moisture from. Large meaning lots of volume and large in size. There is one person on planet earth that began thinking differently many years ago. Me. Part of my mission is to show and prove why the old way of thinking was wrong and why my way is the proper way and the future.

      So just a few things to think about while you decide if you agree with me or them.

      I do not circumvent building codes or manufactures warranties. They do. I work with existing vents already being installed by roofing professionals. They don’t. I do not leave unvented areas or what I call hotspots. They do. I balance the venting and do it in a uniform manner. The do not. I do not create a situation where a nearby vent that should be naturally venting convectively is potentially used as an intake for their fans. I don’t. (This is a big one). I say that a hurricane inside your attic of air is a bad thing. They do. I say that solar assisting existing venting is the proper way to it. I want to keep the aesthetics or curb appeal of a roof looking good. Home value-resale value. Think Whirly Bird. They don’t care about aesthetics. They want to use moisture and heat sensors to determine when they turn on. I want mine to work whenever the sun is there to power them. Theirs do not work on most cloudy days mine do.

      I say that the use of several small solar powered fans that will someday very soon be charged during the day and battery backed up into the night working longer hours to provide further benefit is the future, They do not.

      I realize this is a little spammy but you need to know this so you can determine if you agree or disagree with me. This discussion is coming from a lifetime of experience not from scientific data. I have begun an entire industry from scratch that had already entrenched itself in preconceived truths. So when you read my They don’t like me. lol So much of what I am espousing is not like building an I-phone. It is centered around the best possible solution to real problems. I’ll continue on with benefits next.

    • Hmmm, I didn't realize moisture would condense on the inside of an attic from the roof cooling down and getting a beer can effect. Is venting really the best way to solve that or is a layer of insulation between roof and attic more effective? When you put a layer of insulation around your beer can, doesn't it stop condensation on the outside?

      Not that I'm arguing against venting, air circulation feels critical, but you'd think stopping condensation before it can begin is even more effective than evaporating it once it does.

    • I love Cake!

      I’ll change your words of one sentence just a tad. I call it cold decking. Think of a chilly SanFran morning when you temp turned up to 72. Warm air from transference meets cold decking. This is more prevalent in areas of the country where temperatures drop below freezing. A 15 degree Feb day in Washington State will cause this condensation every single time. You the homeowner never see it. Out of sight out of mind. I’m trying to tell people that their entire structure needs to be thought of, not just what they see.

      There’s many factors when we talk about homes. Position to the sun, which way does the house face. Overhanging trees. Shade from surrounding buildings prevailing winds. Seasonal changes that vary from region to region. That’s why it’s so hard to model this and why no one has taken it to the level of a science. I simply have devoted my life to it. When I do develop data is when government housing and places like military baracks and tents will begin to listen. It will be the future.

      Your question about insulation has good timing. Many homes have blown in foam insulation. Blown directly on the underside of the decking. Yet they still ventilate. Because just living and breathing in a house creates moisture that needs to be removed. It makes sense that if you put an insulation on a beer can it will stop the condensation. Because it is stopping the cold from reaching the hot and vice versa is what we are talking about. Stopping the hot from reaching the cold.

      Last week a guy called me from Newport News Virginia. He did exactly as you say. From a practical sense it makes perfect sense. But he had done exactly that and he had interior damage occurring from moisture. He thought exactly the same thing you did and it didn’t work. He had an open beam style of construction and his interior wood was being damaged by moisture. It was actually trapping the moisture. So he had his roofer out and they came up with a plan that I think is smart and that will work. He has good intake vents. He is now going to build a curb and install a ridgevent. For those that don’t know it is where we cut open the ridge and ventilate the entire ridge. Then he is going to move the air with solar fans. I just received a patent on the first in the world solar powered ridge vent. Not sure what that means and it cost me a ton but it’s another way of using modern venting techniques and solar powering them with multiple fans. I hear you talking about cooling Computor chips and it fascinates me.

      Here is a pic of the guys addition. He told me his open beam expensive beautiful wood is warping and he sees moisture in the can lights. We are going to use the power of the sun to solve his problem. Enlarge the pic if you want and I think you can see the solid core insulation on the other side of the beam he has installed.

    • Here’s a great video that helps answer Chris’s question. I think you will find it dovetails closely with what I have already said.

      This combined with Solar Venting will be the future of how your home is vented

      I’m going to talk about the monetary benefits of solar venting next. This means real money in your pockets..

    • Here was a solution to this couples moisture problem. The guy opened up the ridge. Built a curb and put on a ridgevent. One of his problems was a jacuzzi inside. You can see the open areas on both sides of the beam. He thought he could use a dehumidifier. It caused a reverse pressure that he believes contributed to the problem. Now he has the sun powering fans that will move air as long as he has sunlight.

    • Very clever technique -- little solar powered fans on the ridge beam. Seems like the CFM would be fairly limited due to the small radius of the blades.

      I wonder though, wouldn't as single attic fan achieve the same effect if the roof is vented the same? If you add positive pressure anywhere in the attic, the air will escape through the ridge vents.

    • Thanks Kevin. It’s really about uniformity and balance. I call it scrubbing. Leave no area unscrubbed. Local codes and manufactures codes mandate venting standards so adding another device is outside those codes an in some cases large volume fans can rob from the code mandated system. They can even pull say smoke from a neighbors fire inside attic space thru code mandated vents. (There are many examples of this some harmful like heating exhaust)

      What I said some years ago was that I didn’t want to re-invent the wheel I just wanted it to work better. I wasn’t smart enough. I was having warranty problems that were being blamed on me that were not my fault. So I said I’m not going to mess with the passive convective system I was going to Solar Activate the existing science.

      Take a look at this picture, this is why I started doing what I do. What you see is cold decking. Then you clearly see plywood seams. The reason you see them is moisture has gotten to them and started buckling the asphalt felt from underneath. This is moisture trying to escape at these seams. Then you see the plywood. (Likely OSB board) warping at the trusses. Look up at the whirly bird vent. Not a code mandated vent. This repair is well into over ten thousand dollars and likely over double that. Not to mention mold remediation that on an average home is over 10k. If several small solar powered fans located properly on this hip roof were installed to code this would not have happened.

      When installed to code small fans scrub heat and moisture uniformly removing air in its entirety out of an attic about 9 times per hour. Not only that they have improved to the point where at 50k hours of rating time that’s 9 hours per day for 15 years. (50k rated two ball bearing 39 cfm 2700 rpm high speed) Large attic fans move much more air. I believe they will soon become dinosaurs of the past. I do however believe they will serve some purposes.

      Love the discussion thanks!

      See what you think of this.

    • Here’s some montetary benefits finally! Let’s talk about peace of mind first. I’m a toilet seat down kind of guy. I want stuff functioning the way it is supposed to and I want it to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. I personally hate clutter. It drives me nuts! So for me attic ventilation is like putting the toilet seat down. It is just the right way to do things. Fresh outside air moving thru that space is not only the way the building is designed and mandated by manufactures and code. It also offers me the peace of mind that I’m doing things the right way and best I can within my means. Solar Venting is not expensive in the long term as I will explain.

      The removal of heat and moisture will do many things to keep more money in your pocket. For me first and formost it will eliminate the need for health concerns. Mold can be expensive and dangerous. Solar venting eliminates this risk. Insulation is expensive and I would rather not deal with hiring someone to come spray additional insulation in my home every ten years. Solar Venting keeps insulation lofted by removing the moisture that tamps it down. Lofted insulation is your only barrier between the outside world and your living space. Maintaining this is prudent. Wood rots from the outside if left unprotected. The main cause of wood rot is moisture. How many of you know that wood can rot with heat also? Yes! Almost every re-roof job done here in Phoenix has wood rot of some kind. Heat can turn 2x4s to dust. As a roofing contractor almost every home I roofed had some type of wood rot that created additional expense for the homeowner. Solar Venting stops this risk to your home dead in its tracks. Roofs are destroyed by heat and UV moisture from underneath and UV from the top. Recovering a roof in my world is a big no no. I call it burying your trash. Composition roofs are an organic material. When a recover occurs we have buried an organic material that begins rotting the minute it is installed. Heat and moisture will be the cause of your expensive roof replacement. That’s why roofs almost always show their first sign of wearing out on the south and west sides. Removing this risk by Solar Venting can be a huge pocketbook savings by extending the life of your roof by eliminating the two most prolific wear out factors. Heat and moisture.

      I’ll get to the real savings next. Not just the science of Solar Venting but the real monetary savings that are the reason that it is the way of the future. Even the government is beginning to understand this. They offer tax credits that include labor and material for Solar Venting.

      Our power went out at night for several hours last week. The first thing I did was get a battery powered fan to cool my wife, wiener dog and I in our bedroom.

      We use fans for so many things in our daily lives. The uses for solar powered fans will only increase as the future unfolds. Small solar powered fans will be on every home in America soon protecting that space that was for so long ignored.

    • I have a one story 24 x 30 pole barn that sits closed for weeks, months at a time in central Indiana with summer temps in the 90s and humidities in the 90%, that I am interested in venting with a solar powered fan - can you suggest a size and an estimated cost as well as a vendor?

      The barn is kept closed to keep birds and other vermin out - I love birds, and feed them in my back yard, but in my barn they can make a real white mess on the surface of vehicles and vehicle roofs, as well as the cement floor (DAMHIK ), so birds are very unwelcome in my barn.

      I think with a modest air flow the temp would be lower during the day as well with a modest fan. I do have electric power, so solar is not required, but I like the simplicity of fabricating and forgetting.

    • Send me a pic of the barn or post it up here if you can and I will recommend a system. I like what you said about modest. It’s not about creating and inside windstorm. It’s about uniformly replenishing fresh air allowing the structure to breathe. A google earth screenshot will work also.

      Here’s a pic of a poorly vented attic, this is OSB board.

    • West facing side of barn - the barn is symmetrical with sliding doors on the west AND east side of the barn, allowing one to drive through and drop off a trailer, rather than having to back in as the barn's driveways come from the south, not east or west, and are fairly long in a north south direction. It sits in the sun almost from sun up to sun down. No sinking alsphalt as the roof is green metal, matching my house and my larger barn

    • Good looking barn!

      Ideally you want your intake low for a solar system. Cool air intake, hot air exhaust. You have gable vents which are wind driven vents. Meaning they clear air out when the wind is blowing from either end pushing the air out the other end. This works fine for a solar venting system but it/the solar fans pull air from the gable vents as intake. It does work as a convective system but barely. Without the wind blowing you likely have very little air movement in your barn.

      I believe your ridge looks like the ridge in the pic below. Removing the ridge is easy (battery operated screw gun) and installing the metal ridge solar venting system takes about an hour total. 2 to 3 units would be ideal. It requires no holes to be cut in the roof itself. You simply cut open the felt covering the ridge and hang a fan platform in the opening. Although the fan is modest it does big work.

      This is a product I invented and there is no comparables yet but I can assure you the difference it makes to your structure and contents will be amazing.

    • Thank you for your prompt answer - I can understand bringing in air from low in the building and exhausting it near the ridge line to help air exchange within the building. That would require a new vent somewhere on one of the walls, but that is possible as the walls are uninsulted metl panels.

      I am quite concerned about bird intrusions as well - my current vents are 1/4 in steel wire mesh protected, as the local starlings REALLY liked my barn, and decided it belonged to them - I finally had to close any access to the top of the wallls below the roof to finally get them to leave, when I had the roof replaced. They were quite determined no to leave.

      I will investigate these ideas further - I am quite interested, but I would prefer to keep the expense minimized if I can. How many solar panels with fans would I need - three?

    • Three would be optimum then you would space them every 6.2 feet. Two you would space every ten feet.

      These work pretty good as intake,

      At that point you can close all or partial on the gable vents. Ideally you want to create the same intake as you have exhaust for a true balanced system. Calculating this might be a fun challenge but I would go with your best common sense which works with you, your pocketbook, your building and all the other conditions calculated.

      Such as, exposure to prevailing wind. Exposure to the sun, direction of sunset. Any overhanging trees or buildings that obstruct wind or sun. I would put the intake more on the eastern side of the building while putting the panels on West and south exposure as much as possible. You have a nice concrete pad which will provide cooler intake air than ground or possibly a wood floor such as in a shed. I would think how to best utilize that. As in where to place the intakes.

      It’s kinda like a golf shot do your best to calculate the conditions and then go for it,

      Here’s a look on the inside of a shed.