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The roofer I’d been waiting on for weeks finally arrived Monday. He critiqued Quickdraw’s work and gave it a big thumbs up. He was a little surprised that “a guy from the neighborhood” had done such a good job.

I couldn’t leave well enough alone, though. I wanted better ventilation for our attic. It’s almost 1,000 square feet with only a single (powered) fan. After some discussion, I asked him to install a couple “whirlybird” style fans on our roof, one in back and one in front.

Fan on Roof

The job was done yesterday, while I was at work. The front fan is barely visible from across the street, but the back fan is easily seen from the back deck.

And now I’ve got a case of roofer’s remorse. I’m second-guessing myself. I’m a little alarmed at the appearance of this big silvery thing erupting from the surface of our roof. But more importantly: Was this such a smart idea after all? I just had two more holes cut in my roof. I’m nervous about holes in the roof after my old fan was ripped out by Katrina. Isn’t adding more fans just asking for more trouble?

The idea, of course, is that by exhausting hot air from the attic, it will help keep the whole house a little cooler and cut down on our AC bills. The fan pictured here is installed over our kitchen, which always was the hottest room in the house. Hopefully the fan will make a difference. But our AC bills were never that high to begin with. Why did I bother?

And shouldn’t it be installed a little higher on the roof? Hot air rises, after all.

Whirly Fan

Another misgiving: the lack of adequate intake. We have no intake vents at all. I discussed this with the roofer too, and his opinion was that, given the structure of our roof (no soffits), our only option was for big frog vents (I think that’s what he called them) which would be prohibitively expensive. But he also observed that old roofs like ours are never airtight, so some air would always be drawn in through the numerous gaps.

Also, the damn thing makes a click as it rotates. I’m sure that will annoy me when I’m trying to sit out on my back deck and read a book.

Maybe I’m worrying too much.

Published inOur House


  1. I think what you did was wise and given the type of roof the only realistic approach, but, no reason it should be clicking when it turns, and no reason you should accept that as the finsished product. Tell the roofer guy you want a turbine that doesn’t click. It’s making me crazy just thinking about it.

  2. You might want to get up on the roof and fiddle with spinning that thing a bit by hand. Your noise might be a lack of lubrication, which a nickel’s worth of 3-in-1 oil will cure. Or maybe you will find some sort of ridge or notch that you can file, break, or otherwise alter to stop the sound.

    The guy was right that a house (especially an older one) is going to have plenty of air intake. And besides moving hot air, those fans will also suck through humidity, meaning a more bearable summer and a removal of humidity that will cause icing on your roof in the winter.

  3. Tim Tim

    It looks like it was installed correctly to me. You don’t want it on the very top of the roof–the air flowing along the slope of the roof moves a little faster than at the peak, so it will spin more.

    I think it was a good idea, and I think you will save energy whether there’s a noticeable drop in your electric bill or not.



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