As my roof approaches 20 years...

Russell Bateman
May 2021
last update:

As my roof nears 20 years of age (we bought new in 2003, built late the previous year). I get some stuff redone because I'm too old and decrepit now to do the work myself.

The primary reason I dug into this was because I last heard my attic fan, which I installed about 17 years ago, maybe 4 or 5 years ago when I got Jean Destribois to check it out in the attic where I could no longer climb.

I saw a discussion of a solar-powered attic fan and thought I'd check the price out. A fellow showed up from EcoElements. It turned out to be a lot more than I thought, but for that price ($2K), they were also willing to make (fix) a lot of issues that have crept up since the house was new. As I say, putting my solar panels up there 6 years ago was pretty scary. My physical condition makes it very dangerous to go up anymore and it's also too demanding to handle the work in the attic. In fact, I think most of the seaworthy ships in my physical life have sailed out of port and refuse to answer my radioed pleas.

The maintenance included

Their work and materials are warranteed for life. Also, there's a tax credit for the fan. I'll have to come back here to say whether or not this fan is making the difference I hope for. Though 50W (circa 1000 cfm), I'm sure it will be too quiet to hear unlike the original fan I had (which wasn't loud, but loud enough to detect from our bedroom closet or from our deck).

Looking at shingles, you can see their end-of-life coming soon. If you look closely (closer than these photos do), there are glass fibers visible. So, I'm likely less than 10 years away from re-roofing. There was a time I would have thought re-roofing my house was a big, but not impossible job for me. I even own a roofing nailer or two. That's another ship that set sail long ago from my harbor.

The installed solar-powered fan. It's funny how stuff inside the house seems oriented—like how close my hot water-heater flue is to the attic fan. In my mind, they're a long walk apart. The pass-through into my attic of the solar-panel power cable. The photovoltaic that's going to power the fan. It will cover the pass-through already noted.
The installed solar panel. Ibid. Placement of the fan's solar-power panel, plus the new vents and my own bank of 4×125W panels plus my strip panel across the ridge of the roof (which I have not yet connected to anything because my batteries are shot). The guys carefully re-routed the cables from my solar panels through the new roof vent (I had them routed through that original vent already.
Among the maintenance items in the attic was that the original builders never cut open the bits of roof below the closed-in, finished roof (inside the attic). This left the attic compartmentalized (read: unable to breathe) keeping things hotter up there. I was vaguely aware of this when I put in the first fan. I resisted the temptation to add a second fan because I worried that the two would fight each other. The first fan helped observably, but I wondered if it was sufficient to help more than the bedroom attic. All the roof jacks were recaulked (tarred) against leaks—all of them desparately needed this, some were letting water through into the attic causing a bit of black mold over the laundry room. I think this is the jack over the laundry room. And this jack is over the main hallway bathroom on the north side?