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dknowle 05-14-2011 09:57 AM

GF-14 Garage Fan - Is it safe & up to code?
In my search to cool my EXTREMELY hot/humid 2-car attached garage (in South Carolina), the GF-14 Garage Fan ( seems to stand out as a good solution.

However, my concern is whether this is truly safe & up to code. According to the specs, it is fire-rated, so dampers close & motor shuts off in event of I feel good about this aspect. But, I wonder about sending gases from the garage into attic - can this lead to additional gases making their way into the home & will this comply with building codes?

Since most air in the home moves from bottom to top, I would think not...but then again this would put a positive pressure in the attic space. I would also think it would be less than the leakage already occurring from the garage into the living space. But, I'm also not an expert on this.

FYI, I have a single story ranch with attic space over the attached garage, which is finished with drywall.

beenthere 05-14-2011 10:29 AM

Check with your local ode department.

Hope the attic has lots of ventilation in it.

dknowle 05-14-2011 11:56 AM

Yes, I will definitely check with my local code prior to taking on this project - I was just curious is anyone here had any knowledge about this sort of thing.

I currently have ridge vents & 2 gable vents along with soffit vents, so it has pretty good ventilation.

Tomf38 05-29-2011 03:36 PM

GF-14 attic fan
dknowle- I can't give you a definitive answer to you question regarding the code requirements for this fan - I had one installed this past spring in my house and the installer said it met all code requirements for SC, but I never verified it. It does have a fusable link that will close an insulated (supposedly fireproof) damper if the temp reaches 212 degrees, which should prevent the rapid spread of fire into the upper attic space above the garage. I can only hope that it never has to be tested!

I can tell you what my experience has been with the fan - it is FANTASTIC! I moved into our new home in SC early last summer. We have a south facing 20' x 24' garage with no other doors except the garage door and the entrance door into the house. Above the garage is a full height unfinished 20' x 24' storage room with roof ridge venting and soffit vents on both sides. Last summer the garage and storage space would become unbearably hot. It got to a point where my wife started pulling things out of the storage room because she was afraid of damage due to the heat.

After the fan was installed, I found a huge difference in the comfort of the garage and the storage area - even without the fan running. Before the weather got hot enough to kick in the fan thermostat the fan would spin on it's own just by the convection effect of the warm air moving from the garage into the storage room. Once the temps started going up and the fan kicked in the temps in the garage and storage room would stay within a few degrees of the ambient outside temperature. Right now it is late afternoon and the outside temp is around 82 - the garage is holding at 82 with the storage room at 88. The fan kicked in about an hour ago when the storage room temp reached 90 so it has cooled it down by a few degrees already. It is doing an unbelievable job.

Just a few caveats I would mention. The guy that did the installation wanted to put the ceiling vent closer to the garage door because it was more convenient for him. I insisted that he put it all the back to the rear of the garage and as close to the center of the ceiling as possible - which he eventually did. Another thing was the vents he put in the garage door were not finished in any way on the inside which I was not happy about. After he left I made up some frames that finished and sealed the inside to prevent water damage by rain water getting into the insulation of the garage door. I also put in screens to prevent the bugs from being sucked in by the fan. I can see all of the bugs on the screen that would have found their way into the garage and the storage room if they had not been there. I also made up wood inserts that can be inserted behind the vents during the winter to prevent cold winter winds from blowing in.

One other thing that I was not totally pleased with was the location of the thermostat on the unit. It was located midway on outside the round fan housing and did not operate the way it should. In our house, there is an 16" space between the garage ceiling and the storage room floor and the thermostat was within that space. What would happen was the fan would kick in and the temps would begin to drop in the garage and storage room. With the thermostat being in the space between the ceiling and floor it could not sense the drop in temp and would run for hours after the temps dropped sufficeintly. This arrangement also made it extremely difficult to adjust the thermostat.

What I wound up doing was to purchase another attic fan thermostat from Lowe's and installed it at eye level on a wall in the storage room. I have it set to kick in the fan at 90 degrees and it has a 10 degree differential. The system is now operating flawlessly. The thermostat is made by a company called Air Vent and is available online as well as at Lowe's.

I did not mention the company that did the installion but if you want any more info, contact me via private message.

Good luck - TomF - sorry for the long winded reply!

Missouri Bound 05-29-2011 09:23 PM

I would not use this device. It's basically a whole house fan with a ridiculous price tag. Would you open a window to let the cooler air in? A box fan in a window would do exactly the same less than 10% of the cost. Could running a fan ever do more than just opening a garage door?

dknowle 05-31-2011 12:47 PM

Tomf38- MUCH thanks for your reply!

I think I'm going to purchase it this week. Garage is starting to get crazy hot and I recently moved our laundry room into the garage. The added space was nice but doing laundry out there right now isn't too pleasant.

I really appreciate the tips on the screens so I didn't have to figure this out the hard way. ;)

Tomf38 06-01-2011 08:39 AM


Originally Posted by Missouri Bound (Post 657419)
I would not use this device. It's basically a whole house fan with a ridiculous price tag. Would you open a window to let the cooler air in? A box fan in a window would do exactly the same less than 10% of the cost. Could running a fan ever do more than just opening a garage door?

I agree that the price is somewhat high - if I were 20 years younger I would have purchased a 14" duct fan and made up the associated metal and electrical work and saved probably half the cost of the unit. But at 73 my DIY projects are somewhat limited.

There are no windows in the garage to either open or to put a fan into. As far as your question about just opening a door as opposed to running a fan there is no question about the advantage of forcing air to circulate rather than rely on a possible breeze do the same thing. Also, opening a door would do nothing to keep the storage area above the garage cooler.

Yesterday was the warmest day that we have seen since the fan was installed and the results speak for themselves. The garage never got above the outside ambient temp and the storage room stayed within a few degrees of the outside air. Before the fan was installed, both the garage and upstairs became hothouses.

Tom F

Missouri Bound 06-01-2011 03:35 PM

I'm happy it will work for your situation. I saw in the link that "properly sized vents in the garage door". Are these included with the fan or is it specified in the installation that they must be installed? I was curious where the makeup air camr from.

dknowle 06-01-2011 04:02 PM

Have not purchased the fan yet but it is supposed to include 2 grills. You then cut 2 holes in your garage door and attach the grills for air intake.

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