The best options for venting your home

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Q: I am having my two-story, 1930s stucco house in San Mateo, Calif., re-roofed. It currently has two layers -- composition shingles over cedar shingles -- that are going to be removed. One-half-inch plywood sheeting and new composition shingles will be installed. The roof has plenty of soffit vents and I am adding eyebrow vents. I am considering installing an attic fan. I would like to know your thoughts on a hard-wired attic fan vs. a solar-powered attic fan, or am I going overboard in considering one? The electrical connection is not an issue for the hard-wired unit. A: The straightforward answer is to go with the hard-wired version. Although we've gotten some good reports on the solar-powered models, they have drawbacks. Solar-powered attic fans rely on a small solar panel (typically 10- or 20-watt) to power a DC (direct current) motor. The fans are installed with intake vents to provide high-capacity-powered ventilation without electric operating costs.Most vents ar...