What’s the difference between cheap solar powered roof vents from your local hardware store, and a quality solar powered ventilator unit from Solatube Australia?
- Size of the unit and fan blade
- Quality of panel
- Size of the motor
- Roof flashing type
- Warranty period
- Testing methods
Size of the unit and fan blade
When comparing roof ventilation systems the first thing that can be seen is the size of the unit. In most instances larger size units perform better – simply because they tend to accommodate larger components and allow greater airflow. However it is a combination of all components that maximises performance. For example, some brands incorporate a large Wattage panel however the motor and fan diameter are small and limit performance. On the other hand, efficient quality motors that drive larger fans will result in significantly higher performances. The images below show multiple 10 watt panel products, two of which (centre and left) are available off the shelf from your typical hardware chain. These measure no more than 30cm across compared to the Solatube Roof ventilator (right) measuring 50cm in diameter. Further below in the bottom view, are images of the undersides which show the size of fan blades. While all products offer the same solar panel ‘watts’ -the performance is significantly different with the Solatube ventilator generating 3-7 times the airflow of the other two units.
Quality of panel.
This can have a significant impact on the performance of a product due to the panel’s efficiency, degradation rate, and warranty length. Unfortunately this is always directly tied to cost, and while some brands offer 30, 40, and 50 watt panel products, their performance can often be very similar to lower wattage panels of a higher quality.
Size of the motor
The images below show a side-by-side comparison of the motor. The size of the motor plays a big part in its efficiency and performance, and on top of the overall build quality, also on longevity. Motors on solar vents are often the only components with reduced warranty periods itemised in the terms and conditions of the warranty.
Roof flashing type
One of the main reasons Solatube Australia do not sell ventilation products through hardware change is because of the varied options for customizing flashings to suit roof profiles. Buying a solar roof ventilator from a hardware chain means you are receiving a flashing or roof component that is a flat metal or plastic sheet that is expected to fit all roof profiles. Unfortunately these type of flashings are the main culprits for leaks. While often undetected on roof ventilation products as they do not penetrate to the ceiling, these water leaks do cause mould and other issues in the roof space.
Warranty is the easiest way to understand the quality of a product. While many companies are offering 10, 15 or 20 year warranties on housings and solar panels, the motor is always excluded from these terms. Solatube Australia provide Australia’s best warranty on the motor at five years.