Solar Fan Installation Tile Roof

Solar Fan Installation Tile Roof

See the process behind the installation of yellowblue solar attic fans when utilized on a tile roof home. Engineer Dennis Grubb and installer Eric Mortenson walk us through the placement, installation, and end performance of the yellowblue solar attic fan.


Okay everybody. There’s one tool I wanted to show you real quick.

This is a right angle grinder, and really, only people living in areas where a lot of homes have ceramic tile on their roof are really going to need this tool. I just wanted to show you how to change the wheel on this tool. So first, you’re just going to start by taking this lock nut off the head and then very simply, we’re just going to install the grinding wheel and make sure that it sits in there nice and flush just like that. Then our nut goes back on top. There’s a button here on top— and there’s one on every grinder — you’ve just got to look on your tool and find it. That’s going to lock the axle and prevent this wheel from spinning. What that’s going to allow me to do is take a special key that comes with each grinder and tighten this nut appropriately.

So you can see there’s four holes here and there’s two holes on the key. Tighten appropriately until you can’t turn it anymore. The head is locked and the wheel won’t turn, so we’ve got this wheel installed appropriately.

What we’re getting ready to do today is get up on a tile roof and install one of our solar-powered yellow blue attic fans. So Jason and I have already geared up. We’ve got a power drill, Jason’s got a sawzall, and the only other thing we need to bring up there to get started is the template. That’s going to be included in every yellowblue powered fan. Jason is going to get that template out for us right now.

We like to use this template for an inside diameter. We’ve got our drill or sawzall and our template — we’re going to go ahead and head up on the ladder. We’ll see you guys up on the roof.

We’re up here on our tile roof and we’ve already gone through this with the homeowner.  You’re going to need to go through this with the homeowner and make sure we talk about the appropriate place to locate the fan. These ceramic tiles have a lip on them and they’re held down by gravity on a cleat. It’s always important to set these tiles off somewhere. They’re not going to get broken so we’re going to go ahead and stack these up nice and neatly off to the side of our workspace. Jason’s stepping on the ridge of these tiles and that’s the strong part of our tile. Jason’s doing a good job of keeping his feet in the right place.

So we’re down to our passive ventilation. We’re attached with a couple nails. Make sure that this [tile] doesn’t blow off. Let’s make sure that we set this in a safe place so it doesn’t blow off and hit anybody. Just go ahead and use one of our old tiles to hold it down up here. Now, at this point, you need to start to assess how many more tiles we need to remove. We’re looking for this inside diameter of our template so we’re just going to kind of go ahead and lay this over the hole that’s existing and take a look at how we need to modify this.

We at least need to take off one more row going down the slope. It looks like the best thing for us to do is going to be able to keep the top of our hole near the top of their old hole and we’re going to go ahead and modify this hole down below. So we’re going to need to modify this cleat and correct it so we’re going to need to take our sawzall and make a cut through here.

The cleat is used to hold the lip that’s on the backside of these tiles. The lip sits on the cleat and that’s what holds those tiles from going down the slope, but when we put our fan in here, that cleat is going to be in the way so we’re going to need to go ahead and modify that. We’re going to go ahead and take our sawzall and we’re just going to score the sweet. So now that we’ve removed our cleat, you’re going to want to save this so we can reuse this later. Just make sure we’re watching out for sharp nails. We’re going to go ahead and send that back through.

We’ve determined that we need to remove this top cleat as well. We’re going to have to go ahead and put that back in place when we determine how we modify our tile. The reason why I’m going both ways with my saw blade is because I maintain one direction with my saw blade. I’m going to get into the roof decking due to the angle on my sawzall blade. Now Jason is removing our cleat and he’s fighting some glue. When you’re working with roof tar and other adhesives, it can be helpful to use a flat bar. Use that to break the seal. That helps keep our  membrane down that’s doing the water-proofing.

Okay. Now our passive vent is fully exposed. The installer of this passive vent used quite a bit of tar which is fairly common. When doing these types of jobs on a tile roof, installers really should be prepared to be carrying some real good quality felt roofing paper in case we need to repair or replace any of the existing membrane. We always want to do a really good job to leave the membrane intact, but if we need to add on to the membrane, it’s something that’s very doable. We can find that felt paper in any home improvement store.

We’re going to come back to our template here, and this is the point where we’re going to have to make our hole match this template. So we’re going to go ahead and use a red sharpie. Depending on the type of roof that you’re working on, markers are great — pencils are great too. Whether you’re working on an asphalt roof or even just going through tar paper, tar paper and asphalt roofs can gum up your sawzall blades quite easily, so it can be very helpful to remove any asphalt shingles or any tar paper with a razor knife or a hook blade.

We removed the passive vent. So as you can see, this particular roofer contractor located this passive event directly over a framing member which you can see here. And as we apply our template, we can see that this hole is a little bit over cut and we would end up with two voids. So what we’re going to do is is move our template and relocate this hole. We remove our membrane cut our appropriately-sized hole.

So there’s our appropriately-sized hole. What we’re going to have to do is what’s called “scab” this. We’re going to show you how to do that here in just a little bit . What we’re getting ready to do is install what’s called a “scab board”. This is going to go underneath the roof decking just like I have it laid on top of the roof decking. We want that board to be sticking halfway out this way and halfway in to the original roof decking.

Now we’re going to set the fan facedown on some cardboard until we’re ready to have it fully installed. Remember that inside of every kit is your tube of sealant. We’re going to go ahead and dry- fit this fan before we apply our sealant and make sure that it’ll go in like we want it to. Yeah — it looks like it’s going to go ahead and fit fine. We want a consistent reveal all the way around the neck to make sure that we’re centered over the hole.