Solar Whiz Residential — FAQ’s
Frequently Asked Questions List
The Solar Whiz system is relatively straight-forward to install and run. However, we understand that there are some questions about how it operates, and about the system itself.
We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions in hopes that you’ll find the answer you need.
1) What size Solar Whiz do I need?
Solar Whiz unit has a recommendation on what size homes they ventilate best. For example, smaller units (SW-AU-R15) better suit sheds or smaller units. Larger units (SW-AU-R-28 or the SW-AU-R-40) are what we will usually quote for your standard Australian residential dwelling or freestanding home.
The recommendations for ventilating standard pitched homes are as follows and are based on our experience in the Australian roof ventilation market since 2010:
- The SW-AU-R-15 – Suitable for spaces up to 120m2
- The SW-AU-R-28 – Suitable for spaces up to 180m2
- The SW-AU-R-40 – Suitable for spaces up and above 250m2
Many of our competitors recommend less capacity. Theoretically, these lower airflow capacity requirements are correct but don’t actually result in the desired outcome – because of severe restrictions for the necessary replacement air.
At GES we also carry out our own testing, whilst it appears that our competitors rely on the manufacturer’s specifications. We would encourage anyone considering a competitor to ask them about the test procedure to verify the airflow.
2) Where can I purchase Solar Whiz products?
GES has an extensive network of dealers throughout Australia. Please check our website for our dealer list or contact us to link you up with your nearest dealer and/or installer.
How many litres per second can a RAF unit move?
Solar Whiz Unit
Cubic metres/hour (m³/h)
3) How many Whirlybirds is each Solar Whiz unit equivalent to?
The different Solar Whiz roof ventilation fan units are capable of moving 10-30 times the amount of air that a Whirlybird moves.
- The SW-AU-R-15, which extracts 1,200m3/h. Capable of moving between 8 to 10 whirlybirds worth of air.
- The SW-AU-R-28, which extracts 1,700m3/h. Capable of moving between 10 to 15 whirlybirds worth of air.
- The SW-AU-R-40, which extracts 2,300m3/h. Capable of moving between 20 to 30 whirlybirds worth of air.
This all depends on the type of Whirlybird, as well. An average Whirlybird moves around 100m3/h, and all our measurements and quotes derive from this measurement. The ‘average’ whirlybird would be equivalent to a stock-standard unit purchased from your local hardware warehouse.
4) Can you over-ventilate your roof space?
The short answer is no—you can’t over-ventilate your roof space.
The long answer is that there’s no limit to how much airflow you can have in your roof space. Provided you have enough roof ventilation airflow, you’ll be continuously replacing the warm air in your roof space, flushing it out with cool replacement air.
You can definitely under-ventilate, however, we will advise you of the best possible solution to get you the results you need.
5) What is the difference between an intake and exhaust vent?
The characteristics between both air intakes and exhaust vents are as follows:
Air intakes are typically eave vents or other openings under the eaves or even unsealed openings for metal roofing. Air intakes introduce air into the roof space.
Exhaust vents include all forms of roof-based ventilators that are typically installed on the upper third of a roof. Examples include whirlybirds, Solar Whiz ventilators, or ridge cap vents. Exhaust vents expel air from the roof space.
Solar Whiz can provide eave vents with your purchase. Ask us what type of air intake should complement your Solar Whiz installation!
6) Why is passive ventilation not enough?
Passive ventilation relies on unpredictable natural processes like wind and heat convection. As a result, passive ventilation works when the conditions are right and not necessarily when you need it to.
For example, a whirlybird will:
- Run a cold, wet and windy winter day or night when you would rather have the heat trapped inside your house. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
- Not run on a still, hot summer day or night when the built-up heat in your roof space needs to be extracted.
Furthermore, passive ventilation is nowhere near powerful enough to achieve the appropriate amount of ventilation you need. An average whirlybird unit is capable of ventilating around 100-150 m³/h in 12 km/h winds. A small roof space usually needs 700 m³/h of air movement to have a noticeable effect.
Our units are powered with solar, which is far more reliable than wind and can be backed up with mains power. Powered ventilation is capable of moving far more air than passive ventilation; our smallest unit has a capacity of 1200m³/h!
7) Do Solar Whiz ventilators still work in the rain?
Our Solar Whiz roof ventilators are supplied with high-quality solar PV panels that still supply power even in low-light conditions.
Low-light conditions will reduce the capacity at which the Solar Whiz unit can ventilate. However, even if it was running at half capacity, the Solar Whiz is still ventilating more than a standard whirlybird.
Using our Night Operations Kit with your Solar Whiz installation bypasses low-light conditions by “topping up” electricity from mains power to ensure 100% efficiency all day, every day.
Here’s a video of one of our older Solar Whiz units running in low-light rainy conditions!
8) Why are eave vents important?
Eave vents are important because they provide the coolest replacement air. Replacement air is dragged in by the Solar Whiz unit to ‘replace’ the hot air that is being extracted. This is an important principle for flushing out trapped air responsible for 25% to 35% of the heat in your home.
Without eave vents or other forms of air intake, a roof ventilator unit will struggle to extract air. It would be trying to pull air out of a vacuum.
Please note: galvanised eave vents are not suitable for installation in coastal or other highly corrosive environments. In these cases you will need to source replacement air from somewhere else. If you need advice, don’t hesitate to call us!
9) Why are ceiling vents important?
Ceiling vents are interior vents that go into the ceiling of a room and connect directly to the above roof space. They are ideal for double-story homes where the heat can accumulate in second-story rooms as well as in roof space. Heat naturally rises and can radiate outwards in confined spaces.
A ceiling vent allows a roof-mounted Solar Whiz to pull fresh air through the home, and flush the heat out of your second story AND roof space.
10) How noisy is the fan of the Solar Whiz ventilators?
The Solar Whiz units all operate below 60 decibels. The measurements for each roof ventilator are as follows:
- SW-AU-R-15 – <40 Decibels (dBA)
- SW-AU-R-28 – <45 Decibels (dBA)
- SW-AU-R-40 – <60 Decibels (dBA)
11) What are the Solar Whiz gable units for?
The Solar Whiz Gable units are ideal for homes with pitched roofs that are too steep to conventionally install a Solar Whiz, or if a customer wishes a minimalist look for their roof.
- SW-RAF1400G – Suitable for spaces up to 180m2
- SW-RAF-G-2100 – Suitable for spaces up and above 250m2
Alternatively, the gable units make for powerful sub-floor ventilation fans, providing a great solution for addressing issues like mould, mildew, and/or dampness.
12) Can the Solar Whiz ventilators be used at night?
Solar Whiz ventilators can be paired with a Night Operations Kit. This system (also referred to as a “constant current module” or simply, “NOPs”) uses mains power to top up the remaining power needed to run a unit at full power.
In low levels of sunlight the NOP system will only draw the energy needed to keep your unit operating at full capacity. Once the sun has set the NOP can power the unit completely, using minimal energy. It’s highly unlikely that it would require more than 24 watts
NOPs run from a 24-volt power supply connected to a power point in your roof space. This can be installed with the help of an electrician.
13) Does the Solar Whiz turn off in winter? Can I install a thermostat?
The Solar Whiz runs whenever there is active sunlight reaching the solar panel. This means that yes, the Solar Whiz will run in winter.
Solar Whiz offers both a Fixed Temperature Thermostat, and an Adjustable Temperature Thermostat to help the user control when, and how their unit operates:
- The Fixed Temperature Thermostat will prevent a unit from operating unless it is 30°C degrees or more inside the space where the thermostat is installed.
- The Adjustable Temperature Thermostat allows the user to set the temperature at which the unit runs. This enables the unit to introduce warmer air if it’s already too cold in the morning, or to turn it off entirely throughout winter.
Thermostats pair perfectly with Night Operations Kits (NOPs) to enable the user to have complete control over when the unit runs, even during the night.
14) How do I prevent heat from escaping throughout winter, even after installing a thermostat?
The percentage of heat that is lost through the ventilator itself is very minimal. You are far more likely to have heat radiate out through your metal, or tiled roof if it’s uninsulated. Your best solution is to make sure you have good insulation in your home.
While the thermostats ensure that the unit runs only when you need it to, Solar Whiz ceiling vents are designed to be able to close. They have internal butterfly-style flaps that can be made to shut.
If you still have concerns about heat escaping through the Solar Whiz unit itself, there are some DIY solutions. Cutting out a piece of foam that can be manually inserted into the throat of the unit to prevent heat from escaping through the ventilator is an option that stops heat from radiating through the unit itself. If you do this please make sure that the unit has been turned off or disconnected.
15) How difficult is it to install a Solar Whiz?
Solar Whiz units are DIY-friendly and can usually be installed by any competent handyman with the right tools.
We strongly recommend that one of our authorised installers handle the installation for you. This will make sure that you get the best possible results according to our installation principles. However, we are happy to assist you with advice should you decide to do it yourself.
16) How does roof line design affect a ventilation system?
Every home is different, but Solar Whiz has taken strides to offer accessories that cater to different styles or pitches of roofing.
- For steep roofs, we use gable fans so that units don’t have to be installed at a steep angle. This makes the installation much easier and removes the risk of water ingress.
- For cathedral-style roofing, we offer extension collars for the units. This ensures that the units are installed without protruding into the ceiling space.
- For flat or lower pitch roofing, we recommend installing more eave vents to maximise air replacement and evenly distribute airflow.
Because every home is different, we recommend calling us to get specific advice about what installation style is best suited to your needs.
Call us on 1300 609 994
17) What if I have a cathedral ceiling or flat roof?
If you’re looking to use Solar Whiz to ventilate your home rather than your roof space, we can help. For limited roof space access, we install butterfly-style vents that can be open and closed as needed.
18) How are the gable fans installed?
Instead of installing a unit on the roof itself, gable fans are installed vertically at the top of the wall that connects to your roof space. This allows for direct replacement air crossflow and maximises ventilation results.
Gable units are used in situations where the roof slope might be too steep or a customer prefers the aesthetic appearance of a gable fan.
The gable units are functionally identical to their roof-mounted counterparts:
- SW-RAF1400G – Suitable for spaces up to 180m2
- SW-RAF-G-2100– Suitable for spaces up and above to 250m2
19) Can I install Solar Whiz ventilators on my shed/workshop etc.?
The Solar Whiz RAF-AU- R-15 is ideal for all kinds of small spaces, such as:
- Granny flats
- Studio flats
These small-yet-powerful units are perfect for tin or metal sheds that can accumulate large amounts of heat very quickly in the summer.
20) What are your product warranties?
A Solar Whiz warranty offers a substantial timeframe to cover our products & components. Warranties for our products is as follows:
- Solar Whiz PV Panels – 10 year warranty
- Solar Whiz Components – 2 year warranty.
A full breakdown of warranty information, terms & conditions can be located on our GES site or detailed over the phone.
21) How do I obtain warranty service?
If you purchased your unit from one of our dealers please contact them in regards to your warranty concerns.
If you purchased your unit directly from us at GES then the first step is to fill out the trouble-shooting form here. This form helps us to identify the possible issue and figure out how best to help you. We’ll then get in touch with you to further discuss your problem and might ask you to fill out a warranty claim. This way we can catalogue the issue and send you a replacement part if the issue is covered by our warranty.
Free Call: 1300 609 994
22) Can I purchase replacement parts if my warranty expires?
Solar Whiz offers a wide range of spare parts that can be purchased if something happens that cannot be covered by the warranty.
These parts are reasonably priced and can be dispatched all across Australia.
Please contact us if you’re interested in purchasing a replacement part via the following methods:
Free Call: 1300 609 994
23) Where are Solar Whiz products produced?
Solar Whiz is designed, developed and manufactured in Australia by Global Eco & Environmental Solutions (GES Pty Ltd).