Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We just let a dealer talk us into a vent cover for our automatic roof fan. It sounded like a great idea at first. When we leave for the day we like to leave the roof vent open and the fan on for our cat. It has a rain sensor, which is good and bad. It shuts when the weather turns wet, but then the cat gets less ventilation and that's not good on a hot day.
We figured with the cover it could stay open rain or shine and give Fuzzbutt continuous ventilation.
Now that we are five hundred miles down the road we find the vent doesn't open completely under the cover, airflow is significantly restricted and after a hard rain the sensor still actuates the fan.
My husband says, "Live and learn." I, on the other hand, want to call the dealer and give him an earful for misrepresenting the product to us. Am I just creating more stress for myself? Should I call it a bad investment and move on?
--Venting in Virginia City
You have learned a great new lesson. In the future, before you make a buying decision, do an online forum search. You will find dozens of people who have already made the purchase and posted their thoughts on the pros and cons of almost every product on the market.
Perhaps the salesman was thinking less ventilation 100% of the time would be better than great ventilation part of the time. Most fans with all the bells and whistles have a manual mode. You should be able to bypass the rain sensor. If not you could easily remove it.
If you decide you really can't live with the purchase, the dealer may offer you a return if you ask. If not, sell it on eBay, recoup some of your loss and move on.
Sometimes it helps to give a product some time. It may work out better than you originally think. The cover should allow the fan lid to open the majority of the way, so the restriction you detect would be in the cover louvers. If it has a screen you may want to remove it since the fan is already screened into your interior.
If you are upset and venting more than the fan cover, you could overheat and blow a gasket. It's not good for you, your husband or Fuzzbutt.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink