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Consider a Whole House Fan

Heating and HVAC
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A whole house fan is a great way to cool your home and reduce the strain on your central air conditioning. In some areas of the country, a whole house fan can replace air conditioning completely.

Because they work by pulling air in from open windows, whole house fans work best in areas that have low humidity and nighttime temperatures that fall below 75 ̊F in the summer. The hot air from inside the home is exhausted through the attic, then the roof.

Whenever the temperatures outside are lower than those inside, your whole house fan can quickly cool your house. In the morning and evening hours, you can use the fan to bring down the interior temperature by replacing inside air with outside air.

Large capacity whole house fans are best because they make less noise at low speeds than a smaller fan running at high speeds. Noise can be reduced further by installing rubber or felt gaskets.

It’s better to let the pros handle this installation job for you. The fan must be sized and installed correctly to fit your home, and it must be properly located for adequate ventilation. A professional contractor can also deal with any modifications needed in your attic to accommodate the whole house fan, such as using baffles to raise the sides of the fan box to prevent interference with blown-in insulation.

Keep in mind that all gaps around vents, exposed beams, recessed lights, attic hatches, ceiling fans and the like will have to be sealed with caulk. Positive pressure in the attic from your whole house fan can force attic air back into your living space if these gaps are not sealed completely.

Because a whole house fan will require an opening between your attic and your living space, a cover must be installed over the opening during cooler moths. If properly installed, airtight and insulated, the cover will prevent air leakage and energy waste during winter months. In hotter climates, a cover will also keep your air conditioning from escaping when it is used instead of the fan.

When choosing a whole house fan, you’ll have to consider some options such as the speed and control mechanism of your fan. Two-speed fans can ventilate your home quickly and then run on the slower speed to maintain the temperature. Variable speed fans offer more of a choice when it comes to moving the air.

You will find whole house fans come with different control mechanisms. Some have pull or wall switches offering “on” or “off” only. Other units have multi-speed rotary wall switches or timers that run your fan at precise speeds for selected periods of time.

Whole house fans are economical, with prices ranging from $200 to $800, which means you might be able to buy a fan and have it installed for the same cost as a couple of months of electric bills, depending on where you live. Properly installed and operated, a whole house fan can mean significant improvements in your family’s comfort and energy costs.

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