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June 26, 2007


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I would love if our house had a whole-house fan. I am all about saving money where possible. But, I'm not sure how long we will be in this house and I think adding a whole-house fan might not be cost effective for the time being. Maybe for the next house. :)

I grew up with one of these. We called it an attic fan. I'm sad that almost no new houses around here have them. Almost everyone I knew growing up had them. It was so great in the summer to turn this on and have an instant breeze coming through the house. The one we had was very loud, but I know they have quieter models now. I will definitely be putting one of these in when we build a new house.

There is a potential downside to an attic fan though. Since the fan is essentially a hole in your ceiling, during the winter you lose valuable heat through the fan and its louvered covering. Not to mention there is no insulation in the attic directly above the fan itself. It's hard if not impossible to measure the heat loss but it is something to take into account. I considered having one installed when we built our house last year but decided against it in the end. Sometimes I wish I had it, sometimes not. :)

I'm sure you can rig up a cover for the attic fan in the winter.

I think FMF lives in Michigan... I feel like, further south, with a dark brick house, the structure absorbs so much heat throughout the day (and continues radiating in inside at night) that no amount of air circulation alone will cool it down.

As for keeping the attic cool (or trying to keep it cool), you can get temperature-activated 120 VAC fans that go inside the gable vents.

I've also read that the whole house fan will bring humid air into the house. If you need to use the air conditioner the next day, it will work overtime to remove the humid air before it can start cooling efficiently. As a result, the article recommended against using the whole house fan to bring cool air (but humid) air in at night, if you anticipate using the air conditioner the next day.

House fans seems sort of ghetto. If my cooling system is not destroying the enviornment, then it's not really working now is it?

Dee --


Our cooling system works too -- byut an attic fans helps it along for much less $$$$$$$$$.

What about opening a window or two? Having moved back to North America from 4 years in Australia, I can't see why 2/3 of North America even "needs" air conditioning in the first place?

Wow urbanmike... you need to stop living in a fantasy world! Try Anytown, USA... that's where the heat is.

It's bloody hot wherever you go in the summer (regardless of your Australia trip).

Besides, we North Americaners would shrivel and die without our airconditioning.

I remember growing up with one of these in the house. As other's have said, we always called them an attic fan. We didn't have air conditioning the entire time I grew up and we survived just fine. I agree with urbanmike. In many places (not all) across the country, air conditioning is a luxury not a necessity. As for the winter, a little bit of insulation over the fan in the attic would do the trip.
It's true though that most new homes don't have these. That's a shame if you can really save 90% of your cooling costs.

OK, OK, I'm getting one. I know they're wonderful because my sister-in-law had one for her huge house, and she never needed the ac - she had plenty of windows all over the house. The only time I'll probably use my ac is when the air is too humid.

I got my whole house fan about 20 years ago in Chicago from the Suburbanfan company in our area.
The fan finally died...i just had it replaced with a Quiet Cool QC4500. the fan is smaller but does the exact same job with less power. Like 75% less power. The best part is the guy who installed my fan 20 years ago is the same guy who removed my old fan and installed my new fan. There should be an award for this kind of thing...i went on line and looked for the best price and even with me having to pay tax I still got a better deal. The fan is cool because it comes with a remote control that allow me to select high or low speed from my chair where I watch TV.

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