For folks who live in moderate climates, a whole-house fan can be a great way to save money on air conditioning, taking advantage of certain times of day when outside temperatures cool off. However, it’s not a good strategy in areas where it doesn’t cool off much at night for much of the year.
How Does a Whole-House Fan Work?
These fans descended from one of the oldest home cooling strategies in the world, creating upward air circulation by creating outlets to exhaust stale, warm air at the top of the house.
Whole-house fans enhance the process mechanically. Usually installed in the top part of the house, they pull warm air from the lower parts of the house, expelling it through vents in the attic. As that warm air departs, cool outside air rushes in, cooling your home. In some climates, they’ll eliminate the need for A/C except on the hottest days.
When Should a Whole-House Fan Be Used?
Late in the day, as the outside temperature falls below the inside temperature, open windows and turn on the whole-house fan. It should suck the stale, warm inside air up and out through roof vents, allowing drier, cooler air to come rushing through the windows. In the morning before it gets hot outside, use the fan to draw in cool, outside air, then close the windows and enjoy that cool air for much of the day.
Typically, multistory homes in moderate climates are the best situation for whole-house fans. In most cases, they’re installed in the ceiling between the attic and the ceiling of the top floor. However, some systems use ducted fans installed in the attic, with stale air exhausted through dedicated vents rather than attic vents.
If you have allergy sufferers in your home, a whole-house fan might not be advisable. These systems rely on cool outside air being drawn into the house, and often that air contains allergens.
For information about whether a whole-fan is right for your Northwest Arkansas home, please contact the home comfort pros at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about whole-house fans and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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